Saturday, December 26, 2009

Relapse

So remember how I was talking about my arthritis not really being that bad and how much it surprised me? Um yeah, I forgot to knock on wood.

The rash I had last night and this morning was the same intensity as the rash that I experienced as a small child. It's hard to think that I was able to somehow handle the extreme itching that this rash brings along with it. In the wee small hours of the morning, it occurred to me that there aren't a whole hell of a lot of pictures that capture this terrible rash. The pictures aren't the best quality since I was super tired, but here you go:

This is my left elbow around eleven PM last night. You can see here the raised nature of this rash. Once it is scratched, it tends to spread. Earlier in the night, there were three small spots similar in nature and, unfortunately, I touched, rubbed, and scratched them. This is the resulting spread.

This is the right elbow around 6 this morning. Last night, it had no sign of rash on it at all. You can see how the whole arm seems to be enveloped by the rash.

This is a close-up of the left elbow this morning. This picture helps to show that the rash tends to center on the joints.

I can't remember which knee this is (left I think?), but I took this picture this morning. My bathroom isn't very light, so you'll have to forgive me. My knee is very swollen and covered in rash, most of it hiding beneath the skin. The rash here, which you can't really see thanks to the lighting, is bumpy similar to a pimple or boil. Combined with the itching, an untrained eye may think it is a bug bite or boil and try to pick at it - very bad idea.

This is also from this morning. The rash literally covered my whole arm. What you see here is the fading away of the rash (this time on my left wrist) in the mornings. One of the most frustrating things when we were trying to diagnose what was wrong with me was that the rash would occur during the night but disappear by the time we were finally able to see a doctor.

Again, this is the rash dissipating (right wrist). You can see the rash still present along the bottom edges of the picture and right around my vein towards the middle. Also you can see my gross sink. Don't worry, it's rust.

Again, this is the most extreme case of the rash I have had since I was very young. The rash is VERY hot to the touch and generally brings with it a feverish feeling. It is very difficult to resist the urge to scratch this rash, especially in one's sleep. The main reason the rash spread this time was because of the lack of self-control during sleep, and this is very common unfortunately. I spent a long time trying to stay awake last night despite the fact that I had to work at 8am this morning. This is complicated by the fact that I have a nasty cold right now too and had some fun coughing fits throughout the night. As such, I got a very restless three or four hours of sleep.

I hope that this helps to show some of you who may not understand exactly what happens with systemic JRA rash get a better grip on what is happening here. One of the most frustrating things with this rash is that nothing helps it feel better. No cold water, no calamine lotion (this peels and ends up begging to be picked at), and unfortunately no ingested Benadryl. I used a Cortaid spray this morning, but that only seemed to help due to the fact that the rash was already dissipating. While it is very hard to remember and follow, the best thing you can do is not scratch it. You've seen now what happens when you do, and I can tell you it isn't pretty.

In slightly related news, I fell down the stairs this week at my mom's house. My knee gave out mid-step and there just wasn't a way to recover. Honestly, that was a lot more fun than the rash and, though it is probably going to start hurting exponentially more in the coming days, I would rather fall down the stairs again than have the rash and that's saying a lot.

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