It’s official: I’m a sensitive guy. I received that diagnosis recently during a visit to the emergency room at the local hospital. This visit was occasioned by a sudden, unpleasant, and quite alarming rash that broke out all over my body; and given that it was late in the evening on a Sunday, going to a walk-in clinic or my own doctor were not going to be options, so I went to the ER. The rash had arisen the day before in a much milder form, and had somewhat subsided overnight, but now it had reared its ugly head in a much more alarming form, worse than I had ever experienced such a rash in the past.
The doctor took one look at the rash and quickly came to the conclusion that my immune system was overreacting to something, and producing an overabundance of histamines, hence the raised bumps on my skin, red colouration, and an itch that was driving me closer and closer to insanity with each passing minute. He told me that I was a “sensitive guy”–we laughed about that for a moment. He went on to tell me I had an immune system that was more highly sensitive to things (allergens in particular) than normal, and asked me a number of questions to try to determine what I had been exposed to. We never came to a complete conclusion: it’s something I’ve been newly exposed to most likely. I confirmed with him the allergies I was diagnosed with and he echoed my allergy specialist’s admonition to get the things I’m allergic to either out of my life, or reduce my exposure to them. So again, I must stop procrastinating at finding Ms. Feline a new home. I hate my body sometimes. It’s possible that Ms. Feline is not the sole root cause of my rash, but she isn’t helping the situation either. I was advised to take Benadryl for the symptoms, and given a prescription for a medication to suppress my immune response for a week, and sent on my way. I awoke the next morning completely free of the rash and all discomfort. You can’t begin to imagine how relieved and grateful I am! At the height of my symptoms, I was ready to rub sandpaper over myself to relieve the itch.
As I walked back to my car from the hospital, I naturally (for me, as a former Christian Scientist) thought about how I would have handled this situation in the past when I was a Christian Scientist. Firstly, I would have been scared out of my mind. The rash was rapidly spreading everywhere, and its appearance was quite alarming. I would have tried to pray about it alone in my home, perhaps call a Christian Science practitioner for an assist on the prayers, but I still would have been stewing over it alone in my home, trying my best not to literally scratch the skin off my body. You see, I’ve done this before, with many an ailment–even similar albeit not as severe rashes as this. The rash may have cleared up over time, but likely not as fast as it did this time with the assist from medical science. I would have thought a lot about what crazy serious disease I might have, but at the same time being too scared of the medical system to go and do anything about it. That is an ugly paradox with many who are influenced by the unique mind-fuck that is Christian Science.
This time, it was so different. While yes, the rash was quite alarming, I quickly figured out it probably wasn’t life-threatening, and that the explanation was probably fairly simple: a severe allergic reaction. I recognized the symptoms, as I have been working with an allergy specialist, and remember similar symptoms when they did a skin test for allergies on me, and similar raised and itchy bumps materialized in localized areas around where my skin was exposed to allergens I was sensitive to. Based on that, I figured I was having a severe reaction to something I was allergic to. Perhaps it was the cat. The night before, I’d been cuddling with her as I watched TV and a small version of the rash erupted, but subsided. Maybe this time my body was finally saying “enough is enough, I’m giving up!” and decided that a stronger message was needed. However, the severity of this reaction drove me to get it looked at, just in case there was something more serious to be concerned about. What was not in doubt for me was that I would find an explanation, and relief, and I received both.
I come away from this realizing more deeply how much of a complete mind-fuck Christian Science is. It actually made me more afraid of disease than I really need to be. You see, in Christian Science, disease is a great unknown. Something alarming happens to you, but you don’t know what it is. You’re not supposed to know what it is, because if you do, you might not get healed. How illogical and stupid is that? How does one solve a problem if they don’t even know what the fucking problem is? I know the Christian Scientist will parrot the line that the disease isn’t real, and identifying it gives it reality. Bullshit! The rash I had the other night was sure as hell not an illusion! The doctor looked at it, realized quickly what it was, told me what it was, and put together a course of action to address the problem. No big deal.
It’s a bit of a paradox as I see it with Christian Science. When I was a Christian Scientist, I was much more afraid of disease, injury, or other bodily ailments than I am now as a non-Christian Scientist who seeks medical treatment. Now, I know what I’m up against, and it’s treated with a logical, planned course of action. No, medical science can’t treat and cure everything, but it can cure and treat many things, and above all help you to achieve physical, and by extension mental, comfort. Christian Science never did that for me. It gave me rose-coloured promises it never kept, and instilled in me a great fear of the unknown. It is the most eloquent mind-fuck in the world, I think. I feel like an opaque mask has been lifted off me, and I see and experience life and the world around me in a far different and better way. For that, I am immensely grateful.