I can say with some amount of certainty based on years of life experience that I am a sound sleeper. When I’m ready for sleep, I sleep well, with the exception of ticking watches, rogue hamsters, and urban roosters.
So, when I tell you that last Sunday I awoke from a dead sleep at 2:41 a.m. because my hands were itching, you have to understand that they were really itching.
To put it in perspective, last summer a dozen of our friends attended a wedding just outside St. Louis, and we spent the night in revelry on the banks of the Mississippi, and when we returned to Philadelphia we discovered that our feet were covered with angry red bits, up to the ankle.
We never discovered what the source of the bites was, but I had 103 of them, and the heat from the itching was bad enough that I took my shoes off while riding the Broad Street Subway.
Contemplate that for a minute. And then understand when I tell you that the itching that awoke me was worse. Much, much worse.
Actually, strike my last, it wasn’t even the itching that awoke me. It was the scratching. I was scratching my hands in my sleep. That’s how bad the itching was.
The worst part about it was that there was no discernible source – not bumps, scratches, or rashes to hint at my malady. I tried a dab of aloe on one hand and an Afterbite stick on the other, to no avail.
I tried to be rational and methodical. I made a list of foods I had eaten that day. I walked downstairs to check that we were using our normal laundry detergent. I pulled the pillows off of the bed and examined them closely. I checked my head for lice.
I visited Web M.D., but after extensively listing my symptoms the best it could suggest was an allergic reaction (or a drug addiction).
The day before Gina and I had wandered through the city for our first photo shoot as a band, taking pictures in front of abandoned shop fronts and dessicated alleyways. Had I got a splinter from one of the boarded up windows? Had I brushed against an urban sprout of poison oak?
The itching hadn’t resolved an hour later, at which point I was soaking my hands in ice water to take the edge off. At this point I sent an urgent email to Gina and Lindsay to see if they were experiencing the same symptoms, as well a very curious email to my boss which concluded:
This is much later than I’ve ever taken Benadryl on a work night, so there is a distinct chance I will be late in the morning due to my resulting stupor.