I will admit to you today that I can be a hypochondriac. The slight cough, pain or bump, and I am freaking out that it might be "the big one." Take for example a 2-inch bump that showed up on my forehead about a month ago. It is much smaller now and almost gone, but I was sure it was the dreaded "C-word."
I spent days researching what I had on the Internet. And I was sure that I had some form of skin cancer. My time was up. I was sure of it. The Internet can be a disease in and of itself when it comes to this sort of thing, as we all know. Otherwise, it's the best thing since indoor plumbing (especially if you enjoy reading my blogs).
In any case, I continued to worry about my bump that seemed to have changed color from a pinkish to some red bits. I finally went to a dermatologist in Los Angeles just before July 4 when I was visiting a girlfriend and family, including my mother and my 101-year-old grandmother.
Getting a last-minute appointment before Independence Day weekend in Los Angeles with a dermatologist is about as easy as getting a date with Britney Spears. Come on. Everyone wants his or her latest cosmetic improvement to be shining come the Fourth of July. My girlfriend called a half-dozen dermatologists and they thought it was a prank call asking for an appointment the day before Independence Day.
A friend of my dear old mother pulled off the unthinkable. And she is only vaguely related to Britney and a slew of other voiceless celebrities in Los Angeles.
Anyways, I went and happily saw the dermatologist. She was very business like. "What seems to be the problem?" she asked, looking at my body for some sort of plastic work that had gone bad.
"It’s this bump on my forehead," I said, pointing to it.
She raised her eyebrows, and took a look closer. She also put on some magnifying eyeglasses that attached to her head like a diamond cutter or watchmaker wears.
I was ready for the worse. I was sure she would say that I was a goner. I thought that I might have to rush to the hospital and have it removed. All those great vintages in the future would never touch my lips. And what about all the great old bottles still to taste?
"Looks like an insect bite," she said.
I couldn’t believe it. That just couldn’t be possible. I mean, it wasn't botox or silicon gone bad. It was a bump on my forehead that hours of research on the Internet assured me meant I was a dead man.
"Looks like you had an allergic reaction to the bite," she said, and added that some cortisone cream should get rid of it sooner or later.
"Hold out your arm please," she said and proceeded to lightly scrape the under part of my left arm with her finger nails. "Let’s see what happens."
The tracks from her nails came up in a rash. She smiled.
I wasn’t all that happy. I don’t let anyone do stuff like that to my body. "What does that mean?" I asked intelligently.
"Your histamines are very high in your system. You really need to cut back on certain things in your diet. Don’t consume any of these for at least two weeks," she said and handed me a photocopied page with the heading "Histamine Releasing Foods."
"Avoid these foods/beverages" it read: Cheese, Chocolate, Red Wines, Strawberries and Shellfish. "Reduce these foods/beverages: Eggs, Tomatoes, Oranges, Citrus Fruits, Alcohol."
I nervously laughed out loud. "What am I supposed to eat and drink?" I asked. "I live in Italy. And what am I supposed to do about work? I am a wine taster."
"Well, you should cut out these foods," she said unsympathetically.
We spoke for a few minutes more and she prescribed the cortisone cream and some antihistamines. I thought about what it would be like to specialize in tasting white wines, or maybe I could become a beer taster or something? What does a wine taster do when he or she can’t taste wine anymore?
It was lunchtime. I contemplated my situation over a bowl of pasta with tomato sauce and a glass of Chianti Classico.
Steve Kirchner — July 14, 2009 1:54pm ET
David A Zajac — July 14, 2009 2:14pm ET
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Harvey Steiman — San Francisco, CA — July 14, 2009 4:45pm ET
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Matt Scott — Honolulu HI — July 14, 2009 10:22pm ET
Tony Wood — Brighton U.K. — July 15, 2009 4:31pm ET
Troy Peterson — Burbank, CA — July 16, 2009 12:41pm ET
Jamie Sherman — Sacramento — July 16, 2009 6:04pm ET
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