Reason # 5782 to Hate Laundry
The creeping crud is back.
For about two years, I battled itchy, flaky, cracking, bleeding, painful, swollen skin on the fingers of my right hand. I went to two different dermatologists who both did allergy tests and tried various prescription creams. Nothing worked. I was actually convinced that breastfeeding my second baby did something to my hormones, which caused the crud since that was when it first appeared. But I got a resounding “no” from all docs on that one. All I got was a vague diagnosis that I had “Contact Dermatitis.” In other words, something I was coming into contact with was causing the creeping crud. Yeah, eight weeks of $75 copays was really worth that one!
My husband saw how I was suffering and went online to see what he could find out. He is the King of Internet Searches. He will probably never pick up a single dirty sock as long as he lives, but the man can find absolutely anything online. So he tells me it is probably one of our bazillion household cleaning products and I should switch to any “free and clear” alternatives to see if it would help.
I was tired of my nightly slathering of gooey udder cream and sleeping with white cotton gloves. (Yes, you read that right, I was using udder cream. For a cow.) So I swapped out dish soap, hand soap, laundry detergent, and dryer sheets all in whatever version of “pure,” “free,” or “clear” that they sold. I also bought disposable latex gloves by the box to wear anytime I handled anything that wasn’t as pure as the driven snow. Gradually, over the course of a few months, it started to clear up. I didn’t care which was the actual cause, I was just happy to have fingerprints again.
Fast forward to a month ago when the creeping crud came back. At first I thought I had poison ivy or bug bites from the itch. Then, one morning in the shower, I raked my nails over the same two fingers again and again. I didn’t care that I was literally tearing the skin off my hand and causing it to bleed. All I knew was that the itch was driving me crazy and a little blood was worth it for the scratch-gasm of relief. As I stepped out of the shower and saw the blood on my white towel from my cracked skin, I knew it was back.
Then it dawned on me. Shortly before our trip to Disney, we ran out of my usual free and clear dryer sheets. All I had left was the original Bounce I used to use. I figured a few sheets wouldn’t be that bad, so I used what I had. About a dozen loads of laundry later, the family was packed for a week-long trip, all dirty clothes baskets were empty, and my creeping crud was back with a vengeance.
After my Eureka! moment of discovering the absolute cause of the crud, I found myself snarling with hatred at the irony that laundry of all things caused this. I couldn’t possibly hate doing any chore more than I hate doing laundry anyway. Now it was quite literally causing me bodily harm. Fantastic.
So, as if anyone needed another reason to hate doing laundry, I give you Reason # 5782. It causes the crud.