This is the enemy:
Over the past three summers, I’ve had poison ivy up my legs, on my arms, and in between my fingers. It’s horrible. Except when you allow yourself to scratch the affected area like crazy — then you get a teeny tiny moment of bliss. Then you realize you just scratched the top seven layers of skin off the affected area and you’re now bleeding. That’s when the moment of bliss ends.
Occasionally, I’m not the smartest kid on the block. This is true with all things related to poison ivy. I tend to think everything in my yard looks like poison ivy (fyi: that “leaves of three” phrase is crap — raspberries have leaves of three, too). I don’t want to avoid my entire yard, so I throw caution to the wind and pull all sorts of weeds — poison ivy included.
I think I may have had some sort of cognitive developmental breakthrough recently. I was pulling weeds, and I looked down at the weed in my hand. I thought to myself, “self, that looks like poison ivy.” I agreed with myself, and ran indoors to try to un-do whatever damage I’d just done. And, miracle of miracles, I didn’t break out in a rash. So, I present to you “Laura’s steps for waging war on poison ivy after you discover you’re holding a bunch of it in your bare hand.” Enjoy.
Step 1: Drop the poison ivy and run inside.
Step 2: Wash hands. Google images of poison ivy. Determine that, yes, you were holding poison ivy only a moment earlier.
Step 3: Express your fear and concern to Meredith, who is sitting on the couch reading. Tell her you just picked poison ivy with your bare hands and will probably be dead by tomorrow. Tell her she can have the house.
Step 4: Shower. Scrub every inch with a nail brush, hoping that will rid your body of any poison ivy oil. Realize your entire body is pinkish and raw from the intense scrubbing. Take a “no pain, no gain” outlook on the showering process and congratulate yourself.
Step 5: Remember your father’s advice to “use a little bleach to get the oil off your skin” (said in a fatherly voice — I left out the “kid — you’ve got to learn to identify poison ivy” part of that lecture). Jump out of the shower and head for the basement to mix some bleach with water. Don’t bother drying off. Streak past Meredith, who is reading on the couch.
Step 6: Pour a little bleach in some water — rub the mixture all over. Note that you smell very sanitary.
Step 7: Re-shower. The recent bleach application must be removed. Re-scrub with the nail brush. Remove yet another layer of skin.
Step 8: Remember you have special poison ivy cream in a drawer in the bathroom. The cream was intended to be used once a rash appears — but, hey, — better safe than sorry. Jump out of the shower, grab the cream, and rub the cream all over.
Step 9: Realize the cream is a little gritty. Scrub with soap and the nail brush one more time. Take off another layer of skin.
Step 10: Dry off. Put clothes on. Freak out every time a little area of your arms/legs itches. Call your dad. Tell him you just bleached yourself in an attempt to rid your body of poison ivy oil. Dad wonders why you just called to tell him that. Dad asks if you’d like to speak with Mom. Both parents wonder how their daughter managed to get a post-graduate degree yet cannot identify poison ivy.
Moral of the story: I’m poison ivy free! Learn from my tried and true method and follow these 10 easy steps if you believe you’ve encountered poison ivy. I can even give you my parents’ phone number.