Friday, May 8, 2015

Returning to the World of the Living with Surgical Scrubs That Do Not Ravage My Skin

the picture on the outside of the package; navy blue is one of the colors my dad ordered

I'm vaguely returning to the world of the living. As long as I stay in bed with my head flat on my pillow, I'm OK. When my brother called my dad to tell him that I was sick, my dad told Matthew he had to change my sheets. Matthew hates changing sheets to the extent that I change them for him at least once every week  because it gives me a serious case of the willies to think that someone in my house is sleeping on unclean sheets. Matthew changed my sheets, though, when my dad told him he had to.

My dad got here about forty-five minutes after we got home. He took a blood sample and had Matthew deliver it to the hospital lab, but it was unlikely that anything significant was wrong other than some garden-variety bug -- a bad one, but garden variety, nonetheless. My dad hooked me up to an IV for hydration. my white count was normal so there was no reason for antibiotics. He gave me good anti-nausea meds also.

Matthew had a great day. He read a bit and went over material, but he also played video games and watched TV and made himself a huge lunch with a bunch of fried onions and other similarly noxious stuff.  I put a towel under my door so the smell wouldn't make me even sicker. My dad made Matthew clean the kitchen thoroughly so the smell wouldn't continue to make me sick.

This next portion may fall under the category of "Too Much Information," but I've shared worse, so what the hell? we had to wear surgical scrubs to anatomy lab, and surgical scrubs and a lab coat to Practice of Medicine. The hospital issue garments looked stupid on me. I appeared to be wearing my parents' or older sibling's clothing. I couldn't make permanent alterations because no one gets the same scrubs two times in a row, so I had to thread elastic through the waist band every day, which was time-consuming.That was the least of my trouble in that regard, though. Something either in the fabric itself or in the detergent and disinfectant used in the hospital's laundry process caused me to break out in a horrible and itchy rash.

The rash covered a large enough surface that both my dad and my professors told me not to use hydrocortisone cream, which would be the most effective remedy, because the surface area of the rash was too great, and I would be absorbing too much in the way of steroids. someone was giving me a weekly shot of steroids, and topical Benadryl was prescribed, but my whole body under the scrubs except where covered by underwear was a disaster. I started wearing underarmour, but it was causing me to overheat. the situation was grim. i was beginning to consider a career change.

My dad came to the rescue. He ordered a dozen pairs of hypoallergenic scrubs for me. They even appear to be in a size that will fit me. He located a laundry in my neighborhood that guarantees hospital-level disinfectant that won't irritate even the most sensitive of skin. One of the sets of scrubs is pink, which I expressly requested NOT to have, but I can sleep in them or wear them around the house. i have problems with credibility and being taken seriously under the best of circumstances. showing up to lab or Practice of Medicine in pink scrubs would do little to help my reputation. At least my dad knows that female med students (or, for that matter, male med students) cannot wear the cutesy scrubs that nurses and techs in doctors' offices wear, with kitties and owls and flowers all over them.

I have to have a prescription to be allowed to wear my own scrubs, but it shouldn't be a problem. Enough of my profs have either seen my rash or have been annoyed by my scratching that they'd all be willing to sign off on it. For that matter, i think my dad can write the script.

My dad said since it's very short term, i can use hydrocortisone cream just for the weekend. after than, between extra-strength Benadryl cream and no longer wearing the scrubs that are toxic to my skin, I should be all right.

i tried really hard not to scratch too much because I did not want my skin to scar, but sometimes i couldn't resist. One of my profs told me that once my skin feels a bit better, I should use Mederma, and that will probably remove any traces of scarring.

I've been awake for thirty-five minutes, so I probably need to conk out.


  1. To show people that you mean business, you should wear camouflage color scrubs! It would even go good with your nickname-- Cutthroat Bitch. I watched a movie with Reese Witherspoon and she has a similar cute look that you have (thinking about actresses that look like you). Now I am watching Carrie with Chloƫ Grace Moretz and she has a similar look to you.

  2. Hypoallergenic scrubs... that's a product I never knew existed! Hope you feel better soon. You are lucky to have a dad who can do all he does to make you better!

  3. I work with a scrub nurse who has to wear hypoallergenic scrubs. As such things are/were unknown here she had to order from the US?

    Also our state recently changed the suits for its paramedics and ambulance crews. Large numbers reacted to the new uniforms? Fabric?? Finishing chemical. So many were affected that new uniforms were commissioned.

    One of my favourite books is The Medical Detectives, a series of articles from the New Yorker outlining diagnostic or epidemiological curiosities. There is one case in there where an eight year old boy was found to be suffering from organo-phosphate poisoning . The source was ultimately found to have been a new pair of jeans which had been contaminated whilst in transit. He had worn them without them first being laundered.

    We are exposed to so many substances which we can react to and you appear to be particularly sensitive. Take care.

    1. I love that book, The Medical Detectives! I've read a lot by the author, Berton Roueche.

  4. Congrats on the new scrubs! Now spend the weekend getting all the way better. :)

  5. I am totally doing nothing but resting.

    I must order that book.