She Takes a Lickin’

Yes, I think I can say without exaggeration, that this past week contained events that challenged me.

Let’s go back in time a little.

When I was a youngin’ living in Arkansas, I had this twice a year for at least 3 years: Poison Ivy from Hell.  (Bad idea to look at images of people with poison ivy on their faces. Damn internet, I’m having flashbacks and now I’m itchier than I was 2 minutes ago. Don’t do it! I’m warning you!)

The crazy thing about poison ivy is once contracted, your bloodstream can move it all over your body.  (Yes, this happened when I was a child.)  I was a walking poison ivy rash for at least a week on 6 different occasions throughout 1st-3rd grade.  The rash can last from 10 days to 3 weeks.  It’s a terrible itchy rashy hell.  When I was in elementary school, pre-internet, we thought we had to just wait it out.  I didn’t go to the doctor. Instead, I was doused at regular intervals with Calamine lotion, a pink Pepto Bismol-like looking substance that my mom spread all over my body.  (Oh, the horrors.  I’m having PTS just writing this.) There was only one time when my mom took me to the doctor for the itching, so this must have been when I was going on over a week or two of symptoms. I was given a steroid shot.

Poison Ivy.  THIS is why I’m afraid of hiking.  I need to educate myself on what these plants look like so I can spot them and stay away.   Did you know that the oil from these plants, an amount of oil as small as a grain of salt, carries so much potency, it can cause the rash to form?

The plant oil lingers (sometimes for years) on virtually any surface until it’s washed off with water or rubbing alcohol.

There are more things you don’t know about poison ivy here.

Sometimes blowing wind, especially soon after a brushfire, can contain enough chemical to cause a rash in very sensitive people.

I was one of those “very sensitive people”.  Yay!  (Thanks interwebs, now I’m going to stay inside for the rest of my life.)

Okay, Joy, we get it, you had poison ivy really bad as a kid.  (Boo hoo.) There is a method to my madness.  I tell you this because I continue to have sensitive skin.  I wore this ‘awesome’ strapless bra yesterday and the lining contained some sort of acidic plastic.  After runnin’ a couple of assemblies in a cafeteria with no air conditioning.  (There were fans there to circulate the 95 degree heat.)  When I got home later in the day and chucked my bra across the room, I started itching and itching and itching.  (I’m still itching in that spot now 24 hours later. Oh, goodie!)  The heat combined with the plastic lining (or other material) caused this awful rash.  By the way, in running my first assemblies in front of over 300 kids, I discovered, “Hey, what am I afraid of? I know more than they do.”

I can now check my Most Embarrassing Moment of the 2017 School Year off my To Do list.  Picture this, there I am truckin’ down the sidewalk, it’s 105ish degrees and I’m already drenched in sweat from walking back and forth in the full sun.  There is a massive line of cars waiting on the side street in full view of my ‘moment’.  I was in front of the school marquee and when I stepped down onto this tiny lip of a curb where the sidewalk slopes, I lost my balance. (I remember thinking, NOOOOOOO, JOOOOOY, DON’T FAAAAAAAL!)  I fell.  Knee, hands, elbow hit hard and then I landed on my right side in a fetal position.  That’s where I wanted to stay for a second and regroup, but I needed to get up and have less than 100 more people see my fall. I got up and a friend (Shout out to Heather!) said, “Are you okay?!”  I got up and continued with what needed to happen to get those cars movin’! I thought I was going to be fine.  I could still walk, so I cruised down to check the origin of the stopped traffic.  The bus had parked caddy cornered to wait for a student to catch up, meanwhile, all the parking lot got backed up.  Then as I was walking back in waving cars on by, I looked down at my knee and it had grown, like Tom or Jerry this cartoon (Is Jerry the cat or Tom?)   Just below my knee cap, the tissue instantly swelled like a cartoon sequence. It was unreal.


Here’s the 2nd kneecap.  Lovely.


So what did I learn this week?

Ice and rest really do help with swelling.

I am not invincible.

I hope this fall isn’t a metaphor for the kind of year I’m going to have.  Falling is a part of life. As I see it, there are two choices:  1) lay there and wallow 2) get up and keep moving.  I will choose option 2.

She (that’s me) takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.

Gastric Bypass Update:

It was hard to keep up with exercise in this horrid heat and the bum knee didn’t help.  I’m trying not to stress about lack of exercise my normal routine during weeks like this.  I’m going to keep on tickin’.

One thought on “She Takes a Lickin’

  1. Joy!! Hang in there! At least there is very little poison ivy in so. Cal. But I guess poison sumac is a thing?? Hope your knee heals swiftly!


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