August 23, 2015

Dr. WebMD:

Four days ago I took a bath because my back was sore from some labor and bending over. I am a 58-year-old male with some arthritis, but in generally good health. I put about five drops of essential oil of bergamot in the tub. I shaved my face, and after I did that I thought I would shave my testicles for fun. I did a pretty thorough job, and shaved the area back toward my anus as well. After that I put about three quarters of a cup of Epsom salts in the bath and soaked for ten minutes or so.

That night and the following morning, my scrotum began itching. I sometimes use skin moisturizer and sometimes I rub cocoanut oil into my hands, so I applied a moisturizing lotion and some food-grade cocoanut oil to my scrotum. Throughout the day, the itching persisted and intensified, and the skin became reddened. I applied cocoanut oil again during the day. That night, my scrotum was extremely itchy and burning, and very red.

The following morning I took a shower. I wear hearing aids, and when I shower and as advised by my ear specialist, I often use a squirt bottle to flush each ear with a mixture of about half warm water and half vinegar to reduce ear itching. I have learned to shave my face after, rather than before, doing this.As this mixture flushed down over my scrotum, it burned intensely. I quickly flushed the area.

The burning, tingling, itchiness and redness persisted and became intense during the course of that day. I applied cocoanut oil and lotions several times. I was very uncomfortable that night, as the symptoms severely disrupted my sleep. The following morning, two days ago, the sensations were very intense and the redness of the skin was startling. I applied lotion and cocoanut oil again two or three times during the morning.

In the late morning I kept a workout appointment with my fitness trainer. Her regime for me involves “functional training” with a variety of resistance muscle training with cable machines and weights, and cardiovascular exertion. Perspiration and friction during this training session exacerbated the symptoms.

At this time, as I usually do, I stopped for an iced coffee drink at a café and ice cream parlor on way home. I went to the bathroom, and found that the coloration of my scrotum had become a dark red, angry-looking and inflamed color. It occurred to me that the color was very much like a sort of raspberry, and in fact my testicles looked like a couple of little scoops of raspberry sorbet. At his time I had an urge to cool and soothe them. There was a small stool at the sink made available so children can reach the sink to wash their hands. I placed that stool so that I could get my testicles up near the edge of the sink to sooth them with cold water. I really wished that I could somehow get them down so that I could really dunk them in a full sink. In my discomfort I hadn’t locked the door, and I was interrupted so I wasn’t able to get as much relief as I hoped.

When I returned home I remembered that there are some ointments and liniments that are used for treating itching. I recalled seeing a product at home called Overbite (see picture), which I found and applied to the affected area. This felt soothing, but did not really relieve the sensations of itching and burning and the raspberry-looking discoloration. In looking I found that the single active ingredient in the product (it is actually called Afterbite) is Ammonia, %3.5. I thought that a concentrated application of this active ingredient might provide more relief, so I directly applied concentrated solution of ammonia kept for household cleaning to my scrotum and anus area.
I see from the labeling on the tube of Overbite that it is promoted for use with the bites of chiggers and ants. I can’t speak to the therapeutic value of the direct application of ammonia to the bites of chiggers and ants, but it was not useful in my situation, and was in fact very painful. This may indicate that my condition was not due to the bites of chiggers or ants. In fact, I can’t imagine very many kinds of bites for which it seems like a good idea. This did make me reflect on whether I might have bitten in some way. I have been bitten in the past, but have never had this kind of genital reaction to biting injuries.

It did, however, occur to me that maybe my condition was related to some kind of insect bite. I live in an area where there are a lot of ticks, and I thought maybe what I was experiencing was the result of a tick bite or something of the sort in the previous weeks, that I had not noticed. In closely examining my scrotum, I found, our rather felt something like what attached ticks have felt like when I had them in the past, or have dealt with them on dogs or sheep and goats. I now think this may have been a skin tag. In any case, in my discomfort and impatience, I burned it with a kitchen match head, as my mother had always told me that this would cause ticks to withdraw their heads from where they are embedded in the skin to help avoid infection. I applied a product I found called “flea and tick power,” hoping for relief from some symptoms.

When watching dogs vigorously scratch their lips with their hind paws, I have sometimes wondered what it might feel like to have lips itch like that. The lips I have don’t look like dog lips, though sometimes my lips really itch. Often my testicles itch intensely. I imagine that people who have lips that look like that, instead of testicles, might experience itching like that. I’m really glad my lips don’t itch like that.

None of the things I have described had provided me with much relief. I applied cocoanut oil again. I have used Vitamin E oil to promote skin healing in the past, and I have a bottle of pure Vitamin E oil. I applied this thickly to my entire scrotum and the area toward my anus, with my fingers and a sort of a small spatula. My intent was to create a sort of encapsulating protective boundary, as I understand might be done with bedsores or with a thick, mineral-based diaper rash cream such as Desitin. I did not have any Desitin.

I found that this did provide some soothing comfort. At this time my testicles had something of the feel and texture of flypaper, though they didn’t look like it. They still had a startling, nearly iridescent ruby color. I put on my clothing and returned to the meetings I had scheduled for that afternoon.

Within a short time, the pain, itching and clinging sensations I was experiencing led me to examine the region in an office bathroom. My scrotum was covered with lint fibers from my underwear, and I observed that there was what appeared to be hair stubble. At this time my testicles looked sort of like little balls of sorbet, but with a more complicated coloring and variegation, like a gourmet Italian Gelato or something, though they really looked more like those little birds that are called Kiwis. Not the fruit, but the bird. Except for the color.

I decided to rinse and cool my testicles in the sink. This, combined with aggressive rubbing and scratching, provided great relief. Due to the stickiness, I began to wash them with what I thought was a hand cleanser. It turned out that rather than a soap cleanser, this was an alcohol-based hand disinfectant. I managed to get my groin region and genitals generally up over the sink in order to flush and rinse the area.

At home that evening, I was able to get into the shower and thoroughly clean my scrotum and anal area. I applied a thick gel of Vitamin E oil as a barrier. I had a very itchy night, during which I scratched vigorously and reapplied Vitamin E oil.

Yesterday morning I washed, dried and examined my scrotum and anal areas carefully. Their color was a very intense, radiant berry color. By this time noticeable stubble was returning to my testicles and the area around my anus, and the skin had begun to peel. A this time the appearance of my testicles reminded me of a couple of small scoops of raspberry sorbet that are peeling, and kind of melting, and with a kind of spikey stubble. This image does not fit at all with how they felt though. I did imagine them with one of those little wafer cookies that are in the shape of a very narrow slice of pie. I really wish I could do more to relieve the itching. I have an urge to lick them and nibble them with my front teeth.

Dr. WebMD, my back is still very sore, and my ears itch. Could I have Lyme disease? Should I try Desitin?

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