After more than a week of miserably trying not to scratch, tossing and turning at night, and trying every over-the-counter poison ivy medicine I could find (Tecnu's Poison Ivy Scrub is great!), my rash continued to spread and get worse by the day.
Blisters broke out along my wrist and spread to my fingers. I had to take my wedding ring off, the blisters were so bad. I had rashes spread from my chest to the sides of my breasts under my armpits, down to my back, the back of my knees, my thighs, my crotch, butt, arms, shoulders, ears, ankles, agggggghhhhhhh!!!!!!!
Enough is enough! I'll pay the damn doctor bill, anything, just give me some relief!! I found a free clinic not too far from us, though why they call it "free" when there is indeed a bill to pay, I'll never know. Called them up and explained I have no health insurance, but I'm desperate and do they treat poison ivy rashes? They do, so made an appointment for 2:15 this afternoon.
I had to bring my tax papers, to verify my income and see if we qualify for lower billing rates. Filled out all the forms and then I saw the doctor. What a guy!! He was very nice and funny and really enlightened me to my itchy condition: I'm ALLERGIC to poison ivy! I also discovered that I am not contagious like I thought I was. Once you've bathed and washed off the poison ivy oil, you are no longer contagious to people around you. huh. If the blisters pop, there is nothing in the liquid oozing from the blister that will pass on poison ivy to other people I may touch. huh. All that blather we've heard about poison ivy being contagious is a bunch of hooey!
But!! If you get poison ivy on your clothes, lie down on the bed, get up and someone else lies down on the bed, then it's possible for that person to get poison ivy, see? Once you wash the clothing, the bedding and yourself, you're safe. Fifteen minutes after touching poison ivy, the oil gets under your skin and the rash you get results from your body's reaction to the urushiol oil, not because you touched the first spot then touched your chin or your leg or your arm.
Anyway, I got my prescription meds, $5 for 12 days of steroids which should take effect 12 hours after the first dosage (3 am, I look forward to meeting you!). I expected to pay $85 for the visit plus $5 for the meds, which is what they quoted us on the phone when we told them I had no health insurance. Guess what? We qualified for the medical bill payment assistance and reduced rates and the visit and future visits will cost $1 per visit! So today's visit only cost us $6 including the meds! Do you know what a relief that is to me?? I was already feeling guilty making the appointment in the first place, thinking I should tough it out, and it makes me feel so much better that I made the right decision to go. "Toughing it out" would have taken forever with my poison ivy allergy.
So, now I'm on the road to recovery, though I'm still itchy at this point, but no longer afraid to touch my kids, cook meals and do other normal mama stuff. I'm a bit nervous about poison ivy now, but I'll just have to be more cautious around it and diligent in making sure the kids stay away from areas with poison ivy, stay inside when Andrew burns underbrush, and wash his clothing (and then myself) right away. I also won't dilly-dally about going to the doctor now, knowing that I can afford the visit and the meds.
Here's to a speedy recovery to me! :o)