Sunday, June 7, 2015

Gardening PSA - Hard Lesson Learned

 Consider this your Gardening Public Service Announcement for 2015.

I have come to learn what poison ivy looks like in my landscape garden, especially in its juvenile state. I will be the first to tell you I haven't identified all poisonous plants, though.
Juvenile poison ivy sprout
I have also learned from experience that I must use a soap specifically for eliminating any residual oils when I weed in the garden. I use it religiously - on my hands up to my elbows, and my feet up to my knees - after gardening. I even wash my gloves in the stuff.
Poison Ivy Soap - a Lifesaver!
Even the best intentions do not go unpunished. On Memorial Day weekend, I encountered one of the worst cases of poison SOMETHING I think I've ever had. I wore gloves, I came in and washed at least twice in the outing. My eye itched, I scratched. I looked like I got into a match with Mike Tyson the next day. This, folks, is real life. As much as I preach a good game, sometimes my game is off. 
It's hard to tell because I have freckles, but Day 2 (AM) probably shows best how bad it got before I got medical attention - under my lip, between my eyes, on my cheeks, my nostril. On day 1, I tried to wear eye makeup on the unaffected eye, but by day 2, it was pointless. I only waited until day 2 to seek medical attention because it was the holiday, and both my GP's and Ophthalmologist's answering services said go to the ER if an emergency. I didn't want to catch something else on top of this, so I waited. I know the drill all too well. I have a prescription anti-itch pill that I took in the interim, and an arsenal of other supplies to help abate the itch and pain.
Poison Ivy Arsenal - socks are for the hands, to keep from scratching!
I got in to see the Nurse Practioner before 10 am on the Tuesday following the holiday, and received a steroid shot, along with a prednisone medrol dose pak. Within two hours, my swelling was already going down. (See above photo, Day 2, PM). Here's another B&A, just 6 hours apart.
B&A Poison Ivy Treatment - 6 hours time lapse. Still blotchy, but much improved
Mr. P. and I were planning to leave for vacation the next day (a Wednesday), and I asked him if he would be embarrassed to be seen with me. His reply, "No, I'll just carry a bag". To which I retorted, "One bag or two?" Having just returned from that vacation, I'm happy to report that the poison ivy is now completely faded from my face. However, it did continue to spread on one arm while on the meds, and is just now fading and no longer itching - after two weeks.

Watch out for that nasty stuff out there in the garden! Just because you've never gotten a rash from poisonous plants doesn't mean you're immune to them. My first case was when I was 42. Since then, it seems like a LOT of things make me break out in a rash in the garden - Black-eyed Susans, Salvia - just to name a couple. Who knows? I really think the culprit this time was an issue of a new, non-identifiable specimen I touched. 

Maybe a beekeeping suit is in the cards for me, whatddya think?? Mr. P. says to let him do the weeding, and direct him as to what to pluck from now on. He says I should enjoy that - directing him, that is. ;)