Itching to Tell You about My Son

The first time my teen got poison ivy he was young enough to mistakenly call it “poisonous.”  I don’t remember it being much of anything, but our first encounter and my mommy nerves were enough to send us to the pediatrician.

Fast forward many years and my poor son tries to do good by helping a friend with a community service project.  The next day it is very clear to us all that clearing weeds included some that would have been better left alone.  And since we were still not very experienced with this particular pesky rash, we worried when it started creeping closer and closer to my son’s eyes.  This time we headed to the dermatologist who sent us home with prescription strength ointment and told us our son was very susceptible and reacted strongly.  Hmm.

Which brings us to the here and now.  And a seventeen year old boy who is covered in poison ivy.  And when I say “covered,”  I mean EVERYWHERE.  Yes, down there too.  I feel for him!  As I watch him squirm and try not to scratch.  And I ask myself what we can possible give him to put “down there” to alleviate some of the itching.  And at three in the morning, when I heard him head downstairs for another dose of antihistamine and then into an oatmeal bath, I lay in bed wide awake with visions of him slowly falling asleep and slipping below the murky water.  And I anxiously watched the clock as I waited for the magic hour when the pediatrician’s office would be open.  And now I sit here typing as I pass the time waiting to hear back from the nurse.

My typical mommy reaction to any new or concerning ailment is to do an internet search.  But I admit I was a bit hesitant to type certain keywords this morning in my quest to relive my son’s itching in his “junk” (his word, not mine), imagining the pornographic spam that would find its way to my computer.  But concern for my son and my future as a grandmother was greater.

Right now I am just glad that he is sleeping.  Like a baby:)  Even teenagers are angelic in their sleep.  And in another week or so the itching will pass and the scars will be healing and we can move on to the next teen crisis.

Postscript:  I wrote this last week.  Since then, my son has much improved thanks to oral steroids.  He is still itchy and rash-covered but, thankfully, the worst is over.  And I am grateful that his senior yearbook photos were taken before this happened!


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36 Comments

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36 responses to “Itching to Tell You about My Son

  1. Oh my goodness, Karen, I am so sorry. Poor guy, but poor you! My husband is much the same way – he can LOOK at poison ivy or English Ivy (which is prolific in our yard) and break out. For someone whose stress outlet is his yard, this is so hard. He can cover up from head to toe and still break out. So I feel your pain from the viewpoint of the one who has to watch the misery of someone they love. So glad things have improved.

    • Karen

      I didn’t realize before that it is an allergic reaction. My hubby went out and cleared the rest away and wiped down our son’s shoes and he got a few spots on himself, but nothing like my son.

  2. Genie@dietof51

    Uhhggg…. my son has not come down with that (good luck getting him to do yard work), but I’m allergic to a sumac plant that I was apparently exposed to about ten years ago. I’ll never forget that summer of steriods and misery. And, your son won’t forget his experience with the bad weed, nor his mother’s concern and pampering. Boys love that. Glad to hear that he’s doing better!

    • Karen

      Okay Genie – imagine how our conversation went when I had to ask my son some questions to determine just how bad things were “down there” and exactly where he was affected so I could relay that to the nurse! Yikes!

  3. YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My sis lives in the east & has gotten some really bad versions of that stuff at least 3 times.. NOT FUN! Glad things are better!

  4. Hard not find images of Drew Barrymore and Tom Skerrit when one Googles the term, Poison Ivy. Sad.

    Glad he is doing better. I am a parent alos — feel your (internal) pain…..

  5. I’m so glad he’s doing better! I can’t even imagine how awful he must have felt.

    I remember a childhood friend who had a horrible reaction to poison ivy “down there” when she was on a camping trip and chose the wrong spot in the woods as her personal potty. Ouch.

    • Karen

      With my son, we think he only got it directly on his gloves. Yes, he was being smart with at least some protection. Then he probably rubbed his hair out of his face. And scratched at his neck. And so on. Until eventually he had spread it from place to place. Poor guy.

  6. WOW~that had to be hard on you both. Hope he heals completely. To be 17 again.smile.

  7. Poor guy!!! Glad he is on the mend. I was a poison ivy magnet when I was a kid!

  8. Karen you are one of the ones I ALWAYS read no matter how long!smile.

  9. Ohh, I so sympathize with him. I’m super allergic to poison ivy and I get it every 3 years or so. Oral prednizone is the only thing that works for me. I don’t care what they say, it spreads and it always spreads to my face. I’ve had my eyes swollen shut more than once. I’m glad it’s a week ago and that he’s better now. For a quick itch relief, put several stainless spoons in the fridge and apply one when the itch is unbearable–it really helps, temporarily.

    • Karen

      I did not realize until this bout that it is actually an allergy. My son fortunately had his eyes open, but barely. That was making us nervous as things got worse before they got better. For days he looked like he was wearing red eye shadow! I will have to share that spoon idea with him, thanks. And yes, he is sure it spreads too. And seems to do so for several days despite all efforts to wash anything that might have come in contact. Sigh.

  10. sunnydaze

    OMG! Poor guy! I’m so sorry this happened to him but so glad that the worst has passed. It is a sickening feeling as a mother to worry about your childs health and want to ease their pain and be totally helpless, except for support.He is lucky to have you.

  11. So glad you could help him! My hubby was covered with poison something after a run through the woods and was just miserable. The rash on his face actually turned purple!

  12. Isn’t raising boys fun? I am glad the worst has passed. We don’t have poisionous weeds here. We just have snakes and scorpions and spiders than can kill us instead. If there is something dangerous, boys will find it and cause mommies to worry.

    • Karen

      Yikes! My teen called his dad the last time he encountered a snake mowing and wanted it taken care of, and he will so not go near a spider! Scorpions we don’t have.

  13. How horrid. My oldest (17) is so prone to funky skin stuff. I chaulk it up to his blond hair, blue eyes, and fair skin. It’s amazing how we still react like they are 2 even when they are 17…I’m the same way. Glad he’s itching less….poor guy!!

  14. Glad he received steroids! Anytime a poison ivy reaction hits the eyes or genital area (can I type that on your comment section?), steroids are definitely indicated! Glad he is doing better.

    Here in our lovely desert, poison ivy (which my sweetie reacts strongly to) isn’t so much a problem as snakes and scorpions, which I react strongly to – I scream like a middle school girl every time I see one, even though I have worked with the critters as a volunteer.

    • Karen

      That is exactly what my internet research told me! I almost included your tweet to me that day – it soooo cracked me up:)

  15. Oh no. I feel his pain. When I was growing up, I got poison ivy every summer. Every single one. And it was bad. I would get it absolutely EVERYWHERE. The swelling was unbelievable. On my face and my eyes would swell closed and I couldn’t see. Between my fingers and I couldn’t bend them. My arms were so bad that I couldn’t bend my elbows. Couldn’t see my ankle bones. My “junk”? I could have been a porn star…..LOL.

    I really relate to this and feel bad for him. I’m glad to see that you got him on the oral steroids. The best thing I ever found were the oral treatments. Occasionally I will still get it as an adult, and those pill clears mine up literally within hours of taking it.

    I wish him the best.

    • Karen

      Oh that cracked me up. I am sure that he recovered faster on the medicine. Still slow with several itchy, sleepless nights, but much better than it could have been.

  16. Karen, I’m so glad your son is better now. Cracked up when I thought of you searching the word “junk” online and am glad you didn’t do so and end up on every porn email list in America. Only problem is now I’ve got sympathy itching pains from reading this!

    • Karen

      Well, I did indeed do a search, carefully worded. And tried my best to avoid certain sites that popped up. Let me tell you that an awful lot of people have had that same problem and looked for answers online!

  17. Hello from Lady Bloggers. I’m surprised the doctor didn’t tell you about taking a bath in cool water (2″) that has half a box of corn starch in it. You also can pat the other pustules with the water. This stops the itching almost right away. I did this with Chicken Pox I had as a young housewife and it’s wonderful… a funny aside, had a friend whose husband admitted to adultery when he thought he had ‘something else’ that turned out to be Poison Ivy from working in the back yard… She fixed it for him and painted the whole ‘junk’ area with Gentian Violet! hahahaha, that takes at least ten days to disappear! Clears up the problem but it’s there… come visit when you get the chance and check out my very first vlog…

    Twitter: SolarChief

  18. I’m allergic to poison ivy, too, so I feel his pain. The doctors always had to give me steroids to get rid of it. I had it “all over” when I was in college – boy did I look lovely for all those handsome co-eds!

  19. Made me itch just to read this. I’ve had two bad cases of the stuff… maybe why I have such a purple thumb and aversion to wandering off trails when hiking. Feeling for you and him (and hubby too)…

  20. Oral steriods? All we had as kids was that pink Calamine lotion that didn’t do much at all. I recall my Mom trying ice on my worst spots, which seemed to help a bit.

  21. That sounds positively awful! I’m glad he’s already feeling better though. I’m sure glad I’ve never had to experience the stuff. That boy should start paying attention to where he plays outside. 🙂

    • Karen

      He was actually working, not playing. Clearing out weeds in our yard. Trying to earn some money at home since he doesn’t have a job this summer:(

  22. Sorry that he got into the poison ivy and glad to read your post script that he is doing much better. My husband is severly allergic to poison ivy.

  23. Your poor son! Warn him that he probably needs to be extra-careful about getting near brushy areas and get to the doc ASAP if he gets exposed again. I went through a similar experience (multiple exposures to poison ivy, each reaction worse than the last), but lucked into some good advice. A co-worker mentioned that it looked like my poison ivy was fading (on my face – quite attractive) and I said something about being frustrated with being on steroids for the third time this year, etc. The patient in the room with us turned out to be an allergist, and he said by allowing myself to be repeatedly exposed to something I was allergic to I was becoming “sensitized” and my reactions would continue to get worse each time. I hire out my yardwork now 🙂

    • Karen

      Darn! I had not known that might happen. Yes, his face was also covered as was his neck. Ironically, he was earning money by pulling weeds!

  24. Thanks for stopping by my blog from the Lady Blogger Society. I am glad your son is better now. I know how it feels. I had poision ivy everywhere a few years ago and it caused my eye to swell shut. No fun!

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