Pustules, red and raw, peak out from under his dark, shiny skin and burst at the seams as they punctuate his upper extremities. Speckled in hues of white and pink, they dot his arms, stomach, neck. Anywhere he can reach. And he does. Day in and day out, for 3 months, he has been itching and scratching. Nails leaving evidence of their path over his aching body. It yearns to be itched. It squeals and squelches like a goat going to slaughter. Scratching is a mental game. It becomes the only option. With nothing to quell the craving, he gives in. He scrapes his hands over his sore, exposed vesicles as they burst and release their contents into the world.
We are out of Benadryl, the primary medicine that would stop his itching. Any alternative is out of stock as well. For now, this man will walk, cane in tow, back to his borrowed bed and pass out. Maybe he will dream of a day without exhaustion. Hopefully, we will return next Tuesday with more medications in tow.