You know what? At the risk of stating the obvious (a genre at which I am a master), poison ivy sucks, HARD. To wit: At the moment half my neck and chest and stomach are covered in a thick deep red rash that is morphing into a scabrous landscape of burst blisters and oozy bits. The itch has NOT subsided, merely changed from occasional annoyance (ah, the early phases of an outbreak) to a near-constant roil of nerve firings.
Fuck fuckkity FUCK!
I TRY to keep my hands off, really I do. Not itching though means that other means must be employed, like tapping on really bad spots with my fingernails, or patting with fingertips, or digging in with the edge of a counter while I’m washing dishes or cooking.
What also works, but takes a little more bravery, is a white-hot shower. Oh my. It’s a good thing I’m a bit of a masochist (shhh!), because I’m fairly certain that people who are afraid to embrace pain would hate this method of ‘treatment.’ This morning, for example, I set the shower as hot as it would go, then stepped directly into the stinging spray of our low-flow shower, which on a regular day feels very much like like being sandblasted. Being blasted by 120F sand is, in a word, therapeutic. The sensation of it on itchy poison ivy rash is almost too much to take; the effects of it, however, are so long-lived in the anti-itch department that it’s completely worth stepping in and taking the pain for a few minutes. Once the sensation turns from ‘kill me now’ to ‘hey, not so bad, akshully,’ it’s a sure thing that the nerves that cause the itch are so overwhelmed with OTHER signals that they won’t start into itching again for a few hours.
In a weird way, it’s like those moments leading up to a really spectacular orgasm, when you almost can’t stand it anymore and then BLAMMO! Sweet relief!
Or am I the only one who feels that way?
Other things that work for the itch: 1% corticosteroid cream, and Sarna. Totally OTC at the moment, I am.
I’ve not yet gone to a doc for treatment because 1) I hate going to doctors, 2) my old doc quit the biz a while back and I don’t have another one, 3) it’s not really all THAT bad yet, and 4) it would probably take 2 weeks to get an appointment, at which time I won’t HAVE poison ivy rash anymore.
If it spreads though, you can bet I’m all over the insta-clinic. There’s a Doc in the Box not but a mile from my house at the new CVS; I’m certain they’d love to get a gander at my middle-aged rashy flabbitude. Docs are pervs like that, you know.
Another weekend is almost upon us. It is a weekend that will bring with it yet another in a string of birthdays for me. At this point, I’m pretty much OVER celebrating my birthday; there’s only so much room on the cake for candles, you know? However, being as my Mom is coming down for a visit and bringing her fabulous homemade spaghetti and meatballs for a birthday dinner, I suppose a TINY celebration might be in order. Hey, it’s not every day someone’s willing to drive dinner a couple hundred miles for me, might as well take advantage. :)
With that, y’all please have yourselves a wonderful Friday and a restful weekend.
(UPDATE: I work at a dermatology company. Two docs just were here looking at my 'case,' and it appears as though they think I should hurry out to MY dermatologist for a consult and prescriptions for stronger topical steroids and an oral steroid because, in their words, "that's not normal." Also, one of them took pictures of me for teaching purposes, and is going to send me copies! Yay! Also also, the word 'textbook' was bandied about. If I wind up in a textbook, I'll autograph it for anyone interested...because damn, that's my 15 minutes of fame!)