In Which I am Bested by a Plant

Oh Internets, I have contracted the poison ivy.

(I'll give you a minute for the full suckiness of that sentence to sink in).

Apparently, unbeknownst to me, it was hiding out in my hydrangea bed, waiting to ambush me when I planted my newest little hydrangea bush that I had received for Mother's Day. (Which, can I just say, is really heartless and cruel...attacking me on my very first Mother's day like that. But then poison ivy has never really been known as a thoughtful and sentimental plant, has it?)

I didn't even realize it at first because I've never had poison ivy before. I just thought I had a mosquito bite on my wrist. So I ignored it. Then the next day, I had three more itchy spots on my arm. Then two more the day after that. It was about that time that I figured that these were no ordinary itchy bumps. So I studied them carefully and jumped to the obvious diagnosis- a deadly brown recluse spider was living in our bed, and I would have to have my arm amputated immediately.

(Sidenote: I have an completely irrational fear of brown recluse spiders. One, they are spiders. Two, they love to live in things like dark corners and under bedsheets. Three, they have a potentially deadly hemotoxic venom that rots away your flesh when they bite you, and four...did you read that part about the rotting flesh? I rest my case).

Anyway, after stripping the sheets and checking the mattress and having a heart attack over every spider-shaped dust bunny that I came across under the bed, no such arachnid was found (which is good because if I had, I would take my husband and child and MOVE. AWAY. I wouldn't even bother to pack. We would just vacate the house immediately. The end. Spider wins). But there wasn't a spider. (Thank the good Lord in heaven). And instead, the mystery itchy bumps kept appearing.

It wasn't until I was digging around in the medicine cabinet for some anti-itch creme that hadn't expired, (mental note: clean out medicine cabinet. Some of the stuff in my first aid kit is now old enough to vote) when the words "relieves pain and itching due to burns, insect bites, poison ivy, oak and sumac" caught my eye and I thought, "Oh you know what? I seem to recall a nefarious looking three-leaved vine from a few days ago. I bet that sucker got me". And it did. Who-boy, did it ever.

Of course, wasting precious days looking for imaginary spiders instead of immediately washing everything that could have possibly had the ivy oil on it means that I am positively COVERED in the stuff. Apparently I had it under my fingernails or something, because I have transferred it EVERYWHERE. (Either that or I temporarily took leave of my senses and rolled around naked in the side yard, but I do not recall that, so I'm going with the oil under the nails theory). As a result, I have scrubbed the top three layers of my skin off, cut all my fingernails back as far as they go and transferred every piece of fabric that I have come in contact with into the washing machine using a pair of salad tongs, which I then boiled for good measure.

But here's the kicker! Because I'm breastfeeding, I can't take any sort of antihistamine like Benadryl, because it can get into my milk supply and affect the baby. So I'm limited to crappy 1% hydrocortisone cream, which is so ineffective that I think the poison ivy actually looks forward to me smearing it on each a hydrocortizone massage. Other than that, all I can really do is wait it out for the 14 to 21 days that it takes to run its course.

So feel sorry for me, internets, for I am one giant ball of itch. And by my count, I still have roughly 9 days to go.

I may not survive.