Haole Rot

Long have I suffered. For years I thought the minor lesions on my arms were remnants of the good old days in the caustic soda operations unit at Dow Chemical’s Pittsburg plant. I repaired the pumps and maintained the network of pipes that moved the hot product out of the huge cauldrons where it boiled away at over 700 degrees fahrenheit. Boiling sodium hydroxide condenses and falls like caustic snow. The operator bathes his exposed skin from time to time in a reasonably strong wash of hydrochloric acid in order to neutralize the product that’s clinging to his sweaty arms and burning holes in his flesh.

But a few years ago Ann, the dermatologist, told me it was a mild form of cancer. She gave me a tube of some hideously expensive ointment and asked me to rub my lesions away. The stuff made me so irritable – grouchy – that I could only finish one treatment. The second tube has lain dormant in my medicine chest, but a few of the cancerous spots have gotten bigger over time so I took out the medicine and smeared it on and – presto change-o! Grouchy again. I have an appointment for Ann to take a look at my skin on Monday. Hopefully she has a chemical that doesn’t produce the side effects.

Posted in The Proprietor
2 comments on “Haole Rot
  1. Curt says:

    We manufacture a line of absolutely chemical-free, all-natural soaps. Our Island Rx is very therapeutic, with anti-fungal properties. One of our early users reports that her ‘haole rot’ was cleared up after a couple of months of use – and she’d had the rot for years.

  2. Michele says:

    When I was a student at University of Hawaii, I got it pretty bad as well. The doctor I saw out there had me use Selsun Blue Dandruff Shampoo to kill the fungus. I put it on my skin and let it dry – about 20 minutes (it itched!!) and then washed it off. I did this three nights in a row and then used the shampoo until it was gone. It killed the fungus and the spots faded as I tanned over them.

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