So here’s the deal. I’m burned out on politics, burned out on life. I’m tired of bitching about the idiots we elected to represent us and I’m tired of ranting about medical marijuana. I just moved to a new MUCH smaller home in a MUCH smaller town (Red Lodge) and can’t find anything. I’m eating ice cream (Wilcoxson’s Chocolate Runs Through it) like it is going out of style and soon my jeans will not fit. It has rained 5 inches so far since Saturday and creek beds are overflowing and houses are flooding, including mine. It is cold, gray, dreary and humid so I’m spinning off into irrelevant territory for a moment.
I’m warning you, the following has nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with Montana, nothing to do with medical marijuana either. But, it is important, because it involves my leg.
Last November, Billings received record amounts of snowfall sandwiched between layers of ice. Because of my location, directly beneath the rims (just a few blocks away from this) at the end of a narrow, steep street, I was often housebound in stormy weather. When I mustered the courage to attempt to navigate a path down my street, or even to retrieve my mail at the bottom of my driveway, I often fell down several, if not all, of my concrete steps. On a particularly icy morning, when running late to take my daughter to school across town, my fall even knocked me unconscious for a short time and for weeks I had bruises covering most of my body.
About a month ago, I noticed that one of my bruises, covering most of my left thigh, was not only still visible, but actually looked far more horrible than I’d remembered. The lacy, mottled appearance was like nothing I’d ever seen before and it almost had the disgusting appearance, from my vantage point; of dimpled cellulite. I panicked as I wondered how I could have allowed my typically toned leg to become something so very horrifying. I showed a male friend who has seen my thigh many times and he uncomfortably winced. I showed my mother, who immediately offered to make me an appointment with a specialist. These were both signs that this was no ordinary case of saddlebags or run-of-the-mill age-related dimpling. I decided that research was in order unless I intended to awaken my physician far past his bedtime to set my mind at ease.
After spending quite some time perusing online dermatology websites, I found a photo, posted below, which looked eerily similar to my own leg. It isn’t my leg, however. As I read about the causes of the condition, Erythema ab igne, I knew I’d found my diagnosis. I am not only a blogger but a laptop addict. Instead of sleeping with humans, I sleep with computers. Each night, I fall asleep while typing with my laptop propped up on my left thigh. Sometimes it gets a bit warm and I make a mental note to clean my fans and eliminate some processes, but inevitably; I forget. Sometimes it gets REALLY warm and I worry not so much about my skin, but about the health of my laptop.
Erythema ab igne can be caused by long-term exposure to infrared radiation in the form of heat. Laptop optical drives, batteries or ventilation fans can emit enough heat over a long period of time to cause mottled discoloration. While not immediately dangerous, the discoloration can persist indefinitely (severe cases don’t typically resolve) and in some cases it can lead to skin cancer. In my case, any pain caused by the condition is vanity-based but believe me, knowing it may not go away- ever- is frightening.
In my short blogging career, I’ve attracted some crazed politicians and now an irreparable and hideous skin condition. Gone are the days of me wearing a bikini without scaring people and gone are the days of me associating with Yellowstone County folk simply because they have an (R) behind their name. Maybe I just grew up.