Posted by: Brenda Kula | October 25, 2008

Cool Morning Temps And Fiery Skin

The morning temperatures in East Texas have been quite cool. But that’s all that’s cool for me. I bought a $40 concoction at the pharmacy yesterday that the pharmacist said was the best cure for poison ivy on the market. I hesitated. Forty dollars for a tube. And it said it would treat 15 areas that were about hand-size. I now have it in various places on my arms, chest, stomach, hips and legs.

An older woman shopping next to me asked if this was my first time to get it. I said yes. She said, “You’d better spring for it.”

I made myself wait until my usual evening shower time to try it. I used most of the tube. Yes, it gave me relief for a few hours. But, alas, for severe cases, more than one treatment might be necessary, said the packaging. Alas, I must have a severe case of poison ivy. I wondered if karma looked back at my life, in the fervent way the IRS scans your financial records. And decided that I should be allotted my goodly share of poison ivy misery all at once, since I’d managed to go beyond the half century mark before it got me. Judge and jury in declarative judgment?

I was awake before 6 a.m. this Saturday morning with the insides of my arms scratched bloody. I dragged myself out of bed and went through the tube’s directions once again. They were very precise with their instructions. Squeeze out 1 and 1/2 inches of medication (measured by the drawing on the box) onto your palm. Rub with both hands for ten seconds to activate ingredients. Do not bypass any steps. Apply to hand-sized portion of wet skin, and rub on hand-sized area of body until itching stops. Then rinse. Okay, there went the remainder of that tube.

Nola of Alamo North said she wiped down all the surfaces she came into contact with the one time she had it. Obviously, it put quite a fear into her. Yesterday on the phone, she went through the litany of things she had done to make sure the plant’s oil wasn’t still on something. I am facing a specter of evil that is invisible, I’ve concluded. Now I’m in paranoia mode.

Which is truly saying something, as I’m somewhat of a “germaphobe” to start with. I went about the house last night suspiciously eying everything I could possibly have come into contact with last Sunday when I weeded the next door neighbor’s front yard and met up with my enemy. Tennis shoes: Hmm. I picked them up as daintily as possible, as though there was an Anthrax scare in my midst. I’ve worn them only a few months. I like them. They may go in a burn pile nevertheless.

Nola said don’t forget the door knobs. Here it was Friday night. The incident was Sunday. In my mind I went over how many times I had possibly touched the door knobs. Insanity loomed. I went about cleaning them. I don’t believe in Satan or a devil, but I believe there is a depiction somewhere with a photo of this hellacious plant noted. In my now crazed mind and ever-itching body, I have visions of the poisonous leaves laughing at me.

I go over that day again and again. Pulling the vines up by the roots that I assumed were blackberry vines. This area was once a berry farm before it was a residential area. And another neighbor had labeled it as such. I put everything I’d pulled up, weeds and vines, into plastic lawn bags. I was wearing gloves. So no signs yet on my hands. But I’ve washed those same gloves several times since. And what did I wash them with, I’m wondering? Recalling…oh yes, the first bag was far too heavy to carry to the alley, so I switched some of the contents to another bag. I filled them both to the top…

My nerves are worn gossamer-thin. I have laundered everything I can think of. Cleaned everything that could be remotely involved. My hands are stinging and dry from my efforts. I think I’ve aged since Sunday more than the normal six day span.

I am tired. I want to bark at anyone who looks at me the wrong way. Steer clear of me if you’re around these parts in the coming days. I can’t speak for the strength of my mental capacity at this point in time.

Oh, but obviously from the photos I’ve displayed, my gardens are as healthy and lush as the poison ivy next door on this last week of October.



  1. Ahhh Brenda you do crack me up and gave me my morning chuckle but I am truly so sorry your in such a pickle.You really got a good dose of it to be sure.You poor dear lady.
    Take care ok

  2. Brenda, I am so sorry you are going through this. I’ve not had a run in with poison ivy and J, who is allergic to some things, isn’t to poison ivy. A good thing, given his career choice!

    I always kept Calamine Lotion to use on the kiddos, when they were small and benadryl is another thing that might relieve some of the pain from itching.

    Hope the expensive remedy works and you are better soon!

    Wishing you better days next week!

  3. You might want to see a doctor, but in the meantime as I enjoy your blog and your sense of humor, I am sending loads of positive thoughts and itch-free energy your way.

  4. Brenda,
    I am so sorry you are suffering! My Dad and brothers are very allergic to poison ivy. They can spot it a mile away! I on the other hand, only have an inkling of how to identify it! I have only had a few very minor reactions to it-usually in an existing scratch! Have you tried an oral antihistamine. A trip to the doctor might also be a good idea!

  5. Calamine lotion, lots of it, and…Wipe EVERYTHING down with Clorox wipes, I mean EVERYTHING (your body, your tools, your doorknobs). Wash every piece of clothes, including shoes and gardening gloves. Heck, I washed the phone off with Clorox wipes after talking to you yesterday JUST IN CASE it travels via phone lines!
    Hope you are doing better today!

  6. I feel your pain. If only one could go back and undo the awful poison ivy. I hope the concoction works. At least lessen the pain.

  7. Poison ivy is such a SNEAKY plant! You can also take an “oatmeal” bath, Brenda, but I am not sure how that is done. I don’t know if there is a special bath concoction sold that has oatmeal in it or what. It’s been years since I’ve had it – when I was a child picking flowers for my mother in the woods!

    I feel for you! There’s almost nothing worse than an itch except pain!

    THank you for stopping by my blog! Looking at your lovely flowers and outside our windows are blowing leaves – both beautiful in their own way, aren’t they!

    It’s a lovely day here for staying inside, having a glass of wine and working on a quilt! đŸ™‚


  8. I can’t even imagine what you are going through you poor thing. I’ve never had a reaction to poison ivy before but my Dad was severly allergic to the point of not breathing. I wish you well & hope your dilemma gets better really soon. Your garden does look lovely.

  9. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Brenda. I’m glad I came over here to visit you, I’ll be back on a regular basis. I too am a rock fiend, have them in stacks and piles all over my house, out in my gardens. If you surfed my blog at all you probably came across some pictures of them.

    I am so sorry you got poison ivy, it is the most horrible feeling in the world and when you have a reaction to it you just want to tear your skin off. I went for years and never got it at all, except once from my dear cat who was hunting in a patch of it, then last summer had to weed a section out of my fence row. I got patches on my arms that were only the size of quarters and they nearly drove me mad. I can only imagine what you are going through. I have massage clients that are terribly allergic and when they get into it they go to the doctor and get a shot. It seems to really help.

    When I got it last it was because I forgot about my shovel handle. I didn’t even bother to try to clean my gloves, just threw them away. Now when I find it where the lovely birds have planted it for me, I pull the seedling up bare handed, carry it immediately to the trash, throw it away, and then go wash and wash. That way it is never on any tools or door handles or gloves, and since I have pulled it bare handed I don’t delay washing the urushiol off my hands. Make sure you use soap that cuts oils and wash and rinse more than once. Since I started this protocol I have not had another episode. (knocks on wood)

    Sadly, we will all be having more fun with poison ivy in the future, I am afraid. I went for years and never reacted, so I was shocked when I did. After I had dealt with it, I came across a study that indicates that poison ivy enjoys the elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and it grows bigger, faster, stronger, and more laden with its irritating oils. Just another reason to start getting serious about dealing with global warming.

  10. Brenda, I’m horribly allergic to poison ivy and if you have it bad, which it sounds like you do, you need to go to the doc or doc in the box and get some cortisone pills. They have a 7 day pac that is just what you need to nix the poison ivy. It will shut it down much faster than letting it run it’s course. Take care, xo, suzy

  11. Oh my dear Brenda, I have great sympathy for you. I hope you are feeling better today.
    When I saw Nola’s post today about the passion vine I thought instantly of you. I bet you have one, too. Your yard is so beautiful in the pictures that you post. Every time I see pretty flowers now I think of you.
    Well, Feel Better!
    Madam Zelda

  12. Oh that’s just terrible! I sure hope you feel better soon!

  13. I feel your pain…(-: I get poison oak which is the same sorta I guess(-: There is a soap you buy at the back packing stores and it cures the problem. My brother who is highly allergic swears by it. I don’t know the name but if you go to the store and ask they will probably know what it is. It comes in a green box. Thats all I can remember.(-:
    Other then that nothing really works unless you go to the ER and get a prednisone shot. Ouchieeeeee)-: I hope you feel better soon. I know how terrible that stuff is)-:

  14. Brenda,

    I was hoping by now your symptons were relaxing but I guess not.

    You probably should go to the doctor and I’m guessing he will give you a course of steroids that should get rid of it finally. I’m not really a doctor, I just play one on the internet.

    You haven’t lost your sense of humor about it, so that’s good, but I’m sure you are losing patience with the itching and scratching.

    No hugs (I don’t want to itch too),


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