Commentary. I’ve got a red rash all over my back. Oh, it’s not serious, and I can’t blame the San Diego sun because the sun never sees it. It itches a lot. I scratch and open wounds that bleed in spots, causing infection.
The condition has escalated to one that has taken a toll on my sanity and threatens to compromise my constitutional right to pursue the happiness of itchless, inflammation-free skin in places out of my reach.
It all started with a patch test to determine the substances to which I might be allergic. This, after I arose one morning with big bags of lymphatic fluid under both eyes. “Oh, there’s some ingredient in my make-up to which I’m allergic,” said the self-taught doctor in me. Off I go to the CA-state-sanctioned dermatologist to discover what the irritating substance might be.
Sixty-five standard-issue allergens were applied in patches to my back. I’m not sure who determined the “standard 65” but I would bet it was a federal agency of highly paid physicians who got their degrees in government-subsidized medical schools or were certified by academic equivalent of a California Cracker Jacks prize.
For five days, I endured the sixty-five substances charged with irritating my back. When the test concluded, my back showed the biggest irritant to be the adhesive bands holding the substances against my skin. Okay, I’m allergic to tape.
But, there’s no tape in my make-up. Back to square one about what makes me itchy and swells up my skin. I am actually back before square one, because now my back has been sensitized to sixty-five substances it never encountered before.
My back was new to the substances applied in the patch test. I know; I dutifully studied the list and am quite sure no nickel sulfate, tree moss, formaldehyde, or sixty-two other uncommon chemicals ever contacted my back before. Something besides those sixty-five things is irritating me badly. But, some all-knowing central agency decided ahead of time that every allergen in the universe must undoubtedly be represented by the 65 it chose for the test.
I’m also noticing a few little red dits on my front, if you know where I mean. Okay, what does make contact with my back and some places up front? A eureka moment occurred when I diagnosed underwear as the potential problem. Well, not the undergarments per se, but the laundry detergent used to wash them.
Have you noticed how all laundering detergents are all quite concentrated these days? Only a little is needed for any wash job, be it laundry, dish washing, or industrial-strength car cleaning. Detergent concentrations have increased markedly to boost their cleaning power after the EPA banned phosphates from washing products.
Phosphates, of course, get things clean like nothing else. Environmental regulations, however, ban the best ingredients from most of our products. Look at light bulbs. Instead of illuminating capability of incandescent bulbs, we have the low light of curly compact fluorescents with toxic mercury inside instead. Similarly, phosphates no longer enter the list of detergent ingredients, but we have plenty of the ineffectual stuff that won’t launder our clothes no matter how much is in there but irritates our skin from the little left in the laundry.
Phosphates have been blamed for algal blooms and are said to destroy marine environments. Being that human beings don’t live in marine environments, it seems a senseless ban. But environmentalists did not consider my sensibilities or sensitivities living on land before banning the substance that got my clothes clean while promoting increased concentrations of stuff that attacked my back.
But, back to my back. It must be reacting to concentrations of detergent incompletely rinsed from my underwear. Yeah, I could double-rinse those loads, but that doubles my already exorbitant water bill. Besides, the public water department monitors my usage and threatens cutting supply if I don’t conserve.
Because there’s a water shortage in California, you know, caused by constant droughts despite monsoon rains in winter, caused by continual global warming despite cool temperature records, caused by our exhale and exhaust from our SUVs. Such bad people, us Left Coasters, despite that we blend boutique fuels to eliminate a few parts per million of carbon from our state atmosphere.
In the meantime I have been prescribed a strong anti-inflammatory steroid, which makes my back rash better but has produced the ill side effects from extended use over large areas. Where’s the FDA when you need it? Worse, I cannot get an appointment with the doctor for his having closed his practice from over-regulation and under-payments from Obamacare. No more road to serfdom for the good doctor. His is the road to surfdom on a custom-made board.
I don’t know. I think the government is out to get me, little by little, starting with a few shots in my back, aimed not at killing me so much as irritating me to death.