This past week was Bob's vacation week and instead of having a great holiday or getting anything done I have been just miserable!
We were at our cottage about three weeks ago when Bob cleaned out a small patch of poison ivy from the trail and wound up with a horrible rash up and down his arms. It is not like we have never been exposed to poison ivy before -- that's why we make the effort to eradicate it when a patch pops up. It has to be 10 years since we had any real problems. Horrible itching, rawness, oozing... yup we avoid it. Poison Ivy produces urushiol, an oily resin that it happily spreads on to your skin, shoes, clothes, boots, and tools. The oil does not degrade rapidly and can lay dormant for years on objects. Quick washing with strong detergent can help break down the oil and prevent reactions, but you have to realize that you have been exposed. Some people, like Bob and me, have an allergic reaction to that oil. It is not even safe to burn the dead leaves because the smoke can affect the lungs of susceptible people.
Maybe I walked through it too and got it on my clothes, maybe Bob got it on our sheets. A week and a half ago I had a touch of rash on my side, and within a day had a massive reaction. Half my torso was covered with some of the typical blisters but mainly a hot raised inflamed area. The topical creams did nothing. I wound up with it spreading rapidly further and further every day.
My right and left sides do not have the same sense of feeling. My left side was numb after I had the brain injury, but gradually it started to feel similar to when the freezing comes out after a dentist visit. Lately it has been even better with mainly a kind of duller sensation on the one side with fewer pins and needles kind of areas. My left side has had LOTS of sensation this past week but not itching or even burning like it should be, instead I have had .... serious excruciating pain as the sensation my brain was reading. I felt a lot like I had heat stroke with a fever, and nausea. My ever-present nausea was completely out of control and I was vomiting with the pain.
I spent a lot of time crying and standing or sitting upright near a fan because there were no sides of my body left that I could comfortably lie down on. My birthday was in the past week and dinner out was challenging. Hugs from the grandchildren hurt. I even had to go buy some clothes that were extra loose and not touching too many of the painful spots.
I saw my doctor on Monday and got put on:
- Lots of Benadryl ( He said was probably a good thing that it knocks me out so I could get some sleep- don't drive or operate equipment)
- A extra heavy duty strength cortisone cream
- Calamine lotion to cover the cortisone cream and try to sooth the skin
I had to go back in five days because he was concerned I might have in infection or something else going on. Adults are not supposed to scream in pain with poison ivy-- it is supposed to itch miserably.
Things were better by my Friday doctor appointment and I got sent home with a prescription for more of the topical creams and my regular medications. I am on the mend with only a couple of minor newer spots in the past day.
We are going to the lake again this weekend. I am taking new sheets and we will be soaping anything down that Bob or I may have touched. We will be bringing home anything I can throw in the washing machine.... just in case.
I really do love being at the lake.