Yay! The dermatologist (Dr. Anastasios Pappas from South Dakota!) had a miracle cure.
First, he prescribed Predisone but pretty much told me not to take it. Check.
Then he described the cortisone cream I had been using as "baby stuff" and prescribed a stronger one. Check.
Then he told me about a time-consuming, putzy procedure that was guaranteed to work. O-kay…
Step one: apply a minimal dose of the cream to the affected area.
Step two: apply a thin layer of a particular over-the-counter ointment; in this case, Lubriderm Extra Special Super-Duper Skin Healing Ointment (not the exact title).
Step three: cover the area with tight-fitting wet cloth — long johns, whatever works.
Step four: encase the area in a waterproof covering — a windbreaker, a plastic bag, whatever works.
Step five: Leave this in place for an hour.
Step six: Do it twice a day.
The first time I did it, I couldn't stand more than 45 minutes because the skin started itching. I ripped off the coverings and scratched. It was the most orgasmic, non-sexual sensation I have ever felt. Srsly.
The second time was a bit better, and I was able to leave the wrappings on for the full hour. After two treatments my skin was much, much better. Still a bit itchy, but nearly normal-looking on the upper arms.
In fact, it was so much better that during the couple days we spent packing and running errands and stopping the mail and tying up loose ends before the trip, I only did it once a day.
Whew. We were both afraid that we might have to cancel the trip, or, potentially worse, endure the itchy agony for the entire vacation.
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Laundromat trip one day this week (that's five baskets; one is hiding behind the other four):
Washing machine still broken and will stay that way until we get home.
Dishwasher has decided not to drain. Ditto.