I think I’ve eaten myself into an allergy. At the moment this is all pure speculation, of course, but by deductive reasoning, it does make a certain kind of sense. That is, it makes sense to me, and I’m one of those self-diagnosing types who stalls qualified medical intervention like it’s somehow ennobling. Which, to all you like-minded souls out there, it’s not, it’s just really, really irritating for the people who have to listen to you moan yet again about that thing you still refuse to see the doctor about. Why? Why do we do this? Well, I for one always feel like a terrible hypochondriac at the doctor’s. I don’t need any assistance in this department, hypochondria’s one illness that really runs in the family (wheeze), so by not going, I feel like I am keeping my hypochondria at bay. Let it into a doctor’s surgery and give it the smallest validation and I won’t be responsible for what happens.
I hate going. I really like my doctor, she’s cool and serene and really pretty excellent, but that doesn’t mean I want to spend any time with her at all ever if I can possibly avoid it. Nothing personal. It’s just I always feel like I’m faking it whenever I’m there. This is similar, although I can’t think how, to the fact that I brace every time I walk out of a department store. There’s a tiny part of me that flinches as though I’m expecting to set off the alarms. The funniest thing about this is that I am dead certain I start looking suspicious on my way to the doors. My gait even shifts slightly, so that I get this weird marionette half skipping thing happening. I can also feel the gormless “Who me? Wha..?” expression starting to form on my face. If I were a store detective, I’d be exactly the kind of shifty character I’d follow out. And I feel the same way looking across at my kind and elegant GP. So I avoid her, because the doctor is much easier to avoid than the department store, and there’s only so much awkward loping I can cope with before it becomes easier to simply stay home and out of trouble.
So. Back to my allergy. I thought the weird red rash that’s sort of devoured the skin under my left eye was a nerve rash created by my pronounced manuscript anxiety. It arrived at around the same time I sent the MS to Catherine, so I was pretty sure the two were related. My body sometimes really likes to extend its sympathies to my mind, and this seemed like one of those times. But I neglected to think about what else its appearance coincided with, and that was Easter. Easter for most people means chocolate, but not me. Sure, I ate a couple of choc-bunnies from Lindt and a milk chocolate egg from Darrel Lea, but that was it. I’m just not a huge chocolate person (although I have recently rediscovered the joys of the CHOMP – it’s a delicious combination and wafer and caramel dipped in chocolate), and Easter, for me, is about something else entirely. Namely hot cross buns. Now, I know I told you I’d been feasting on my hot cross buns with lashings of butter over the Easter long weekend, but what was happening off-screen was slightly more excessive. I was shoving down those bad boys two at a time every breakfast. I polished off an entire cake of butter in a week. I was locked and larded.
And then came my eye thing. Last week, as I neared the end of my final pack of buns (sniff, sniff), it really started looking angry. I went to the chemist to see if they could give me something for it (they couldn’t, it’s too close to my eyeball), and the chemist said “Have you changed your routine recently?” I said no, because my skincare routine hasn’t changed, but later on I started wondering if there were any other things I’d recently introduced into my life. It was either the hot cross buns or the bags of service station lollies I discovered at the servo at the end of my street. All the jubes are there, all the old favourites from when we still had milk bars when I was a kid. I tell you what, those lolly bags got me through some pretty manic redrafting and helped kick along last week’s freelance job too. So it was the lollies or the buns. Then we had dinner last Friday with another couple. N works in pharmaceuticals, so I leaned my scabby face across the table and demanded to know if he had any big ideas on what the hell I was supposed to do about it. He squinted at the red angry skin for a minute then said “I got that from cholesterol once.”
Butter. The butter on the buns. The lashings and lashings and lashings of butter on the buns. That’s got to be it. For three intensive weeks, I scoffed those hot cross buns with dripping melted butter and I savoured every last delectable morsel. But did I perchance go overboard? Did I give myself a little butter blight? I wonder, because now there are no longer any hot cross buns in the house, it’s starting to go down. See? Who needs a doctor?!