I've Got An Itch To Share

I think from time to time we all do things we know aren't good for us.  It's part of the human condition to take a little risk, have a little fun, be a little stupid, and look a little dumb.

One person stays up late for a movie and misses his alarm clock the next morning.  Another eats three Krispy Kremes, only to deny the inevitable weight gain.

My favorite form of self abuse is getting poison ivy.  I do it every summer- Mom's poison ivy- a family tradition straight from you-know-where.

I get it from the dogs; I get it from the landscaping; I get it from pulling out groves of poison ivy, pretending the arm-length gloves will protect me.

It's not that I try to get poison ivy; it's that I don't try hard enough not to get poison ivy.  Like childbirth, I forget the pain and agony of a season gone by, and I'm up to old tricks again.  After all, I have to pick those elderberries.

This year is no different.

I decided I just had to attack some poison ivy threatening my clematis and choking out my Asiatic lilies.  I figure if I don't protect the flowers, who will?

I covered my arms, tried to keep my legs out of the way and made sure not to touch my face.


Within a day, my arms turned into sausage-like appendages, tight and swollen with that oozing red rash.  When I woke up the next day to find my legs stuck to the sheets, I decided I would have to see my dermatologist...again.

I have a personal relationship with my dermatologist, who just happens to be named Christ.  Now, before you get too excited, please realize the name is pronounced like "Chris," with a "t" sound thrown on the end.  It's a short "i" sound, for those of you into phonetics.  I know this because I was just curious enough to ask.

The first time I sought his services, I stood across from the receptionist filling out all 25 required forms, while my 12-year-old son perused the waiting area.

Two framed 8 x 10's, photographs of the doctors within, were hung on the wall, their names displayed on tiny gold plaques.  There was one man and one woman, both fairly serious sorts with just a hint of a smile- enough to give you the impression they are indeed concerned about your skin.

The name Christ stood out for my son, as did the middle initial "J."

"Mom," he asked, "Why would anyone name their child Christ?"

"Well, I said, "giving birth can be a religious experience."

He rolled his eyes up into his little head, and pressed further.

"Do you think his middle name is Jesus?"

"I'm not sure, son.  Let's see what kind of work he does."

Christ, we found, is a professional all the way, right down to his little argyle socks.  He's clean, snappy and to the point, but not unkind or impersonal.  He carries a "Here's what we have, here's what we'll do" attitude.

Poison ivy cases must be his favorite.  He gets a kind of wild look in his eye, shakes his head as if he's never seen anything so severe, and then describes how he will  methodically conquer and destroy the enemy within.

And he always does.

Christ never admonishes me with that stupid phrase "Leaves of three, let them be."

He knows I'm a bright, college-educated person who doesn't need a lecture.  He also knows I would become physically violent.

One should never scold a woman who is doing a really great impersonation of a puffer fish, regardless of the cause.  He simply gives me a two-week course of heavy duty steroids, which allows me to not only eat 4,000 calories a day, but to survive on a mere 20 minutes of sleep a night.

Let the healing begin!

I have gained at least 15 pounds since week one, and have a really clean house.  So clean, it's nothing short of a miracle.

No comments: