Are You Game?

Wanna play botanist?  See if you can identify this:

Now, wanna play doctor?   Diagnose this:

Think you’ve got it?  How ’bout this?  

Okay.  Forget that last one.  That’s Grandson’s finger in front of the camera lens.

I could add plenty of pictures of even more manifestations,  but I’d be posting photos of places where the sun don’t shine.  You haven’t known itching until it’s been in areas you can’t scratch in polite company without blushing.

HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been seen.

It was pure coincidence that I broke out with this stuff a couple of days before my annual dermatology appointment, but at least it was convenient.  I had plenty of Show and Tell.  She pronounced it the worst case she’d seen all year.

Ahhh.  I’m No. 1 in something.

“It looks like you’ve been gardening in a bikini,” she told me.


This body would eat a bikini.  And I hadn’t been gardening either, but I knew what I had:  the dreaded “contact dermatitis.”

The doctor asked could she bring in an intern so that he could see it.  Since I have the rash in my ears, I wasn’t sure I heard right.


He was tall, distinguished and older than I expected… from India, I think.   He’d certainly have something to write the folks back home.  I dropped my gown down partway– enough to give him access to streaks of poison ivy (one, two, and three bands)  globs of poison ivy, and a still sprouting rash of poison ivy,  without having to bare all.  I was a walking poster girl of contact dermatitis.  He should be able to check that one off his list.

I have it coming and going.  Literally.

I insisted I had not been near any three-leaved plants.  She still diagnosed it as “poison ivy” but thinks I may have encountered poison sumac.  Sumac is common here–poison and otherwise– but I don’t know that I always recognize it (she said, stating the obvious.)

As underwear is out of the question, I’m wearing the only long, baggy, non-itchy dress I have here that doesn’t scream, “Look, she’s naked underneath!” The same dress–every day.  Got the picture?   Face and neck covered in blisters and blotches,  swollen-shut ears, and a ten-year-old “fat dress”  that goes down to my ankles.   No, I don’t stand out.

Did I mention that we’re at the beach?


13 thoughts on “Are You Game?

  1. Oh my dear. I am so so so so sorry! Did they give you anything stronger than an ointment? Steroid shots?

    Thank you for alerting us to the danger of this dreadful plant. I haven’t even known about it until your post. Since I can never tell what poison ivy really looks like, when I saw the picture, I was confused…

    I hope your suffering goes away soon. {{{hugs}}} (virtual hugs are ok, right?!)

  2. To be that miserable and at the beach- I feel terrible for you. I am hoping you got some good steroids and it all goes away FAST leaving you with some good steroid side effects. And don’t tell me you encountered that poison sumac from Mars while scattering the columbine seeds I sent you!

  3. Birdie

    Deepest sympathies, and there but for the grace of God go I.
    HOWEVER, careful readers will note that the grandsons are still around and therefore I can’t feel TOO sorry for someone who has constant entertainment.

  4. OH, I am so very sorry! I hope the Dr. gave you something that is helping! Colloidal oatmeal baths? Lots of Benadryl? Vicodin and Vodka? (no, never mind that last one *waving hands in the air*) I just hope they helped you to be a little more comfortable. What a miserable thing to have to endure. I’d hug ya, but I don’t want to make the itching worse! {air hug}

  5. Ack! I feel your pain (and itch.) I had poison oak all down both arms once from carrying bundles of the bare branches. I slept at night with packs of blue ice on my arms. It’s misery, that’s for sure.

    Be sure to wash the clothes really well that you were wearing when you contacted this stuff. The oils in the plant are the culprits. Why am I itching….?

  6. How awful! The first photograph looks frighteningly like shingles. But given the widespread nature of it, it’s surely not that. Whatever it is I hope it clears up right away. Jeez, and in this hot weather. Just stay inside where it matters not what you are wearing. Hop into that Aveeno Oatmeal bath or baking soda bath as often as possible.

  7. Awwww–sorry for youo.
    I have a poison ivy story that I intend to tell in my blog someday–it involves our son, and poison ivy in places no itch should go. Poor kid, he was miserable.
    And so, I do sympathize with you.
    Just keep saying–this too shall pass.

  8. Oh, you poor baby. Been there though not that bad. I really think an induced coma for a couple of weeks is the only true relief.
    I did discover on the internet a temporary cure to help sleep. This won’t work for your face but is great for the rest of the body.
    Run really hot water over the infected areas, slowly increasing the heat as much as you can stand. Warning, this gives a definate sexual sensation and some people have actually burned themselves by not stopping.
    It really, really does work and was the only thing that let me sleep.
    Of course, I still recommend the induced coma.

  9. Argh, poor you!! I’ve never had contact with poison ivy although it’s evidently growing on our farm. Hope your skin heals soon!

    My hubby has a high school friend who once did his “business” in the woods, then grabbed some leaves to wipe himself. Yep, they were poison ivy!!

  10. Oh, so you’re the funny looking person that stood right out at the beach?? hehe All kidding aside, POOR YOU!!! I’ve never been in contact with poison ivy or anything like that but I have heard how very miserable the rash is. Are you able to put calamine lotion on it? I also imagine it’s even more uncomfortable with the heat we’ve been having. I had to giggle at the thought of having to show your rash to that intern…it reminded me of when I was delivering my last baby, Corey…in comes an intern and as he looks down, my bladder gave out and I peed right after the baby came out…he looked up at me and said “oh”….can I say completely embarrassed?? lol I do hope you start to feeling better soon!!! xoxo

  11. Oh my — You have wonderful powers of description…almost too wonderful. I’m suddenly itchy, and think I have caught your condition via internet contact. Hope all is on the mend~

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