Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cold Sores

I've been holding in a rant like this for a long time but I've decided that I can't anymore. In the last week I've had one cold sore, it's gone away, and then another one has grown on another part of my lip.

For those of you who've never had a cold sore - and consider yourselves fucking lucky - not only are they ugly as hell, but they hurt, make you feel dirty and sick, and feel like you are lugging around something on your face that is the size of a truck tyre.

The worst part about them, for me I think, is not just that I could give them to my girlfriend if we're not super careful. It's not even that I feel super run down, unattractive and generally dirty by having one - I constantly wash my hands and am afraid to touch any exposed skin, on anyone. No, for me, the worst part was that I never had a chance without them. Ever.

I didn't have the luxury of it being my fault that I get them. It's not that I made some youthful mistake and now have to live with those consequences. At least then, though I'd hate it, that would be my bad. What upsets me, is that that wasn't the case. I've always had them.

When I was about one, my folks took me to a family gathering to see my grandmother in Israel. As we were leaving, a family friend - and we don't even know which one - kissed both my dad and I goodbye. The surprise being that she was carrying on her face one of these little bastards. The next day, mine and my dad's faces erupted in cold sores - on our lips, on our cheeks, inside our mouths - and from that day forth, we would get them every other month.

Thankfully, as I've gotten older, their occurrence is less and less, but they still happen. If I've had a week where I'm tired or just after I've gotten sick, my lip will swell with one of these time-eating, kiss-stealing bastards and I'll feel crap all over again.

The creams help, but everyone knows what's going on there. They can all see it. And they see it and they think of you covered in the fuckers like you're some dirty leper. They imagine them all over you, on your junk. I'm sure they imagine getting them just by looking at you.

It's especially difficult on a relationship because you don't realize how much you rely on kissing and how much it feeds your emotions until you can't do it anymore. It's actually depressing, disheartening and destructive. I know. I just went through it.

I once got four in a month. FOUR IN A MONTH. I bought some very expensive pills and some cream and they went away, but my mouth was sore for a while. My upper lip has a scar from where they keep coming back. And that's what sucks too, they always come back in the same places.

And you can never get rid of them. Sure, if you have type 2 herpes (the one most commonly on your junk) you can get the pills for cheaper on prescription and you can keep that under control - if you're smart. No such luck for type 1 people (the one most commonly on your lips), just creams, which turn them into gross scabs and then, likely, a small scar.

I can feel people staring at them when I have them. It's very uncomfortable. So, I guess what I'm saying is don't judge someone immediately because they have a cold sore. It doesn't mean they're dirty or they're gross or irresponsible. They could just have been shit out of luck.

Did you know that it's estimated that 1 in 6 Australians carry the herpes virus? Whether that's type 1, type 2 or from having had glandular fever - yup, that's a herpes virus! So yeah, it's pretty common. We're not freaks. It's just something unlucky that happened.


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