I never had poison ivy, never in my life. I could handle the stuff, nothing. “Lucky you,” the doc said when I asked, “you’re just immune.” Until that time back in 2001…
My dad had two rows hedges he wanted removed. There was plenty of poison ivy in those hedges, which is one of the reasons he wanted ’em out. When he trimmed ’em he’d get some poison ivy for his trouble. I told him I’d handle it.
So one morning I set to work. I crawled under each bush, wrapping the bottom with my trusty tow strap. Attached the loose end to the front of my Jeep and yanked the thing out by the roots. Then on to the next. One after another, about 80+ linear feet all told. Some came out easy, some not so, requiring more wrestling to re-attach the strap and/or dig with a shovel or pickaxe. Then haul it all out to the street by the armload Sweaty, dirty work it was.
The shower felt pretty good.
By nightfall the itching and oozing had set in bigtime. I woke up looking like the Michelin man.
I figured it’d go away pretty quick. After all, I was immune. I figured wrong.
After a couple of days of agony I dropped in on the local doc. He walked into the examining room, took one look, turned and left without a word. Came back with shots and gave me a prescription for 15 days of prednisone (ultra-high dose immediately, then very high and tapering off in five-day increments). Hydroxyzine hydrochloride, too, several times a day for the duration. And finally, some kind of voodoo ointment (Diprolene AF) to help combat the external symptoms.
“But I’ve always been immune! WTF??”
“No more,” he told me, “those days are over for you. You got yourself one severe overdose.”
Over the next couple of weeks my skin slowly dried up as the itching and oozing subsided. And I put on a good fifteen pounds, too, because I ate everything in sight. I was famished-hungry 24/7. Fucking steroids.
And yes, today I’m sensitive to the damned plant. Not as bad as some, but enough that I treat it with respect.