It happens every August. I get careless. During a heat wave, I can't stand to wear long pants or long-sleeved shirts or protective clothing of any type. Or sometimes, I am in a hurry, and I take my sneakers off with my hands instead of using the edge of the porch to yank them off.
And then I wake up one morning covered with poison ivy rash.
I've had the rash on every part of my body. One drop of that evil fluid, transferred from my sneakers to my hands, can slide onto any available patch of skin, causing a bubbling, oozing rash. When the rash covers a sensitive part of my body like my breasts, the itching is painful.
One of the most annoying place to get the rash is between my fingers. Today I can barely type because my fingers are so swollen, and fluid from the sores keeps dripping onto the keyboard. During a hike with my family yesterday, the bubbles between my fingers swelled up until I had a blister the size of a kidney bean.
Spouse, who doesn't get poison ivy, looked at the rash with a combination of sympathy and horror. Yet my children, who have inherited my genes and get poison ivy just as badly, were not even one bit sympathetic. Quite the opposite. They treated me like I had leprosy.
My youngest son refused to hold my hand, declaring, "That's gross."
My daughter said helpfully, "I've even seen all those scary films about STI's and that's worse than anything in those health class movies."
"You've ruined my lunch," said Shaggy Hair Boy, "I can't even eat anything after seeing that hand."
"Please put your hand away so we don't have to look at it," said my oldest son.
My husband tried to interject some kind of sympathetic comment but my daughter cut him off. "How can you even sleep in the same bed with that woman? That's just sickening."
That evening, as our extras began arrive for the nightly game of Ultimate Frisbee, I heard one of my kids say, "Hey, want to see something really disgusting?"
And then, "MOM! Com'ere for a minute."
At least they weren't selling tickets.