I am allergic, as most people are, to poison ivy. When I was a kid, I used to get really severe cases of it every year. Fortunately I learned to recognize and avoid the plant. In recent years I’ve only gotten little dots of it from time to time. Usually when Tom has been in it and gotten some on his clothes.
But our new house had lots of the rash-causing plant around. Poison ivy likes to hang out in the space between woods and meadow or lawn. We have lots of trees at the back of the property with lots of ivy at the edges. The vine had also climbed up the trees that line the edge of our property and invaded some of the landscaped beds.
In August, my mom and dad came down to help with some yard work. Dad claimed he didn’t get poison ivy – at least he had never had it – so I put him in charge of getting it out of some of the trees. Dad wore protective gloves and long sleeves and washed carefully after he was done handling the poison ivy. He put all of the ivy in a garbage bag which we immediately placed in the trash container.
A few days later Dad started getting a rash on his wrists. His first case of poison ivy! I felt bad but it didn’t spread and he said it didn’t itch too much. I also had some on my wrists and legs, but it was just a spot here and there and didn’t bother me too much. I spent the next few weeks spraying every bit of poison ivy I could find with Round-Up.
But somehow, in all our yardwork, I encountered poison ivy again. I don’t know where or when but I got a rash that started at my wrists, went up my arms, and then spread to my waist and chest. The blisters were huge and painful. It didn’t itch – too inflamed for that. I put up with it for a week, hoping it would start going away, but every day it spread to a new area. When it started on my neck, I finally called the doctor. She gave me a prescription for prednisone and I started feeling better within days.
This was the most miserable bout of poison ivy I have had since I was young. Since this rash cleared up I’ve been even more careful about staying away from the nasty stuff. I examine each place I step for poison ivy and if I see any, I back away and call Tom. Somehow he can get rid of it without getting much of a rash.
I am hoping our yard is now devoid of poison ivy, but I will remain vigilant. That rash was enough to last me the rest of my life!