You know: in a foolish, undiscriminating way, I've been happy these last few months. I don't know why. I just am. I love my friends; I love my pupils; I love what I read; I -- dammit -- love my thoughts. I love the taste of oranges.
Thornton Wilder in a letter to Gertrude Stein, Aug 14, 1936

Sunday, September 15, 2013


On a recent visit to my primary care physician, we had gone over the usuals and gotten to that moment in the appointment when he asks, "Is there anything else?"

There was in fact. Although I am in what I prefer to think of as my late middle years, I can still have the complexion of an emotionally distraught fourteen-year-old. There had been several recent outbreaks, and I was at the tail end of one now. My doctor and I agreed that it could be rosacea, since I had a history of that a decade or more ago. It was mild and he saw no reason to send me to a dermatologist since he could prescribe what they almost would certainly prescribe themselves. If the problem persisted -- you know the drill.

He said that he would write me a prescription for metronidazole, but that he was going to give me the .75% solution rather than the .1% solution officially formulated for rosacea. He said the difference was insignificant, and that the .75% solution was a fraction of the cost. There was just one thing.

He did not want me to be concerned that the box would be labeled "For intravaginal use only. (Not for ophthalmic, dermal, or oral use.)" He said to simply rub a little on my face at bedtime and wash it off in the morning.

When I went to fill the prescription I remembered once being prescribed the children's version of an antacid, again for the considerable savings in price. (Since all these things cost me the same through my prescription program, it is merely a courtesy to my insurer.) I had a problem with the antacid because it was not "age appropriate." After a half hour of phone calls to the doctor and the insurers, I got my orange-flavored soluble tablets. They seemed to do the job well, but as I turned in this new prescription I wondered what questions it might raise. I was filled within minutes.

Yes, I am now using a vaginal gel, applying it directly to my face despite the dire warnings to the contrary that cover the box and the densely worded instruction booklet. Things are going well and there are no side effects.

I don't know the etiquette here, but I do have available a set of five factory-sealed applicators. I have not come up with a use for them, although I have not given it much thought.

For other "disturbing" posts follow the "disturbing" label.