'Have you got some kind of skin disease?' The nurse in a German hospital had a voice like a buzz-saw and an attitude to match. My guess is that although the hospital was in Frankfurt, most of the law-makers in the Bundestag in Berlin some 600 kms away heard her. She was about to give me an injection and had just noticed the skin on my legs. At that time I had no idea what these peculiar round patches on my legs and thighs were so I couldn't give her an instant course in harmless skin conditions even if I'd wanted to, which I didn't.
Last Sunday while glancing through the Beauty page of The Sunday Times I came across an article entitled Back to Beauty School with the sub-title How to Get Smooth Skin (Page 18, Sunday Times Supplement from 20th September 2015). The first sentence grabbed me : The medical term is keratosis pilaris; the simple term is permanent goose bumps or back-of-the-arm spots. That's it! yelled my inner I-want-to-have-smooth-skin-on-my-legs Muse. There has to be a cure, a fool-proof remedy. There isn't, as it turns out. The only advice was not to scrub the area, to look for lactic acid in product ingredients and not to use soap bars. Two products were recommended but as I have not tried them - yet - I won't mention them here.
When you want a better answer what do you do? I turned to the fount of knowledge, i.e. Google. Again, I came up with a no-remedy result. Apparently lots of people, there was mention of that mysterious 30%, have this perfectly harmless condition. So join the club -is there a club somewhere out there in cyber darkness? The keratosis pilaris club?
That little episode got me thinking that we are always looking for quick fixes and very often not getting them. I had a bad head cold last week and the final stages of it are a ticklish cough which wakes me up at night. So I researched cough mixtures for dry coughs and found two (from the same manufacturer) which said on the packaging that they were a powerful and instant relief. One variety was the non-drowsy one and the other the won't-make-you-sleepy version. I chose the latter but as for the effectiveness, I can only say that it doesn't appear to have done much good and I'm on the third day of dosage. I had sort of expected that it would give "instant relief". No quick fix, then. As my mother used to say "nature must take its course". I'll buy that, at least as far as the common cold is concerned.
So, I've still got a cough (although it is improving with or without the aid of a cough mixture) and I've still got my keratosis pilaris. I'm getting the like that last name. Next time I'm stuck for conversation I'll find a way to bring it into the conversation.