I’m just starting to get back outside (aside from trips from air-conditioned house to air-conditioned car to air-conditioned office and back again.)
For the first time in a month.
Well, about a month ago the baby went to bed and I knew it wasn’t for good, but I needed (needed) to get my hands dirty. It was a race against the baby clock. I ran downstairs as quietly as I could. Shoving tied shoes onto tired feet. Mind spinning – what to do? What to do?
I head to the front bed, overgrown with weeds and grass and getting worse the longer I leave things to seed. Rip. Tug. Puuuuuuull. Weeds and grass flung out of the earth and onto the walk. Faster. Deeper.
The weeds were gone. The grass was gone. I loaded the bundle into my arms for the bin and wandered back to tackle the roses.
I look up to see two heads pop out of the upstairs window. “He’s up.”
I race inside. Shedding my shoes and shirt and launching up the stairs into bed with the baby to try and nurse him back down before he’s too awake to settle.
Fast forward two days later and I’m nursing him in the middle of the night and…That’s a killer spider bite on my pinky.
Fast forward to the next evening. You guessed it.
It’s not even that I didn’t see it. It’s that I didn’t even look. I didn’t realize I’d been exposed. I’d just spent three days spreading the oils all.over.the.house.
I’ll spare you the pictures of my pinky trying to swim away in a sea of ooze. Or the crawling dime-sized blister on the back of my hand. Or the 8″x4″ map of seeping Australia on my stomach…
I got a new patch every few hours for ten days straight. It took washing every.thing.in.the.house.every.day for five days to stop the cycle. I covered head to toe, sitting on sheets, everything else was molten lava.
It had been ten years (just) since I’d last gotten poison oak. I used to get it every summer growing up. This was the worst time. I’ll be ok if I can make it at least two decades before i get it again. And you can bet your raised eyebrow I’ll be weeding so very carefully going forward.
I still look like I’m recovering from a motorcycle crash without enough gear. I still hear, “Mama, bad rash. That’s a bad rash. Skin hurt?” But I can stomach standing outside now without raging my way into a miserable fit. So there’s that.