Tuesday, September 11, 2007

itchy and scratchy

My feet look like they have chicken pox.

Saturday night Ben and I met up with some Columbia alums and went to a new lounge, “Tabula rasa” in South Delhi. I convinced everyone to sit outside on the over-sized beanbag chairs amongst lit pools covered in rose petals. It was the kind of lounge where a drink costs more than adopting a small cat.

The next morning I woke up to a fire—that is, on my legs. It was a burning sensation that all the hydrocortisone cream in the world could not quench. And there’s not even hydrocortisone cream in India. I counted: twenty-five mosquito bites on each foot. My initial reaction was that I’d rather my feet bleed than be itchy, so I scratched until both my feet were raw. But the itching did not go away.

My feet swelled from all of the itching. They looked like pregnant woman feet, with scabs. Good thing I’m taking malaria pills.

On Monday I had trouble conducting interviews, eating, and even carrying a conversation at work. The itchiness was beyond unbearable. More than once I spotted colleagues staring at my feet in disgust and wonder. “I swear, I’m not diseased!” I said.


I tend to diagnose myself on wikipedia. I’ve diagnosed Ben with strep throat and an ear infection more than once. It’s quite a handy tool. It was at work, that I found the answer on the net: toothpaste.

As soon as I got home from work, I slathered my feet in toothpaste. It quickly dried, and alas, the itching had stopped. It was a miracle.

Later in the evening I found benadryl in our medicine cabinet. After taking it and adding another layer of toothpaste on my feet, I went to bed. The next morning, the itchiness was mostly gone. I’m not sure if it was the benadryl or the toothpaste, but I’d like to think it was the latter.

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