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Poison Ivy

I’ve got poison ivy. It’s on the top of my right foot, so when I go to sleep at night and turn over on my stomach, the sheets rub the sores. It’s on the backs of my calves, so no relief from flipping over onto my back. And it’s on my right hip, so I’m screwed on that side as well. It’s been a long few nights. And it’s going to go on for quite a while, because I am very sensitive to poison ivy. There is a reason for this.

When I was about seven or eight years old, I saw a big patch of green growing just on the other side of the chain link fence that bordered my day care playground. My eight year old brain had enough knowledge to know that it was poison ivy and that poison ivy made you red and itchy, but not enough experience to know just exactly how godawful it was to actually get poison ivy. And so, a plan was hatched.

I convinced another kid that we should get some of the poison ivy and rub it on ourselves. We’d get poison ivy and then we’d be able to stay home from school. It was the perfect plan. What could possibly go wrong?

So we reached through the fence, grabbed some leaves, and rubbed them all over ourselves. Part one: check! Later, we broke out in itchy red welts. Part two: check! Our parents were sympathetic… but we still had to go school. Nuts! So near, and yet so far.

My partner in crime, miserable and itchy, told his parents it had been all my idea. I steadfastly denied this. It wasn’t until it came up again a few years ago that I told my mother that yes, I was the ringleader in that boneheaded scheme. Fortunately 30 years had passed so I wasn’t sent to my room without supper.

No, my punishment was that the early massive exposure to poison ivy left me with a tremendous sensitivity which has only gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. I wasn’t barefoot this weekend. I didn’t crouch in a patch of it. Although I thoroughly washed my daughter’s soccer ball after it rolled near some, I’m pretty sure that’s how I was exposed. It got through my socks, I think. I must have brushed my legs and hip with my hand after touching the ball at some point, although my hand is just fine so far.

Meanwhile, my feet are swathed in bandages beneath my shoes because I cannot call in “miserable” to work. So I hide my red, weeping blisters and soldier on – and wish I had a time machine so that I could warn that kid that her brilliant plan won’t work.

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  1. May 25th, 2011 at 07:05 | #1

    Owwww D:

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