Columns

2007.12.19 Pockmarked in Montreal

on . Posted in By The Way

indentation and italics


By DAVID GREEN

My father was the first one to ask me about my trip to Montréal, but he wasn’t the first one who wondered about it.

The truth is, I haven’t been to Montréal since about 1984, however, I have missed indentations lately.

A couple weeks ago I wrote about dirt and part of that column referred to a Canadian woman who had recently visited Montréal. This is what she said, but without the proper indentations, it looked as though I was the one who went traveling:

Now, I actually checked into a hotel room on a smoking floor by mistake last week in Montréal, and I thought it was the worst thing ever. But 20 years ago, I wouldn't have even noticed it.

There are a lot of ways to make mistakes in this business and I generally find a few of those ways each week.

So how was my trip to Montréal? It was great. We took the train from Windsor and stayed with my friend, Kay Johnson. This isn’t KJ the Morenci school administrator and coach; this is KJ the Iowa farm girl who moved to Montréal around 1975 and never came back. She obviously likes the city. Very much.

On that trip, Ben was a cute little two-year-old boy with a very bad skin rash. An odd ailment. The interesting thing about it is how it changed the way he was perceived. Something as simple as...whatever the disease was...turned him into a very unattractive kid.

I think of that now as I put up with what I think is rosacea (roh-ZAY-sha). I get these little pimply things that give me the teenage look. A dermatologist’s assistant told me I had infected hair follicles, but could offer no explanation. But for about 200 bucks a month, I could get rid of the condition.

I decided the teenage face might make me look younger, like a two-year-old with an odd virus.

I mentioned the problem to Dr. Shetty here in town and he immediately said it was rosacea. Of course there are worse afflictions than mysterious, little-understood ailments without a cure, but that seems to summarize rosacea fairly well.

It’s such a wide-ranging, unspecific disease that I’m not even sure I have it, but there are an estimated 14 million rosaic Americans, so there’s a good chance I’m one of them.

I know you’ve seen people with rosacea. They typically have a reddish flush on the cheeks, like Rembrandt and Diana, Princess of Wales. I don’t have that.

Others are characterized by a red, bulbous nose. Bill Clinton has rosacea, but I don’t have his nose.

Some people get dry, irritated eyes from rosacea, but not me. There are many other symptoms of which I have none.

The closest I come to is Papulopustular rosacea, red bumps (papules) with some pus filled (pustules), typically lasting one to four days and easily confused with acne. The teenage look.

Now is when the fun begins: Finding the “triggers” that set it off.

Here are the most common triggers: sun exposure, emotional stress, hot weather, wind, heavy exercise, alcohol consumption, hot baths, cold weather, humidity, indoor heat.…

Did you notice that? Both hot weather and cold weather. Sitting around in a bathtub or exercising. Wet air or dry air. Rosacea is one of those mysteries that seem to be caused by most everything.

A few years ago when I had this stuff going on pretty strongly, I looked through the list and tried to find something that applied. Finally, it came to me.

Thirty-six percent of the afflicted ones mention hot beverages as a trigger. I had started drinking green tea in the morning a few years ago, so I wondered if that might be my trigger. I tried filling my cup only half full and then adding cold water when it was done. Tepid tea instead of hot tea and the pustules went away. Coincidence? I tried hot again and the bumps came back.

That was good for a while, but eventually it seemed as though something else was the cause, so the search continues.

Is it wheat? Is it dairy products? Is it sugary desserts? Cookies will always set it off.

One of the things I remember most about Montréal is the great food. I think this might be an excellent location to test out some triggers. Over and over again.

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