Ebola, Shmola


If you ask me, Urgent Care doesn’t seem to have a sense of urgency about it.

Think Ebola looks scary? Try getting hives.

While everyone is busy focusing on the situation in Texas, you come down with what has to be the WORST CASE OF HIVES.


It starts with a swollen finger, a finger the size of an over-sized Bratwurst. You can’t bend it. You can’t do bupkis with it. Not for all the mustard and hot dog buns in the world.

So you go to your doctor, who gives you medicine to take care of the inflammation. Thankfully, the swelling goes down, but after a week of taking the meds, they start to do a number on your system and go full throttle commando. The result is hives.

Let me reiterate that.

Hives! HIVES! As in run-for-your-lives HIVES!

Turns out you’re allergic with a capital A, to the prescription the doctor gave you for the heretofore mentioned finger.

On a Saturday morning, the hives starts innocently enough, in a barely noticeable place. Just a rash, a discoloration, no more than the size of a quarter. But the next thing you know, the universe is expanding and, as in the horror film, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” this rash has taken over your body. Within hours, it has become a raging, red menace that makes your skin crawl and leaves you begging for merrrrcyy!

Don’t scratch, don’t scratch. You know better, but the demon rash begs you, whispering “sweetly ” in your ear, “Scratch me, please.”

And so you do.

But that’s not enough. Soon, it’s voice has deepened and is barking orders, a la Linda Blair in “The Exorcist.”


And not only are you scratching—which is wrong and you know it—you’re slapping your body in wild desperation, all for the immediate satisfaction it brings. Immediate is the key word, for relief lasts only a nanosecond, and you find you have to slap yourself again and again to keep the writhing, killer pain at bay.

Only it doesn’t work.

“SCRATCH ME!” hisses the succubus of a rash.

It rants and demands your attention and so you jump in your car and head to Urgent Care.

You need something STAT to stop the searing pain you’re feeling.

By now, that possessed demon rash is a full blown Category 6 Hurricane Hives, and it’s one goal is to obliterate you. Yes, you heard right.


At Urgent Care, they tell you the wait is three hours. Soon they change that to four hours.

Four hours. Any idea how long four hours can take when you’re body is itching like mad?



So you wait because there’s nothing in the world that can take your mind off of the raging God forsaken, no holds barred, put a lid on it, itch!

At last, a guy named Russ sees you. Not a doctor, but a guy named Russ, who doesn’t even identify himself by profession (doctor, nurse, practitioner, midwife).   So you pray he knows what he’s doing. You pray he’s not the maintenance worker or the parking lot attendant.

He gives you a prescription for cortisone. You were hoping for a shot, but he gives you a prescription for a packet of pills. In essence, he’s kicked you to the curb and you’re on your own to fend for yourself.


Now the race is on to fill the prescription before all the pharmacies close for the night. Salvation from the wretched hives continues to elude you.


Someone tells you CVS is open all night. You race there and soon learn that the pharmacy is open but the CVS’ computer system is down for the next four hours there and at every one of its drugstores in the county.

Then the CVS pharmacist offers a glimmer of hope: He says the grocery store pharmacy is still open and can fill your prescription so you make a beeline for the exit.

“Wait!” cries the CVS pharmacist before you head out the door.

“Never mind,” he sheepishly says, adding, “The grocery store’s pharmacy is backlogged with filling prescriptions and won’t be able to take yours until the morning.”

Defeated, you go home and the itch goes on and on. With no other recourse, your desperation for a cure continues, and your skin, mercilessly on fire.

You don’t get any sleep that night. Not so much as a wink. The unbearable itchiness of being.

Next morning, you run to the pharmacy and learn the pharmacist is late to work. You wait because you have no choice and you’re dying. Yes, this is the end of the line.

Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope,” you mutter under your breath for no reason.

You’ve popped countless antihistamines and slathered on tubes of anti-itch cream. To no avail. Your skin is covered in welts and sores, blisters too, and you think that the way you look, all covered in hives, could make a damn good costume for Halloween, if only you weren’t so pathetically miserable.

The pharmacist finally arrives and you get your cortisone pills. You spend all Sunday waiting for them to kick in. And they do, sort of, but






Monday finally arrives and you see your doctor again. She gives you an injection in your bottom and at last you begin to feel results.

You are groggy as all heck, but the itching, scratching feeling is beginning to fade away, as are the hives. By Thursday it’s almost all gone.

Ahhh, relief! This is what heaven feels like, you think to yourself. Like nothing. Not an inkling of an itch anywhere!

You sing this from the highest rafters. You never knew how sweet and glorious the feeling of NOT HAVING TO SCRATCH could be!

So, tell me. What’s your hives horror story?


24 thoughts on “Ebola, Shmola

  1. Oh,Monica, I’m sorry, but I just HAD to laugh over this one! I can only imagine how awful having an un-itchable scratch must be. I’ve had only slight cases of hives — generally thanks to a prescription that didn’t agree with me — but thankfully, nothing like what you experienced. In retrospect, would an oatmeal bath have helped? I remember using something like that for little Domer when he caught chickenpox and wanted to scratch the sores. It sounds gross, of course, but most cures seem worse than the thing they’re trying to cure, ha!

    • Actually, Debbie, i didnt mention it but i did try the oatmeal bath. I even had to put it in a blender first, to grind it up. In any case it helped minimally. Smelled yummy, could used a little brown sugar, but it really didnt stop or slow down the itching. So laugh all you want. I can laugh now that its over, but i wasnt laughing at the time. Not so much as a chuckle.

  2. Oh Monica, I’m so sorry you had to experience that. Awful. I cannot believe you had to wait that long at urgent care!
    My daughter is constantly harassed by said hives. She is allergic to many foods as well as cats and dust. In fact she has had two full blown cases of anaphylaxis which resulted in trips to the ER, not to mention other incidents with the dreaded hives. It is life or death for her if she ingests anything she is severely allergic to. I’m allergic to passionfruit – who is allergic to passionfruit I ask?? But it is nothing compared to what my daughter has to go through.
    Anyway, we carry Benadryl capsules, hydrocortisone 2.5%( strength) and an epi pen. If you can get a prescription for a higher dose of hydrocortisone than what is available over the counter, it really helps those hives. Her body is so inflamed sometimes, it is red,hot and horrible – I bet you felt the same. An ice pack helps with a smaller circle of hives, if it is a full body of hives, she takes a cool bath as well. Sending you hugs.

    • Your poor daughter! How scary! I can only imagine. I have an inkling, though. MM. I feel for you, too. Living with that fear that allergies can strike any moment, and as a mother, to see your kid suffer like that, well, it can’t be easy. Bless you, both.

  3. So sorry, this is crazy! My son came down with hives one random day. We never figured out why, but it was the worst 24 hours until the steroids kicked in. Poor little guy. I can’t believe you had to go through that! xoxo

    • 24 hours can seem an eternity, especially when you can’t sleep through even an hour of the urge to scratch. I feel for your son. The hardest part was not being able to write or blog that week. When you itch with hives, its all you can think of. I couldnt sit at my computer, not for a minute. Sigh.

  4. I am sorry, I know I am not supposed to laugh at the pain of others but you do spin it so well. So well I was laughing down my leg.

    I have no horror hives stories for you. I cannot relate.

  5. HILARIOUS! This reminds me of my episode of chicken pox as a child. I wasn’t allowed to scratch but it was itching like crazy! Kids don’t know how lucky they are with the chicken pox vaccine now.

    • Hi Stephie! I had chicken pox, too, ages ago. Another awful disease. Anything that makes you scratch is wretched. Why can’t there be a disease that gives you the tickles? Now that would be something! Thanks for reading and best of all, commenting!

  6. I feel for you! I’m allergic to strawberries and if I eat them or even touch them, I get a full body rash that lasts for days. I can’t take Benadryl and during my last episode, the only thing that relieved the itching was a lukewarm shower. I’ve never been so clean in my life! Needless to say, I stay far away from those berries.

    • I love strawberries and couldn’t imagine being allergic to them. On the other hand, I love the outdoors yet am allergic to pollen, weeds, hay, and the Santa Anna’s. When I lived back East, I had to spend the entire summer indoors because my allergies were killing me. Sigh.

    • Having hives leaves you incapacitated to do anything else. So, you got have a sense of humor about it, though trust me, at the time, my humor flew the coop. Thank goodness it returned!

    • I was afraid of OD’ing on the things, Jayne, but ill take it under advisement. Actually, maybe now that it’s over i should start taking Benadryl on a daily basis just in case. In addition to the meds, I’m allergic to the Santa Anna’s. I dont get hives, but generally I have trouble breathing as it does a number on my sinuses, etc.

  7. Hate to like this, because it truly is a horror story. My last nasty run in with hives was when I went to the doctors office with a full blown migraine that was already hanging around way too long. They tried to give me a shot of imitrex. I didn’t take the whole shot. The hives started immediately! A migraine AND hives. Since I was in the office I got the benadryl right away (topical and oral) and since I didn’t have too much exposure the hives settled before I was let go. The migraine lingered another day.

    • I’ve never had a migraine, Lisa, but I’ve seen closeup what it can do to a person. My daughter gets them. So having both, even for a little while, yikes! Thats awful! You have my sympathies.

  8. Lordy mercy, Monica. I don’t envy you. Maybe if you’d’ve wrapped a chicken wing or two ’round your neck, it would’ve taken care of the itchiness. I used to get eczema so I know what that kinda feels like. Must feel a little like heaven to have gotten that shot in the arse.

  9. You really know how to have a fun time don’t you!!

    Sorry to hear of your problems and that the week only partially came up to scratch so to speak. Seriously it sounds something you definitely don’t want to get, so I am sorry you have.

    No idea what hives is, never heard of it this side of the pond, but Google is my friend so I will at some stage investigate.

    You take care and don’t do anything rash will you!!!

    • Robert, hives is so ething i hope you never get. The last time i had hives this bad was in college. I was naive and didnt know what to do. Had no idea it was something I should see the doctor about. Man, did I suffer. All these years later, the thought of it still traumatizes me.

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