Friday, February 8, 2008

Oh the Itch

I’ve always had crazy skin. It breaks out in a rash if the temperature changes. I was allergic to milk, wheat and eggs as a kid (and yes, it completely sucked). Besides being congested and slightly asthmatic, I got a rash behind my knees. If I ignored it and kept eating cookies and ice cream, it would spread up my inner thighs, then jump to the crooks of my arms and sometimes even under my arms. Add a little heat and humidity, and oh, those were the days.

Luckily, I’ve mostly grown out of the allergies (there’s hope for all those kids today), but I still get rashes occasionally. I’ve had eczema on my eyelids and an itchy rash on my belly, which were both treated by acupuncturists. (My system runs hot so I should avoid spicy things that “heat” my system. Add it to the list.) So, when I got a rash on the back of my arm and a few spots on my hip, I didn’t think that much about it. I just decided to start following my acupuncture diet (no wheat, no diary, no red meat, no spicy stuff, no sugar, no night shade vegetables – yes, there are still things to eat). In fact, I was kind of happy because it gave me a reason to lose some of the marriage weight I’ve put on.

Then, on Tuesday, I show Pete my hip in a search of some sympathy, but instead, he yells, “I’ve got that on my arm!” Bells went off in my head. I wanted to faint. I was sure we had some awful, contagious skin condition. I’m used to rashes that don’t spread, but this? My lord, I’d given it to my husband! We’re one of the gross couples with rashes! I quickly called the doctor, and rushed over that afternoon.

I was prepared. The quarantine we’d face in our apartment. The piles of laundry we’d have to do. I was ready. Just give me the antibiotics. But, she said it was just poison oak. Poison oak? From where?

Pete and I have been on a get back in shape kick (why does marriage make you fat?), and we’ve been hiking every weekend. Prior to meeting Pete, I hiked most weekends and never, ever got poison oak. EVER. So, a few weekends ago, we were hiking in Temescal Canyon after one of the drenching rains, and happily staying on the trail. Then, at the very end of the hike, there was this group of people with a net wading through the creek. It was an odd sight since a) if you caught a fish in the stream it would most likely be about 2 inches long and b) it would most likely be full of toxins. Of course we stopped and asked what they were doing. (The words, “Move along, folks. There’s nothing to see here,” ring in my ears.)

Apparently, one of them had seen a koi swimming in the creek earlier and they’d come back to rescue it. (You have to love LA. My street is packed full of homeless people and they are saving koi.) We didn’t stay long enough to find out if they found it, but we pulled far enough off the trail to step in some poison oak.

At least this is what we’ve deduced. My dad was here last weekend, so we didn’t go hiking. But, we did get poison oak. The only thing we can figure out is that it was on the shoes we wore for the walk we took with my dad.

Since Wednesday, I’ve been all over the net reading about poison oak and urushiol, the pesky oil it contains that can stay on things for YEARS and infect you. YEARS.

Since we aren’t 100% sure it was the shoes, we are washing everything. Pete started the laundry last night, washing all the towels and his clothes. I have piles of sheets to wash plus my clothes (fair division of laundry). I’ve sprayed the couch and our shoes down with rubbing alcohol. We’re hoping this covers any places the oils may be lurking.

Today, the spots are getting bigger, but softer around the edges – more blister-like. This is supposed to last 12-20 days. On the bright side, my obsessing has made the week fly by, but I have no idea how I’m not going to itch for that long. Pete’s already ripped the tops off of most of his blisters. I guess I did learn something from all my rashes as a kid. Although, it still feels great to just sit back and itch sometimes. Only 10-18 days to go…

1 comment:

Heidi said...

oddly, i totally know what you mean about the allergies. for me it was chocolate and it would start on the backs of my knees. thank god i powered through that allergy! aaaaand i also remember washing EVERYTHING after the ill-fated Black Canyon trip in Gunnison. Good luck!