Monday, July 20, 2009

Score one for the hippies

**Disclaimer: It hardly ought to need saying, but I will: you can only choose the right treatment for you. Consult many sources before deciding how you want to go about being your own doctor.

Since freshman year of college, I have suffered from what my family delicately phrases as "gross feet." After several dermatological consultations, and attempts at adjusting my diet to determine a food allergy, I have come to the conclusion that those attempts were a waste of my time. The first dermatologist, Dr. Turner, took a couple of skin samples and diagnosed eczema. He came into the room to deliver the results, looked at me for a couple of seconds, and then left. He never came back, so eventually I just left. I called back the next day to be told there was nothing to do about it, except to keep it clean. Feet. Clean. I had a gp once tell me that it was a whole new type of disorder, and quizzed me on my overseas traveling (I hadn't done any). What he thought was an algae-bloom (no lie) was really the residue of red toenail polish that did not come off entirely. That ought to be adequate explanation of Why Modern Medicine Doesn't Work For This Problem.

What to do? When I started seeing Will, I thought nothing could embarass me more than having him see my naked feet. CS Lewis once described a character in my favorite book by saying "It would have shamed me no more to go naked." Exposed feet caused me more moments of soul-crushing torture than I like to admit. I finally took the challenge thrown down by our earth-hugging social clime, and researched some herbal alternatives. Score one for the hippies.

Every other night, I soak my feet for 20 minutes in a tea made of:
2 c. epsom salts
several drops pure tea tree oil
1/4 oz. dried calendula
1/4 oz. dried comfrey leaf

Bring a large stock pot of water to boil (mine is 6 qt.). When boiling happily, drop in the salts and stir till (absolved? resolved?) dissolved (that's the word I was looking for). Drop in the calendula and the comfrey leaf, and sprinkle drops of tea tree oil over all. Stir just enough to get everything under the water. Leave the lid on the pot for 10 minutes or so whilst steeping. Let the tea cool to a bearable temperature, and soak, soak, soak!

I've done this procedure for 2 weeks now, and it has almost literally performed a miracle--even the nails look healthier. Last night, I used a callus shaver about 10 minutes into the soak, and then popped the feet back to finish another 10 minutes of soaking. Follow up with a heavy duty foot cream and you just might be on your way to what my boyfriend now calls "less scaly feet"!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Quick thought...and then to work

Last night, I picked up a new CD--something I haven't done in a loooong time. Okay, okay. You caught me: I have friends who engage in a little illicit burning. I will never give up their names. Do your worst.

The White Stripes self-titled album. Amazing. The album itself is no White Blood Cells, and definitely no De Stijl (my personal fave of their catalogue). An illustration, Reader. My friends Dave and Leslie liked to strap their toddler into her car seat for long rides, and then show her nothing but Tom and Jerry cartoons on the portable DVD. By the time they turned her loose, she was a whirling dervish of frenzied action and speech. She would turn in circles, generating her own electricity in a flurry of flying barrettes, sliding glasses, and impossibly slurred speech. Jack White, metaphorically, is that toddler locked up and fed Tom & Jerry for hours. The fury with which he attacks each track stuns the listener into a rapture that is akin to addiction. No wonder these people got a record deal.

My current favorite track: