Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Poison Ivy, Again

Looking back through the blog archives, I see that I chronicled the 2011 bout of poison ivy, and the 2012 one, but not the 2015 round that left my daughter and me with faces and eyes so puffy we eventually had to go to the doctor and get a prescription for steroids. We walked around with our faces blotched pink with calamine, and people shrank from us in horror in the grocery store. Here, a memory:

This looks a lot more photogenic than it actually was.
2017 brings its own case, though again with the same two protagonists. My 11yo and I were out trimming weedy branches off of the trees along the side of the driveway to make the property line look neater. The neighbors recently suffered a death in the family, and we wanted to clean up and do a bit of the yardwork they might not feel up to in the days of grief. And in the course of this good deed, as we were cutting down the brush and shoving it into big brown bags, I came across a dead vine with sprigs of three shriveled leaves. Immediately we backed away from the project, cast the vine (held by the shears) into a distant corner of the lawn where some hidden poison ivy still lurks, went inside, lathered up, and scrubbed hands, faces, shears, everything.

Too late. 

My poor 11yo has it on her face, though not as badly as in 2015. She had to powder over it for her dance recital on Saturday, a tender procedure as one of the properties of the poison ivy rash is to be very sensitive to even the slightest touch. My face is untouched, but I have a large patch of coarse, densely packed blisters on my left forearm, which puff and ooze and look generally scabrous. Poison ivy developing as it does, slighter patches are still erupting. I have a single large blister on my left palm which is almost pretty in its bubble-like perfection. Also, I have it on the backs of my ears. Why? How? Who knows?

The other day some child and I were watching an icky video featuring makeup jobs that approximated the great sicknesses of yesteryear: smallpox, bubonic plague, tuberculous, and something else that looked disgusting. We don't see many buboes or smallpox blisters these days, and cosmetics have gone a long way toward evening out the effects of various kinds of ugly scars. However, sometimes there's nothing for it but to go out of the house with a suppurating wound, and endure the looks. In the grand scheme of things, we have it pretty well. Our poison ivy will clear up and leave no trace, and the pain is not too bad. And now we have something minor but substantial to offer for our neighbors' true agony.


Maria J. said...

Try Zanfel. It worked for us in our hour(s?) of need in the domestic war against poison ivy. Feel better soon!

Susan Hagen said...

It's too late to help this time but if you work around poison ivy, keep some Tecnu on hand. It is a scrub, developed for the Forest Service and people who routinely work around the stuff. If you suspect you have contacted it you wash with it and cool water. I think it's petroleum based and it draws the resin out of your skin. If you use it before the rash erupts it will prevent it. If the rash has started but is not too raw it will relieve it. Once you're blistered and oozing it's too late.

Julia said...

I developed a vicious case of poison ivy while pregnant with #4, which spread across my belly and thighs. I thought I was gonna scratch that baby out! Finally, after having tried everything on the market (and sleeping with ice packs) I went to the dermatologist, who prescribed a steroid cream that left me wondering why I hadn't gone right away. 48 hours and life was possible again.

I hope you heal quickly!

Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin said...

I'm going to echo Maria with regards to Zanfel. Follow the directions, and it really helps.