Susan's Blog

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Pinky Swear

She comes on like a rose,
And everybody knows
She’ll put you in dutch
Well you can look but you better not touch!

You older readers will know what I’m talking about. Oh, yes. I got it bad. It wakes you up at night and causes all kinds of redness and swelling. It makes some body parts feel like they’re on fire. Nothing can satisfy it. You vow that you’ll never, ever do it again, but somehow you always go back. You curse the fates for leading you to such a thing, and you are completely held it its sway until time heals you.

Or cortizone.

Yes, I am talking about poison ivy, of course. (Please check out the picture in this link so that you don’t get it, too! Unless you are hateful anonymous who sends me hate mail.) I believe I contracted it during a particularly wild weeding frenzy on Saturday. I was ripping out all manner of tall, ungainly uglies from my beautiful garden — I now have the full autumn fare. (Now that it’s autumn for real, and I have transitioned to the whole fall thing of school, occasional sweaters, jeans, boots, and PTO mishegos, I am into it and happy with it.) My garden is full of stands of pink or ruby sedum, pale pink tiny boltonia, purple and pink asters, roses, black-eyed Susan, yellow coreopsis, and a few different mums. (I realize I don’t actually hate mums; I really just hate what they stand for, the changeover from summer to fall. I have such a hard time letting go of summer, she is like a best friend, moving away. But she always comes back, per the deal between Demeter and Hades).

So I sent my doc an email and begged him for the stuff, Don Cortizone, who really takes care of that BI*** good, you know what I mean?

My right pinky is now lumpy and misshapen and itches like a … well, you know. Dad just had a virulent case of P.I. so I asked him to bring his medicine when he comes here for Rosh Hashanah, which is tomorrow night, (serious blog post about the Jewish New Year to come) but I just know that Dadley Do-Right will not because he will want me to get my own medicine, so that I come to no harm with his.

I never garden with gloves so I will never learn. I need to be able to feel the entirety of the plant to really snag it good. I need to get the soil under my nails and get really dirty when I garden. Gloves just get in the way. So that is why last year I got Lyme disease — and caught it in time, thank God, I actually had the classic bulls-eye mark! And that is why I get poison ivy every now and then. I take full responsibility for my condition.

But right now — I need to go and CHOP OFF MY PINKY. ARGGHHH!!!


Warm vinegar will help with the itching and pain. I used to get it all the time too.

— added by Jen on Thursday, September 21, 2006 at 8:51 am

My Mom used to mix up a batch of milk paste to which you add the powder from a shot gun shell. Worked everytime…not sure how!

— added by Anonymous on Thursday, September 21, 2006 at 9:13 am

This is what comes of living in such a liberal berg: strict gun control, nobody has gunpowder lying around! And my one dear friend who would has moved away to Florida.

— added by Susan Senator on Thursday, September 21, 2006 at 9:45 am

Cinnamon Schnapps shots always do the trick…..

— added by Martini on Thursday, September 21, 2006 at 11:21 am

Rick –
Do I drink it, or rub it on myself?

— added by Susan Senator on Thursday, September 21, 2006 at 1:26 pm

Ok Ok Ok I live in Florida and have no gun or gunpowder. Hope you feel better soon. Listening to you talk about your garden makes me homesick for the autumn in Central NY!! I just potted some MUMs and planted marigolds (hate them all year except during autumn in Florida which we call sub summer) Enjoy the beautiful leaves for me!!

— added by Mary Beth on Thursday, September 21, 2006 at 1:49 pm

First you begin by drinking…..
somewhere the rubbing may take effect depending on how much you’ve consumed and/or spilled.

— added by Martini on Thursday, September 21, 2006 at 2:18 pm

Some interesting remedies here:

nail polish remover? who thought to even try that???

— added by JenF on Thursday, September 21, 2006 at 2:51 pm

So many good ideas!
Rick – Is it hot in here?
JenF – nail polish remover?? I thought that stuff was really bad for you!

— added by Susan Senator on Thursday, September 21, 2006 at 3:29 pm

Probably not any more dangerous than chopping off the finger!

I heard to use baking soda or Fels Naptha soap (which is pretty caustic).

Good luck and fast healing…

— added by Mom on Thursday, September 21, 2006 at 6:59 pm

Yeah, soaking said finger in acetone probably isn’t the best choice since it’s hard to even find acetone nail polish remover any more. But like I said – who would have thought to try it? eeek!

— added by JenF on Saturday, September 23, 2006 at 3:39 pm

If you’re going to continue pulling up poison ivy without gloves:

1) Know what you’re doing.

2) As soon as you’re done with the weeding that day, go inside and throw at least the outer layer of clothing into the washing machine. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, go straight to the washing machine and strip off as much as you need to. Wash the stuff in COLD water.

3) Head to the bathroom. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and COLD water.

4) Then shower in water as cool as you can stand for a shower.

This ought to prevent the PI from being too bad. Might prevent it altogether. And have hydrocortisone cream on hand before you do it, just in case.

(This is the method my mom used in NH when she was pulling up poison ivy, and it worked fairly well. Hot water spreads the urushiol, cold water doesn’t.)

— added by Julia on Sunday, November 5, 2006 at 9:08 pm

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