For some reason the word itch is associated with pubescence. Like first young lovers’ expression, “I have an itch and don’t know where to scratch.” Or with the marital period when one of the partners suffers from “the seven-year itch” and wants release from the ball and chain.
Given my age, the itch I developed overnight had no such romantic connotation. It was a skin affliction that had me scratching so much that in turn it aroused my Heidi’s irritability. She suggested I see Doc Evert the next day.
The thought of being examined by a medico for horrible red blotches didn’t appeal, so I sneaked out to Chill Blane, my favourite pharmacist at Dis-Gesond, who took one look at the affected parts that appeared only on the legs from the ankles up to under the knees. Thankfully, the middle and upper torso remained free of the horrible prickling plague. “It’s a rash,” was his expert advice and offered me an anti-itch ointment. The scratching persisted that night and this time Heidi insisted, nay, commanded, I make the dreaded appointment.
I had visions of the doctor, known for his thoroughness, making a head-to-toe examination, not content with my insistence the affliction was isolated to the lower part of the legs.
While seated in the crowded surgery, the itches came on again and I was hard put to hide any visible scratching. I opted for unobtrusively crossing my legs and rubbing them together, hoping to relieve the prickling parts. One little snot-nosed brat spotted my actions and turning to his mom said, “Mommy, what’s that man doing?” At that moment I wished ten million fleas would attack his armpits.
It took all my willpower to ignore the itching, because I felt all eyes on me and I wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction of acting like a man suffering from St Vita’s Dance (the involuntary movements sometimes resemble a dance; St. Vitus, a fourth century Sicilian martyr, was the patron saint of dancers, hence the name of the condition).
Luckily, the doc had a busy schedule, so all I had to do was roll up the leggings to the knees, and socks over my shoes. “Mmm, some or other skin disease brought on either by a new diet, washing powder, bath salts, shampoo or toilet soap. Oh, and use less Coke.”
He prescribed two power-packed pin-prick pills and an ointment. After two days Heidi slept through, and hopefully any thought of the seven-year itch dispelled.