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Friday, September 12, 2014

Toxicodendron Radicans

I get the same look every time.  First from the nurse and then from the doctor.  Sort of smirk as if to say “Yeah, so you are allergic to poison ivy.  Most people are you know?”  Then they go through the standard questions.  When were you exposed?  Does it itch? (I don’t have $200,000 is student loan debt from medical school, but I know better than to ask stupid questions like ‘Does it itch?’).

Rather than wait for them to outline my treatment option, I rattle that off right away to save us all some time.  “I need the steroid shot.”  No reason to discuss other treatments.  When my body gets poison ivy it just laughs at Calamine lotion.  Steroid creams might work if I catch it quickly.  Oral steroid pills were probably fine in this case, but I didn’t want to mess around with this stuff anymore.  Too many severe reactions.  I mean, there is allergic to poison ivy and the is ALLERGIC TO POISON IVY.

Around 20% of people are not allergic, yet it infects over 350,000 people each year.  One those is generally me.  I actually take the oral steroid every year as we begin our fly fishing week.  That place has lit me up more than I care to recall.  At least on those trips I can claim being in some exotic locale really roughing it (which is total nonsense, but makes for a good story).  This time I got it in my own backyard.  And don’t be mistaken, this is no wild jungle on the edge of the woods backyard.  It is a fully fenced, manicured yard.

The vine I yanked out on my “holiday” (Labor Day) was the same one I battled a year ago.  Or at least I assumed it was the same one, yet it didn’t bother me a year ago.  When I felt some itching the next morning I simply thought I had stepped in a fire ant bed and got a few bites.  The following day I jumped in the pool after a bike ride.  My ankles were on fire.  A quick look at it from my wife and the diagnosis was rendered.

Dang it.  I was shocked.  I never even looked at the ankles close enough to question my fire ant explanation.  She quickly advised me to get to a Doc-In-A-Box for the shot because waiting 12 hours could render me useless and swollen.  It would also save her from having to hear me whine about it…this was her real motivation.

So, that’s what happened.  Just another day in Chaos.  Things have not really cleared up, but seem to be moving in that direction.  Let’s hope so anyway.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace