On Saturday, I spent some quality time in the flowerbeds, pulling Maypop passion flower vines that I’d previously sprayed with herbicide. Of course, I missed a few vines with the herbicide, so I had a few live ones to detangle from the perennials. I figured, it’s Fall. The Maypops probably won’t gain much more ground this year, so I’ll just pull up what I didn’t manage to spray and I’ll plan to spray again next Spring.
One of the perennials that the surviving Maypops chose to climb up was another vine: trumpet creeper.
I’d never heard of this plant until I asked the #lazyweb to help me identify it earlier this year. It has roots that go on forever and just won’t die, and supposedly sports pretty trumpet-shaped flowers that hummingbirds and various pollinators love. Mine hasn’t bloomed in the two summers I’ve lived here, despite being in full sun.
Trumpet creeper has been known to cause a similar skin reaction as poison ivy and its ilk, and sure enough, I’m one of those who reacts to it. Back when I mulched the front fence and tried to dig up a good portion of the vine, I got some of the oils on my arm and developed a bit of a rash. Not bad, just a few bumps, but enough to annoy.
This time, it got me good.
I knew it at the time, too. I was bending down, tugging at the Maypop, trying hard not to touch the trumpet creeper any more than I had to — and the Maypop let go and the trumpet creeper whacked me upside the head. After I was done gardening for the afternoon and I went inside to wash my hands, I didn’t think to wash my face, too. That was my big mistake.
I didn’t even notice a reaction until a good three days after exposure. Yesterday, I started getting a little itch on my cheekbone, and I found a small bump. Once it started oozing like a poison ivy rash, though, I knew the creeper had gotten me. Since it wasn’t so bad last time, I figured I’d sleep on it and let the rash calm itself down overnight.
Except that it didn’t. It got worse.
It’s not too obvious from the front, thankfully.
But it’s pretty bad if you look close.
I took some of my husband’s allergy meds this morning, since I remembered that taking antihistamines was the main thing that helped my poison ivy rash stop itching and heal up. It’s working like a charm now — but the damage has been done.
If only I’d thought to thoroughly wash my face after coming in from gardening, I might not be traveling to an offsite training session for work tomorrow with a face that looks like something out of a medical textbook. Not only that, but now all the places that I touched or scratched after the fact are starting to react: my right arm, my right knee, my stomach, places that I know weren’t directly affected, but that got a dose of the plant’s oils later on.
Edit: The story didn’t end there. Read about my trip to Urgent Care the next day.