Rosie, you’re all right, you wear my ring

When you hold me tight, Rosie, that’s my thing

When you turn out the light I got to hand it to me

Looks like it’s me and you again tonight, Rosie.


Jackson Browne


This growing older thing is getting old. I mean, I can take the slowed down metabolism, the crow’s feet around my eyes and even the graying hair but in the last year or so I’ve had a bunch of aging firsts. My first Bartholin’s abscess (Clammed Up). My first visit to the audiologist (Moderate Hearing Loss Sucks). And, the one that really makes me feel old, my first teenager (A Glass of Ice Water).

And now another first. A few months ago, in the cold, cold South Florida winter, I noticed that my nose was frequently getting red. Red and warm. And I wasn’t the only one who noticed. My kids were alternating between calling me clown nose and Rudolph. I’m not particularly vain. But I do like to feel good about how I look. And your face is usually the first thing people look at. Unless you have large breasts and wear a low cut blouse.

I happen to be of Lithuanian heritage and I happen to have what you might call a strong nose. It has a nice little bump on the bridge and is of a good size. Not a hook nose, just substantial. So that’s a lot of redness in the middle of one’s face. Plus my nose is a little crooked from the time my daughter and I were roughhousing on her bed and the back of her skull fell, from two feet up, right smack dab on the top of my nose. Blood and tears were both shed and now my nose curves to the right. And oh yeah, I also have a deviated septum.

So my poor, big nose had enough issues and I wanted to get rid of the redness. I made an appointment with the dermatologist and it didn’t take her very long to make her diagnosis: rosacea. Not life threatening but annoying. The Mayo Clinic web site defines rosacea as a “chronic, inflammatory skin condition”. Okay, I can deal with that. But the site goes on to say that if the condition is left untreated it will get progressively worse. Not good. But the doctor did explain to me that the redness is caused by my body trying to regulate the temperature of my nose. When my nose gets hot, from one of many potential triggers (discussed below), the blood vessels on the nose try to cool it down by dilating. Dilation lets more blood flow through and more blood equals redness. This is my layperson’s explanation. (You can go to the National Rosacea Society’s web site for more helpful information.)

The doctor said that, so far, my case was mild and could be treated with some topical medications: an anti-inflammatory prescription ointment with antioxidants called Finacea and a serum containing a high concentration of Vitamin C called iS Clinical Super Serum Advance+.

And there was a third product she said to use which would have a temporary effect (4-6 hours) on the redness. Visine. I must have looked dumbfounded because she repeated herself. Then she explained that using Visine for this purpose has not yet been approved by the FDA but clinically it has been shown to work without side effects. Visine, when used as directed, makes the dilated blood vessels in your eyes constrict and “gets the red out”. I’ve used Visine before. I was in college 20 years ago. So I clearly understand the process. And figured I would try that too.

But most important she said was learning what “triggers” caused my rosacea to flare up. There is a huge list of potential triggers but these are just a few:
  • Hot weather, cold weather, humid weather, sunlight. Hmm, I live in Florida where it is hot and humid the majority of the year and where there is ample sunlight.
  • Also, spicy foods, hot temperature drinks, alcohol. Okay, well I love spicy food, I need my coffee in the morning and my decaf hot tea in the afternoon. And I’ve been known to enjoy a glass of wine or a martini from time to time.
Well, I’m not going to move because unfortunately I also have Raynaud’s, a circulatory disorder that causes the blood vessels in my extremities to constrict when exposed to the cold, even in the big refrigerated walk-in cooler at Costco. And I love where I live. But I guess controlling my intake of spicy food, hot food and alcohol could be done. I’m going to have to figure out which of these triggers causes rosacea flare-ups for me by doing a little trial and error, which could be fun.

And I’ve started on the medicine using the samples that she gave me. Unfortunately, the prescription ointment, Finacea, is going to cost me $125.00 per tube and that’s with my insurance. And the iS Clinical Super Serum Advance+ is $120.00 for a one ounce bottle. That’s a high price to pay to not look like a clown. I could just join the circus. But on the bright side, the CVS equivalent of Visine only costs $5.00. I think I’ll use up the samples and see what happens when I go back in six weeks for a checkup.

My only problem now is that, ever since my dermatologist appointment a few days ago, I can’t get Jackson Browne’s song “Rosie” out of my head. It’s not that I think he wrote the song about rosacea, it’s just that the song is catchy. And everyone, at least in my generation, knows what the song is really about. Same as Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself”. Thankfully, I’m heading out to a music festival tonight. One of the bands playing is REO Speedwagon. (Yes, they are still alive.) Maybe “Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore” will take the place of “Rosie” in my brain. I hope so because I’m getting a little tired of thinking about masturbation all day.