Monday, August 6, 2012

Infested with Ivy

I've got a pretty good case of poison ivy.

It started two weekends ago, when I was clearing much of the overgrowth that had been choking the yard at our new home. Although I had been warned that poison ivy had been spotted to and fro, I clambered about clumsily, too intent on weeding stuff out to parse between plants.

Within a day or two, groups of mottled, red bumps dotted my arm, signaling, I assumed, that I had brushed against poison ivy. Sure, it itched a little, but really it wasn't a big deal. An annoyance, yes, but little more. I did nothing.

For a relatively closeted city slicker, I thought I was taking my lumps from nature pretty well.

A week went by, and last weekend came. I resumed my clearing of overgrowth, and this time, I took note of the poison ivy. It was everywhere, the 3-leaved shoots rising from mazes of vines that snaked along the ground, tenaciously anchored to the soil like a series of tents staked to the ground. Fascinated, I began pulling the shoots, then the vines, out of the ground. I'd pull one plug, only to discover that it was connected to another vine. And I pulled that. It was connected to yet another vine. The network of vines was so dense, so confusing, crisscrossing every which way, that I finally gave up. It was too hard to follow.

By Saturday night, I noticed some welts on my left leg, in the inner part above my knee. By Sunday, the welts had migrated to my left ankle, and a matrix of little bumps had appeared on my right arm just below the wrist. Meanwhile, the bothersome blotches on my left arm had suddenly become a lot itchier, as if they had become energized by the Red, Bad-Ass Revolution overtaking my body. By the time I went to bed, new welts had popped up on my right leg. And, they itched. All of them. A lot. I was miserable.

By Monday morning, I realized I was itchy above my left eye, under the brow line, and on the bridge of my nose. Guess what? The ivy had made a bold attack to my face. Was there any stopping the advance?

Desperate, I asked coworkers if there was some magic elixir. No, they said. But you might find temporary relief in something called Calamine. I was out the door before they could spell it.

So, as I sit here tonight, I am covered in a Calamine-like balm, trying to keep the severe itch – and the wicked temptation to scratch – at bay. I don't know how I'm going to get any sleep tonight.

Poison ivy, you have my respect.

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