It began as an annoying itch.
I was used to annoying itches as a child.
I was bothered by eczema.
Once a doctor suggested to my mother that my eczema might not be allergy related, but psychological.
"She wasn't a month old when it first developed!"
my mother snapped back at him.
To her that was a total insult.
No child of hers could possibly have a mental problem.
I was used to doctor's offices long before the tiny blister appeared.
I liked the way they smelled.
(the doc's office, not the blister)
I was ridiculously fond of the little reflex tester
that looked like a cross between a caveman's stone ax
and shiny medical device.
our doctor's office had tiny tree frogs all over their landscaping.
It was therefore an excellent place to go.
Too bad my mom insisted on searching me before we left each visit.
I could not understand why the blister...
now forming an icky sappy crust freaked my mother out so badly.
She took one look at it and hit the phone.
she hissed into the speaker end.
No wonder my dad hated his name...
when spoken by my mother,
it always meant that she was upset about something...
and that couldn't be good for him.
Off we went in the old Buick station wagon.
The woman was obviously insanely angry.
Eczema, of the type that I sported
had blisters that were tiny.
They itched like mad.
I was known to rub my toes against my sheets in my sleep
until they were bloody.
Then it all turned sappy and developed crusts that needed to be picked at
and jump started another scratching cycle.
This blister was bigger and uglier.
But gee whiz...
what was the big deal?
The nurse at the front desk
took one look at my mom's face and immediately
escorted us to an exam room.
I thought, looking a other faces of misery...
"Ha. ha! Suckers... me first!"
The doctor confirmed my mother's worst fear...
The world must have spun in her head.
To me it sounded cute.
Maybe I'd grow claws and whiskers.
My mother took it as a personal insult.
She was often insulted by my person.
But this was one that baffled me.
So I had another skin affliction that blistered and made crusts.
Impetigo is a bacterial skin infection.
Part of me was always infected due to my scratching.
My brother liked to call me pus bucket.
At age five I lived to dig in the dirt.
Impetigo is caused by strep or my mother's most hated enemy...
In her head, staph was what DIRTY people got.
My mother battled dirt like it was Hitler.
How dare I get a dirty disease!
It was a commentary on her ability to keep me clean.
She was a failure as a mother.
A monster who allowed her daughter to become
something only Jesus would dare to touch!
I thought it was kind of cool actually.
I got my very own special bar of soap...
I was given the parental bathtub where no child ever bathed to wash in.
The medicine was pretty tasty
and the cream they applied to it felt cold and tingly.
When my father got home she ranted.
She pointed a finger at me and shook it to accent her horror.
My dad laughed...
"Joyce, she didn't mean to get it."
My mom stomped off to finish cooking diner.
My dad flicked his paper open and began to do his cross word.
"Better not let your mom see you scratching."
he said and silently giggled.
I knew that, but I nodded... and scratched.
I still didn't get her horror.
Impetigo was contagious... and that meant no school...
which meant that Gregory and I could play.
His mom never worried about stuff that was catchy.
If it got Gregory out of her hair,
that was fine by her.
It wasn't the firs time I'd wished I had a sane mom like Gregory.