Posted by: Brenda Kula | October 26, 2008

Cruel Mama

Walking around outside looking at plants distracts me from the seemingly ceaseless itching that seems to have consumed me. I try and remember what it was like before I was this mass of angry, red blisters turned into leather patches. I swear it’s spreading. It’s been a week now since I was exposed.

Someone, give me some kind of timeline here. A consolation prize of some sort. Tell me I will someday look back on this and laugh.

I’m taking 10 mg. of Prednisone per day that I had left over from the bronchitis that lasted months. Robert is doing the best he can using very low odor paint while working on my house. I’m grateful for that.

Remember the Psycho scream behind the shower curtain? I may go into the garage and practice it. Just for the hell of it.

I know it wasn’t the thing I probably should have resorted to. But in the wee hours of the morning I sleepily dabbed rubbing alcohol into the redness, trying to get relief. Then this morning when I showered I made a paste of Aveeno and rubbed it into the afflicted areas of my body.

I have often gotten a good laugh at Aunt Debbi over at Aunt Debbi’s Garden. When she’s tearing her hair out over one of her boy “monkeys” (as she fondly refers to them) getting into mischief. At times she’s written at the bottom of a post, “Help me. Someone please help me.”I chuckle over her finding a dirty boy sock at the top of the ceiling fan. Or some other little escapade only a young boy can think up.

Now I know how she feels. I think I know the depth of her desperation. My only “monkeys” now are of the four-legged variety. But there’s a red, itching one crawling scarily close to my groin area. Oh-my-God…

Poison ivy??? Poison oak??? I don’t even know the name of this ruthless monster. But he looks like this…

Imagine this unrelenting creature underneath your breasts. Crawling down your body, across your hips and down your legs. Taunting you.

I console myself by strolling around outside, looking at pretty things. Imagining my house transformed from the flooded miasma it was months ago due to a plumbing disaster to a real home again. We are almost there. I am no longer embarrassed for a neighbor to walk in the door.

Oh heavens, there are far worse things. I keep reminding myself of all the people I know who are in some form of suffering, or at the end of their lives. And I know this is nothing.

A mere bump in the proverbial road.

Nola said she fears it so that after talking to me on the phone she wipes it clean with disinfectant. I don’t think it has the power to transcend phone lines. But then, a week ago I couldn’t have seen myself wandering the house looking minutely at every possible surface that could be transferring this rash and transporting me into this hellish itching mess either.

Last night I took the dogs into my new big shower with me and scrubbed them down with prescription shampoo I had in the cabinet for them. Just in case they were transferring it back to me somehow from my holding them. They slunk about the shower floor as though they were being mercilessly punished for a deed they could not remember. Trying to escape mama’s shampooing them and hosing them back off. When I toweled them off and set them free they ran about the house like yapping heathens. Nipping at one another, barking, running with abandon.

Cruel mama.

A mama that today is wearing a thin house dress and flip flops I found at the back of the closet that I KNOW were not touched by me in the past week and somehow affected. Who will not let any other clothing touch her body today. And who is still pondering that horrendous scream in the darkness of the garage. Wondering if it might have healing properties I have not otherwise considered yet.



  1. Oh poor Brenda. I know very well how awful and annoying that feeling is. I had one years ago (surprisingly while rooting out the ivy galore in my garden), the only thing that truly did work for me was some homemade Aloe gel I got in Greece for sunburns and allergies. I had a crazy fit of prickly heat this summer, my legs and belly were on fire from all the itching and it made me so nervy and bitchy I practiced the ‘shower curtain scene’ on anyone who gave me the wrong look. Hope you get well soon. Fingers crossed!

  2. Brenda,
    Oh, I hope it goes away soon!

  3. Poor Brenda, A little old lady who belongs to my mom’s quilting club gave us this little homemade remedy. Put a tablespoon of vicks vapor rub and an asprin into a small bottle of alcohol and shake it up. Gently rub it on when the itching gets unbearable. It helps me keep from scratching and seemed to dry it up a little faster. Tecnu soap works great, but you have to wash with it before the rash starts. I hope you feel better soon.

  4. Yep, it’s pretty bad looking. But that’s the worst part, it should start clearing up soon. I never heard of the vicks and aspirin, it’s worth a try.

  5. Hi Brenda…that almost looks like an allergic reaction to something…I say that, because it almost looks like what’s on my stomach from the stitches! And hell ya, it itches. THe doctor has me on a cream that controls the most of it, but I have to be on it about a week before it actually starts to go away. AND the creme makes the itching WORSE. I cried and screamed the other night out of desperation, too! I feel your pain…I really do. 😦

    *hugs to you*

  6. Have you tried taking some Benedryl? If it doesn’t help the itching, it might at least make you sleepy enough to take a nap.

  7. OMG Brenda I wish there was something I could. You sound miserable. Can I get it from reading you post? LOL!! I am washing my hand though!!

    Thanks for stopping bye, I’m glad you liked the Elk. They were so much fun to watch.

  8. Yikes that looks so itchy I feel for you…..
    Try Benadryl my daughter has many allergies and she occasionally will need this stuff, liquid would be better its faster in your blood stream, and the bonus is you get a nap out of it!!
    You poor girl I am so sorry for you.

  9. Oh, it makes me itch just looking at your arm. I’ve never had that but if I were you I’d go to the doctor. Surely there’s help out there!

    I also like Tina’s idea…maybe some Benadryl will help you sleep through it. Can’t believe I just said that but you sound very miserable.

  10. I wish there were some advice I could give you to ease your torture at the moment. Benadryl is a good idea, but may not mix well with the predisone. 😦

  11. I am so sorry–I can only imagine how bad that must be. Wish I had a remedy. I thought Prednisone would be the cure. I used something called RuliCream with my boys (daughter never got it!) It was cool and soothing, but had to be reapplied often.
    Good luck–hope it get better soon!!

  12. oh Brenda! goodness! I am so sorry for you, I cannot imagine the pain you must be in, it looks so raw. I have an aloe vera plant in my garden and I’ve used the gel from that on lots of things, I don’t know if you can get one of those or some gel from the pharmacy. What about calamine lotion, soothing too…can’t think of anything else, I suppose you would have tried everything anyway, sheesh that is so bad…

    I just have to say that I love the cover on that chair, gorgeous

    I really hope it goes soon, like how long does this monster last??


  13. oh you poor thing Brenda! It was very smart of you to bathe the dogs. If they got into poison ivy they wouldn’t have a reaction but could certainly have spread it to you. They look so nice and shiny! Your photos are beautiful, and I’m glad enjoying your garden brings some comfort and distraction.

    I’ve never had poison ivy, but we got eaten alive by itch mites last summer. DH ended up with one of the bites getting abscessed and he got very sick. He was off work for three weeks. It was awful, and involved doctors and the emergency room, lancing and antibiotics. Even the non-infected bites itched for a couple of weeks, and we were covered with them all over our bodies. They got inside our clothes and we had bites in the most awful places where it’s not ‘polite’ to scratch! My husband counted over 20 of them on my upper back alone as he was slathering me with benadryl ointment. There were times I thought I was going to lose my mind from the itching. I can somewhat relate to what you must be going through, and you have my complete empathy.

    Maybe a doctor visit is in order? I sure hope you are on the mend soon!

  14. Oh my goodness! I’ve never had poison ivy either. I don’t even know what it looks like. I do hope you overcome it, and SOON! xoJill

  15. Girl…. you need to RUN… not walk to the doctor…… a week is too long… my brother is so allergic he can just walk past and never touch it and be covered in it ….. it is BAD…. stuff….
    Poor thing…. I don’t blame you scrub those puppies…..
    Go…Go…. to the doctor

  16. Brenda, you need to see the doctor. It will only get worse before it gets better. Soon it will blister and they will ooze. Sounds disgusting and it is, but mostly it’s just miserable. The doctor can give you the correct prednisone dose for it and also give you cream. I had it earlier this year on one arm and it was so bad the doctor prescribed sleeping pills for me! I didn’t take those, but I took all the other drugs he gave me and they do help. xo, suzy

  17. ouch! Ouch! OUCH! I sympathize with you. Been there done that. Very painful. I hope it gets well soonest. P.S. Alcohol kind of helped me. At least it seemed it dried up pretty good-but OUCH!

  18. Ouch!
    I know my sister gets this if anything in growing within a 100 yards of her, she doesn’t even have to touch it.
    I suggest a benadryl induced coma and seeking medical attention. Now! Run…don’t walk.
    Get some relief, woman.

    On a different note, don’t you just love the feel of a freshly shampooed dog. My girls are so fluffy and soft after they are bathed. And yes, they run around like idiots until they are dry. One rubs her back against the front of the couch until she feel dry again. Weird dog.

    On still another note, I love your tribute to Stonehenge…the stacked rock statue. Great picture.

    Yes… I am trying to distract you.
    Cause I know you hurt….and I feel bad for you.

  19. Brenda, I know what you’re going through. I’m allergic to mayfly bites and they bite me all around my head and swell to horrible proportions that hurt like heck, as well as itch. When the fluids start to drain, they drain down into my face and my features are swollen for a couple of weeks. I can’t work in the garden in May anymore.

    I hope you’re feeling better soon. It sounds like you’re doing all the right things.


  20. You poor thing! I’m sure you have already gotten tons of advice, but here is my two cents anyway. My two boys get poison ivy EVERY SINGLE SUMMER. Never fails. We use Zanfel on them and it seems to work wonders. Clears it up and makes the itching go away fast. Hope you get better soon!

  21. Brenda, I’d no idea you’ve been suffering from this terrible reaction. After you deal with the itch, I hope you have access to some aloe vera to help your skin heal. The dogs seem most sympathetic, even if they had to get baths.

  22. Oh Brenda,

    I was hoping your poison ivy would be going away by now.

    Since I’m an almost daily user of prednisone let me give you a few of the good aspects.

    1. You won’t need Botox cause your face gets puffy.
    2. It keeps you from sleeping so you can blog freely 24 hours a day.
    3. It increases you appetite so you don’t need to worry about keeping leftovers.

    See, there is always good in everything. LOL


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