Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The End of Skin As We Knew It

When my friends would "lay out" in the sun to get a tan, I never joined them. I knew better. I wanted a tan, but it wasn't going to happen. My skin can be super white or it can be red. It doesn't do tan unless it's tan-from-a-can.

Once, in high school I really wanted a tan. My brother had recently had reconstructive surgery on his face after putting it through a windshield, and as part of his healing he used a sun lamp. (This was a while before tanning beds were invented,) I thought the instructions were one foot away for three minutes. Turns out it was three feet away for one minute. I had to go see the good Dr. Shoenher for that one. I got some cream, antibiotics and a lecture.

Once on a vaca at the beach, I learned that waterproof sunscreen doesn't really stay put while boogy boarding. I had a heck of a sunburn in time to drive 12 hours home. Fun. I really learned my lesson that time.

But a few years of apartment and condo living left me salivating for vegetable garden planting day for a long, long time. Sunday was the day.

I started out with sun screen on my face and arms and sleeves in the morning. But, dang it was hot. I was having so much fun! I was talking to the plants, admiring the soil that had been lovingly built up with compost, shredded leaves and sweat, and just enjoying the wonder and priviledge of planting. I really didn't think about it when I changed my shirt for a tank top. Before I knew it, it was 4:00 p.m.


That was two days ago. I can't even give myself sympathy, let alone expect any from anyone else. It's not as if I didn't know that I can't be in the sun without protection. South Carolina sun is much more wicked than Wisconsin sun. And I am taking some medication that says something about being careful about being in the sun. I sometimes behave like an idiot.

I thought yesterday would be the worst day, but I was wrong. Today has been anything but funny. Think being massaged with a hot metal brush. Now think of pouring some alcohol on that. It feels sort of like that. Nausea and headache are adding to the interest.

I've been very thirsty and have drunk twice as much water in the past couple of days as my usual eight or nine glasses. I'm keeping ice packs on my back whenever I can. They melt quickly.

My daughter and siblings have rather olive skin. But my skin goes with my Scots name. My son has my see through skin, but he has blue eyes to go with it. He's also had skin cancer. I don't suspect I'll get skin cancer since I'm fairly sure I'll have no skin left on my back by the time this is over.

So yeah, I know this is my fault. I knew better. But if you could feel sorry for me - or even pretend to - I'd appreciate it a lot. I'm sure this is the worst sunburn in the history of sumburns.


  1. I thought this was a very cute post. We all do stupid stuff sometimes without thinking about it. I am very allergic to trees, grass, and rageweed. Also cats, but no problems there, no cats around me! Anyway, there are times that I just want to sit in the grass and enjoy the summer breeze. I know I should just get a chair and enjoy it that way. But there is something child like about sitting in the grass. Anyway, espically if I am wearing shorts, I get up and there are hives all over my legs. Nothing serious happens to me. They go away. Your burn sounds a lot worse. However, I can just relate to doing something and not realizing it because of the fun your having.

    Your skin will come back promise;)

  2. Ouch! I hope your remaining skin feels better soon!

  3. Hey...hope you heal quickly. When you can fathom putting something on your skin again, I like to spritz diluted apple cider vinegar and water on a burn. It is said to speed the healing process. Good luck!

  4. "I sometimes behave like an idiot."

    Welcome, Fay, to the human condition to match your burn condition.

    If it's any consolation, at least you don't live on Venus or worse, Mercury. Imagine the burn you'd have there while gardening dirt and craters. **Fay throws bottle of sunscreen at Charlie**

  5. Went to urgent care today and got a shot of steroids, oral steroids (that I won't take) pain meds, nausea meds, and silver whatchacallit cream, a lecture, instructions on not using ice and using more aloe. Very expensive sunburn. But I feel human again. Thanks for all your sympathy. Keep it coming. I'll tell you when to stop. :)
    And Charlie. . . . duck.

  6. "silver whatchacallit cream"

    Good stuff. I use it for polishing Martha's good Walmart silver service. In the old days, I drank it.

    **Charlie ducks again**

  7. I DO feel sorry for you - that's a lot of pain and skin loss. Always remember what Kurt Vonnegut had to say - or maybe really never DID say. I'm sending healing vibes and "cooling" thoughts. nan