I seriously don’t remember the last time I got poison ivy, but I know I’ve had it at least once before. Elementary school? Who knows. At any rate, I certainly didn’t expect to get it in my own backyard.
It was about a month ago, before Connor started pulling up to standing and attempting to walk. Used to be that we’d rarely go out in our backyard, thanks to the annoying dog next door who barks at everything and everyone — even us. This particular evening, though, I decided, “To hell with the neighbor dog! We’re going outside to enjoy the weather!”
So we did. I brought a big green blanket outside and spread it on the ground, plopped Connor down on it, then plopped myself down next to him. Of course, Connor made a break for the open grass, and I was fine with that. He played with weeds and sticks and leaves and whatever else he could find, and I took pictures.
After a while, Connor got bored and made for the bushes. I wasn’t keen on him getting into the years-old mulch under the arborvitaes, or getting stuck back by the chain link fence behind the trees where I couldn’t reach him, so I followed him and scooped him up and called an end to Outside Playtime.
I didn’t realize at the time that I’d stuck my right arm through this:
Fast forward to the next morning at work, when I found myself scratching at a mild rash on my right wrist. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized what must have happened, and by then, I assumed it was too late to do much of anything but ride it out. I know now that there are other options, like steroid shots and over-the-counter topical washes and lotions — but at the time, I figured I’d just see how bad it got.
First, it cropped up on my right wrist and right shoulder, since that’s what had actually touched the ivy as I reached through it to grab Connor. Then, since I hadn’t realized at the time, I managed to spread it to my chest and my other arm and my right knee. But it kept going (I’m assuming it’s because I didn’t change the bedsheets that night or the night after), and I got little spots on my torso, as well.
The itching was fierce. Aaron suggested I take the antihistamine he had on hand for his seasonal allergies — that was a major lifesaver. Eventually, Aaron insisted on getting me something topical to put on my rash, and he picked up some Ivarest lotion. It did help, but by then the damage had been done. The rash on my wrist was oozing and disgusting, so I covered it with a giant bandaid — until it got too large to cover, after which point I just started wearing long sleeves to work in the middle of summer. The rash on my chest was red and nasty-looking, as well, so I wore blouses with rather high necklines — also not a normal summer fashion trend for me.
It took three weeks for my rashes to completely clear up, and I still have pinkish spots in places — hopefully it’s just new skin, and not actual scarring.
So, how is it that we hadn’t noticed until now that we have poison ivy growing in the backyard?
Truth is, we had.
When we had our tree trimmed a couple years ago, the tech mentioned to Aaron that a particular vine growing up our tree was poison ivy. Since we rarely used the backyard, and hadn’t planned to have any kids, and since Aaron is one of the few percent of the population who isn’t allergic to poison ivy, we took little heed.
After the fact, Aaron sprayed all the ivy and other weeds with extra-strength weed killer, and that seems to be taking care of the problem… for now. As for me, I started playing with Connor exclusively in the front yard, and changed the plans for Connor’s birthday party to be indoors, just in case someone were to find some poison ivy that’s not quite dead.
Poison Ivy – 1, Diana – 0.