"Scratchity-scratch-scratch." – No. Bad Lissa.

The first spring I lived in North Carolina, I had the worst allergies I’ve ever had in my life. I normally suffer through sinus problems, asthma-esque symptoms, and occasionally hives on my scalp (there’s nothing quite like the feeling of scalp hives–it’s like a thousand bugs crawling through your hair). That spring, though, I went through all of the above plus another interesting one that I’m still not sure what to call. To show me how it worked, my doctor took a wooden pokey stick and drew it lightly down the inside of my forearm. Aside from the tickling sensation, nothing happened immediately. In about 20 seconds, however, a large, itchy, burning welt had raised along the precise line he pressed with the stick. Weird. That entire spring, my arms and legs welted anytime something even lightly scratched me. Even more oddly, I never had that reaction any other spring I lived in Charlotte.

It’s funny how one forgets the “advantages” of moving ever northward. This is until, of course, you’re sitting at work for the fifth night in a row (jeebus this was a long week), and realize your entire forearm is inflamed from where you had just scratched it vigorously. Oh, and is that why your back won’t stop itching? And why you feel like you’re about the claw through your pant leg to tear the flesh off your thighs? I love the warm, spring weather (it’s given me so much energy it’s scary), and yet I hate it.

During my eigth grade springtime fun, Allegra and other allergy medicines that are purportedly good for skin allergies didn’t help a fig. I may have to have a go at that again, though, because I refuse to suffer through the panic this causes in me (it’s such a creepy fucking reaction) and the incessant itching while I’m taking a maximum load of classes next term.

Oh, well. What’s a girl to do?

In other news, I just finished registering for an independent study with my current chemistry prof. She does environmental chemistry research, and although I’ll be spending most of this quarter catching up on the theory (particularly given that I’ll only just be learning electrochemistry next term), I can still do basic labwork and number-crunching for her, and the project sounds really, really interesting and has far-reaching implications, if she can find out what she’s trying to learn. I’m not even going to describe it, because I’m sure I’ll just butcher it and show my ign’ance. But I want to help, however I can. The only problem is, it requires a four-hour block of time, and the only time we both have open is Thursday. That means that on Thursdays I’ve got a six-hour block of class/lab, followed by the Thorn (and I will be the full News Editor, next term, although I have an assistant). I’m slightly less than thrilled about this, but she’s got lab on the two days I would have prefered, so c’est la vie, eh? And I really want to do this. If you can’t stand the pressure, get out of the cooker, I guess. Or is that heat and a skillet? Either way.

But I’m really excited, despite the hell that will be my Thursdays. Dr. M. is friendly and helpful, and I think we’ll work well together. And, of course, if I like it, I’ll just keep that course in my schedule next year and keep helping her out as I take more chemistry classes.

Oh, and here’s next term’s schedule. Yes, tables will break my layout, the ugly sons of bitches. Get a higher resolution.





















MONDAY   Intro to Database Systems Engineering Chemistry II   Calculus III Gender Issues        
TUESDAY   Intro to Database Systems     Calculus III Gender Issues        
WEDNESDAY   Intro to Database Systems Engineering Chemistry II   Calculus III   Chem. Lab  
THURSDAY   Intro to Database Systems     Calculus III Gender Issues Chem. Research
FRIDAY     Engineering Chemistry II   Calculus III Gender Issues        


  • Rackrent

    I’m sorry about the itch, Lissa. Hope some kind of medicine would help. Congrats on the chem research! [;)]

  • Hannah

    Hey, what’s Calculus III? Differential equations? And congrats on your research, yay research!!!

  • Jenny

    hey honey – could some of the problem be extremely dry skin? i know my legs especially get very dry in the winter time and get unbearably itchy. when i scratch them, i get this crazy red sore bumpy rash thing all over where i scratched. i’ve found that shaving every couple of days, not taking terribly hot showers or staying in for too long, and using avon’s moisture therapy hand cream all over helps a lot. maybe that will help a little – hope you find the answer soon.

    hugs, and enjoy your new schedule

  • Lissa

    Responses, responses…

    Hannah, Diff. Eq isn’t until next year (I have to take two terms of that). I’m not quite sure what Calc III is, but a friend confirmed that Lagrange equations are, in fact, in the curriculum. So Karsh wins. I am slightly suspicious of any math major that tells me I will have “fun” with anything in Calculus, though…

    Jenny, I’m pretty certain it’s not a dry skin problem, because it’s not helped by lotions, etc. My SA (who has been through so many allergy medicines it’s ridiculous) suggested that by irritating the skin by scratching it, I was allowing more of whatever I was allergic to in the air to get under my skin and cause a reaction. Or something to that effect, with some bio words like “proteins” and scary words like “pollen”. [:D] And hear, hear, on cool showers–in the spring they are a *must*, particularly when the scalp hives hit.

  • Hannah


    That’s weird. Here, they scrunch Calc into two semesters, but we covered Lagrange equations and since I was stupid and took the more theoretical math option, we did a whole lot of surface integration and such, but without any numbers. Ever. Then again I guess that I shouldn’t bitch–I haven’t had numbers in math in a long time.

    About your allergies–my sister has something similar, sans the head hives. But I think your SA (is that like RA?) is right–when you scratch, you’re literally tearing into various layers of skin at the microscopic layer,and exposing what I would imagine to be various less-protected layers of your upper dermis. Also, you know how when you scratch it’s a little “wet” feeling–I think that’s a little liquid from your skin, perhaps a cebacious oil, and I imagine that once allergens get into that, they have a good ol’ time fucking your skin up. My sister takes all kinds of medicine and the best thing we’ve ever found is just plain Benadryl. And NOT scratching. But really, there’s no such thing as relief for it until it quits on its own. Unless you get shots, I guess, but I wouldn’t want to do that…

  • Hannah

    Crap, PS

    I meant to tell you that the third math semester here is usually Differential Equations, which is only one semester here, and which I’m taking now since I tested out of the first level of Calculus. I suppose RHIT is a better math school?

  • Lissa


    Given the pace of the math courses conducted at both our schools, what they cover in three terms here (which is all the “basic” calculus offered–other Calculus courses with the name Calculus on them are 300 levels, methinks) is probably about the same as what you guys cover. And why did you take the theoretical stuff? Do you enjoy it?

    I doubt RHIT is *better* in math–first, I’m still not sure how “better” can be defined in a practical sense for a rather theoretical (or “not real”) thing like math–but math here tends to serve the purpose of producing engineers. There are few math majors here (and they’re even weirder than us CS folk, trust me), and they are the few and the brave. But there are plenty of scary higher-level math courses, which I plan to slide around, despite my CS major, and the supposed idea that we are math-heads. They can sit on that and twirl, because that’s just not something I think I want to focus on. But yay for chemistry fun. (I even got the environmental Chem book to read over break.)