Is There a Doctor in the House? (picture heavy; kinda gross)

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by LittleYellowOne, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. LittleYellowOne

    LittleYellowOne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Warning: This is ramble-filled.

    A few months ago (I can't remember how long it's been now), I began to notice unusual blisters developing on a few of my fingers. I showed them to my mother (yes I'm a 19 year old female who still lives at home), and she passed it off as poison ivy/oak/sumac, even though they didn't itch and I don't go outside. Deciding that they were more annoying than problematic, I put them in the back of my mind and went about my business. Every day it seemed I got more and more, till nearly every finger were covered in at least two of the strange blisters! What was so strange however, was that they only developed over the JOINTS (over, under, and on the sides of) on my fingers, but nowhere else in between. I brought this to my mother's attention again, and this time she blamed it on my 'tendency for the dramatic' and told me to let it go.

    The blistering continued, soon covering both of my elbows and a few of my toes. Finally I'd had enough and forced my mother to take me to the emergency room (I have no insurance). Once there I became quite the talk of the hospital! Different doctors, AND nurses came in, all asking me questions and guessing at what they thought it was. Once they realized they didn't know, they entered their database, and there I sat for over two hours while they tried to identify the non-itching (except when I get exceptionally warm), non-painful (except when the blistering make the skin tight) lesions. After nearly three hours a doctor came in and informed me that he had no idea what was wrong with me, but he didn't deem it life-threatening and told me that my 'rash' would clear up eventually, perhaps taking several months.

    My mother was furious and demanded that something be done, so the doctor wrote me a prescription, that /may not help/ but it /wouldn't hurt/ either; my mother was not convinced. We went to the Pharmacy only to be informed that the medication I'd been prescribed was for ACID-REFLUX, and in the pharmacists humble opinion, would do jack-squat. Resigned to accept my bumpy fate, I simply chose to wait it out as the doctor recommended, and after 3-4 months of waiting, this is what I've noticed.

    The blisters never completely fade away, I always have one or two at least on a few fingers or even my elbows. I have yet to see blistering as bad as my initial break-out, although the one I have right now rivals it slightly. I have scoured the internet and have yet to find blistering that resembles mine, or even a hint as to what may be the cause; I'd like to know in case I have to worry about it becoming something serious! Included are pictures of my inital breakout. You'll notice that the blisters are round, formed only over joints, and seem to be almost /pitted/ in the middle (that baffled the doctors).

    They do not itch, do not hurt (but they make my fingers stiff), seem to come and go without completely disappearing, and I don't think I have any other relevant symptoms.The doctors described them as /umbilical/ in nature, whatever that means...

    I was just hoping that one of my fellow BYCers could help me out here with my problem that's stumped doctors and the internet alike... Feel free to ask me anything you consider relevant; all help is appreciated!

  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Does arthritis run in your family?

    It looks like an autoimmune reaction.

    Arthritis is autoimmune and affects the joints.

    Lupus is autoimmune and affects the tissues.

    Fibromyalgia is autoimmune and affects the muscles.

    Reynauds syndrome is autoimmune and affects the extremities.

    I was recently diagnosed with autoimmune hives. I had those little bumps over different areas of my body.
    Some itched, some did not. Some burned others didn't.

    If it were just on ONE side of your body I would think herpes virus of some sort ( including shingles), but when you said both elbows and both feet that pretty much rules that out.

    The fact that it's just over your joints, makes me think it's an autoimmune reaction related to arthritis.
    My lil sis has arthritis and hers started out with small swellings over her joints that continued to get larger and then painful.

    I'm not a physician, but folks call me Dr. [​IMG][​IMG]

    Good luck in figuring it out.

    I'd try benedryl and ibuprophen at the next outbreak and see if that helps.
  3. gypsy2621

    gypsy2621 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2008
    New Hampshire
    I have not seen these types of blisters before .
    My best suggestion would be see a Dermatologist.
    Likely soon rather than later I would be afraid of infection setting in.
  4. LittleYellowOne

    LittleYellowOne Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm not entirely sure if arthritis runs in my family, and aren't a a little young for it anyway~? Plus I don't have any joint pain or discomfort, just these stupid blisters.

    And aren't all those things that the fine doctors at my local hospital would have thought of?

    I've tried everything I can think of. Ibuprofen, Benadryll, different creams and ointments; nothing helps.

    Unfortunately seeing a dermatologist is out of the question. I don't have insurance, and even if I did, I was informed at the hospital that it can take months to get in to see one...


    My mom is tired of hearing about it and thinks I'm just being dramatic... But I don't like having something that no one can identify!
  5. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I've known folks come down with arthritis as early as 13.

    Have you tried a good corticosteriod cream? That might help.... or a kenalog shot?
  6. gypsy2621

    gypsy2621 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2008
    New Hampshire
    I dont have insurance either , but that is not a good excuse.
    There are programs in place for such.
    contact someone within a Hospital about help with coverage.
    my biggest worry would be infection.

    children are born with Rhumatiod Artheritis, it can take years to appear or it an be evident at birth.
    Artheritis can strike at any age and with out warning.

    please check with your local hospital and ask forhelp with payments, they have programs for reduced or free medical help.
  7. lana

    lana Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 3, 2008
    Eureka, MO
    i was wondering if your blisters ever pop open and what color if any fluid comes out i had a friend that has a similar rash and it came from hay and certain weeds she had been in contact with while feeding our horses. it might also be gouty arthritis i've seen rare cases present that way while i was researching my own gout troubles. may even be a reaction to certain bug bites my father would always get chiggers and they would cause inflamation like that, but his would look more infected.

    good luck
  8. vickig

    vickig Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 26, 2008
    Start wearing gloves when you are feeding or touching your animals. Think hard about when this began...did you just get a new feed, a new animal, change any of your habits, soaps, creams.

    Bleach water made my hands very similar to that.

    Backtrack on your own to figure this out.

    I think it's allergy related.

    I never had respiratory/allergy problems until we moved here. Lots of oak and pine pollen, it took me a full year to figure it out :eek:

    Think, think, think.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2008
  9. JohnL11935

    JohnL11935 Chillin' With My Peeps

    After reading your narrative my first thought was Impetigo. This is a bacterial (predominantly staph) infection that is usually associated with blistering. It is treated with antibiotics and vigorous hygiene.

    Then I looked at the picture and felt the rash looked like regular ole poison sumac. A poison sumac rash can stay around for weeks, especially if you keep being reinfected with the oil remaining on any articles you frequently use. But, you don't have any of the other classic symptoms such as itching and burning and it seems to be localized to certain portions of your body.

    The doctor you saw in the ED is basically treating you for "contact dermatitis" which is a very broad term used to classify most common rash, reaction-type diseases of the skin.

    The drug you were prescribed is most likely Tagamet (cimetidine) (or something similar) which is almost always used for acid-reflux disease. However, though not commonly used for this effect, Tagamet also has anti-histamine properties. Anti-histamines are a first line treatment for most dermatitis. The beauty of using Tagamet is that is doesn't cause the drowsiness seen with most other antihistamine drugs, such as Benadryl. So, the ED doc didn't do you wrong.

    My advice is two-fold. First, please contact your local county Health Department and find out what you need to do to apply for Medicaid. There is no reason in the world for you to not have health insurance of some sort. At 19 you may still be eligible for Child Health Plus. Fill out the forms, send them in, and get covered. Better yet, have anyone else in your family not covered do the same thing. While on the phone with them see if they offer a free clinic. Make an appointment with them regardless of how long away it is, you can always cancel if you are better.

    Second, go to you local pharmacy and ask to speak with a pharmacist. Show them your rash and ask them to recommend a generic corticosteroid cream that may give you some relief. Buy the smallest tube available and use it per the instructions on the box.

    If the blisters persist you will need to make an appointment with a dermatologist. Find one that accepts Medicaid as payment in full or make some other arrangements for a payment schedule.

    Vickig (above) makes some very good points as well.

    Hope this helps.
  10. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    There is a name for this and it is treatable. For the life of me I can't think of the name. It is also more common in females. I develop it every time I get pg.

    It is not a rash. It is blisters. Until you can see a doctor you can treat the itch and burn with cortizone cream from the pharmacy.

    You will need to go see a dematologist.

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