If pictures of sores and wounds gross you out (as they do me), don’t scroll to the bottom of this post.  I’ve uploaded the mother of all gross wound pictures but I put it down far enough so that you don’t have to look at it if you don’t want to.

It’s a picture of my arm one year ago, three weeks after traipsing through the woods in search of vines and foliage with which to decorate the church for Thanksgiving.  What I caught was likely a very severe case of poison oak.  Most people know better than to protect their face with their bare arms while crashing through thick brush.  Not that it worked.  Vanity prevented me from taking a picture of my face.  Venturing out into public was humiliation enough.

I vowed to be more careful this year and I was; I really was.  Then I spotted a grove of enticingly red berry bushes in the ditch driving up College Line.  I spotted shiny three-leaved agents of misery in the same ditch, but I cautiously stepped around them.  It’s too bad that by the time I bent down to collect my pile of berry branches, my vision was so filled with of images of red radiance in vases placed in each window sill of the sanctuary that I forgot to watch for poison ivy.  I remembered that night when my arms began to tingle and then to itch.

Thankfully, this rash is not as bad as last year’s because I was much less exposed to the poisonous plant and thankfully, I was able to decorate the church and enjoy the celebrations before its itchy anger exploded full force.

But now itching, burning, weeping blisters on my arms, on my palms and between my fingers make even dressing myself a painstaking chore.  I spend a lot of time at the kitchen table unwrapping gauze pads from little paper envelopes.  I blot my swollen, lumpy fingers with last year’s prescription anti-itch cream that didn’t even work then.

Thanksgiving decorating 2012 048 apothecary

I pause to scratch an outbreak on my face with my right peter-pointer.  Scratching feels good, but then I have to sanitize my instrument of relief before I carry on with my ministrations. The place smells like an apothecary’s shop from the various ointments, lotions and potions I slather on my bubbly skin.  I begin to wonder how much I’d actually miss my little finger were I to chop the blister-bound digit off and throw it out.  If it’s late in the day, a tear may well up in my eye and I might sniffle some.  I vow to be more careful next year.   I will, I truly will.








poison ivy rash


3 responses to this post.

  1. Oh, Tina!! That’s awful. I’m so sorry you’re going through this!! I’ll pray you heal quickly.


    • Thanks Holly. I’m already doing a lot better. The girls at the health store recommended a homeopathic remedy – tiny white beads that melt under my tongue. I was hesitant to fork over ten bucks for yet another thing to clutter my kitchen table but it was ten bucks well spent – the blisters are drying up beautifully.


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