Are we there yet?

August 21-27, 2017

By Jay Edwards


At work, I scratched an itch and it was gone. Then it was back. Still nothing seemed out of the ordinary as I went through the non-thinking motions again. More relief.


Then my face began to itch and I rubbed my eyes, then my arms and my back and hands and, well, pretty much everything.


At last the little guy in my brain said, “Don’t you think you’re scratching a lot here?”


I walked down the hall to the bathroom, scratching the back of my leg as I went, which I must have been doing for awhile because I had broken the skin.


The face in the mirror startled me. Small red bumps had appeared over my left eye and on my cheek. That’s when I checked the back of my leg and saw the blood.    


No real panic yet, but I did wonder if it had to do anything with the “Butterfinger Blast,” from Sonic.


It was now around four o’clock so I decided to head home and do my scratching in private. I called KM and told her my troubles and she wanted to meet me at my doctor’s.


I agreed and when I arrived it was 4:17 and the doors were locked. If anything the itching and swelling was getting worse so I called KM back and told her to meet me at the St. Vincent’s ER on the other side of University.    


St. Vincent’s ER was packed. “Was this an outbreak?” I wondered to myself. Anthrax in Little Rock distributed through “Butterfinger Blasts!”


The woman at the ER desk indicated without saying it that I was to write my name on a piece of paper and find a seat in the brightly lit room filled with depressed looking souls and sounds of late afternoon television.


The poor afflicted saps looked up at me as I walked past; and why wouldn’t they, I was physically changing in front of them.


KM came in, took one look around, and said, “We’re not staying here.” I didn’t argue. We got into her car and she had already talked to my doctor at his home and he said to give me three Benadryl and go to the ER. I was trying. We got the drug and headed west to Baptist.


The friendly nurses at Baptist put me on what they called the “fast track,” and in fifteen minutes KM and I were in a room and seeing a doctor.


He looked me over and I told him that I was scheduled for a root canal the next week and had been taking antibiotics for about ten days, specifically Amoxicillin, which is penicillin. I told him I had taken it all my life with no problems. He didn’t think that was the cause and was leaning towards something viral.


They watched me awhile and the Benadryl had kicked in so I was feeling better and they let me go. He wrote me some prescriptions, one for an Epipen, in case my throat began to close up. He said you jab it into your thigh and “walk back to the ER if you have to.”


“Couldn’t I just have some pain pills instead?” I asked.


Back at my house I lay on my couch, with fears of a swelling throat. About 9:45 I looked in a mirror and my eyes were more swollen, as were my lips. I looked like Jake LaMotta… “The Itching Bull.” My arms and backs of my legs were covered in hives. I could breathe though, which was nice.


KM took me back to Baptist, and their “fast track.” The same doctor was still on duty and he seemed a bit embarrassed, saying he was changing his earlier call. The penicillin was causing this.


They gave me a steroid shot and an anti-histamine shot. The doctor moved to the area next to me with another patient. We were separated by a thin curtain and I was reminded of the Seinfeld “Spongebath” episode.


The doctor was telling the man it was time for another pain shot. “Some people have all the luck,” I thought.


Jay Edwards is publisher of the Daily Record. Contact him at