bedside manners

05Jul05

or things you don’t really want to hear from your doctor, even if it’s not bad news:

you have an exceptional case. do you mind if i take some pictures?

so i finally got those patches of discolored skin looked at today. turns out it’s the equivalent of a yeast infection for men. yum. the closest doctor who could see me was between my house and the castro, and you can totally tell he gets mostly gay clientele. not only was every other dude in the waiting room gay, but the info packet they gave me for the problem specifically stressed stuff like “this is not related to any health problems or immune deficiencies” for the HIV phobic.

since i’m not having too much luck dating right now, i don’t mind putting the following info up. i guess i don’t have to worry about it turning away any potential partners… hopefully it’ll be easily google-ized and other people with this shit can learn to treat themselves for 10 bux worth of shampoo rather than 70 bux of pills and 10 of shampoo. if you don’t care to read about unsavory medical details, skip to the next post.

the signs: so i had these dark patches or spots of skin. they didn’t start out very big and they mostly appeared in places where i got really sweaty while kickboxing. the funny thing is the color is really stable, so when i got tan, they’d look like light patches. slowly, they grew to cover all the sweaty areas on my torso. they get this really fine scaly texture sometimes, but not always.

the diagnosis: tinea versicolor. tinea means it’s a fungus, just like athlete’s foot. but the doctor described it as a yeast, which i guess is a kind of fungus. versicolor = changed color, as in it changes the color of your skin. (duh) apparently this fungus lives on everyone’s skin, but sometimes it runs amuck and tries to turn people into leopards.

the treatment: because my shit is “exceptional” i get to take some anti-fungal pills for a few days (itroconazle), but normally, get this, you can treat it with shampoo. well, a specific brand of shampoo called nizoral. basically you suds yourself up with this stuff from head to knee (minus the face, no toce la cara!) and then let it sit while you’re hanging out in the shower with the water off for 5-10 minutes. do it every day for a week, then every week for a month, then just once a month unless it starts to come back, in which case you step shit up again. fucking shampoo? can you believe it? because the stuff lives in the skin, it’ll take you sloughing off a few layers before you become all one color again, but i figger i should be a nice, pale, spotless white boy again by the time our indian summer starts in september (or by folsom st. fair).

it’s gonna cost me about 100 bux to learn this lesson after my insurance covers a little bit. if you can accurately diagnose yourself, you could take care of it for about 1/10th that. or i guess just try the shampoo and then if that doesn’t work, then go the doctor, because all you lost was 10 bux and a few weeks time.

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