Quiet evenings bring back memories – a story with wild flowers

After a heat wave, and some stormy days, we are finally blessed with beautiful days, amazing evenings, perfect weather to start my daily walks again.

Mother Nature is fully revived, a gorgeous view at every corner. The fields are fully bloomed, and so my little “friends” I will talk to you about.

Ox-eye daisies - Leucanthemum vulgare

The story actually happened five years ago. Everything started when we bought our cottage, a couple of hours north of Toronto. An amazing area, Kawartha Lakes! The garden (and the house) was not in such great shape, and so, we started our new journey to do some cleaning, making this new place our new little paradise.

Wild yellow flower

One day, a little rush appeared on my arms. Not a big deal, just put some itching ointment, and it should go away. Not working? Try some alcohol, or a different ointment.

Purple Dame’s Rocket - Hesperis matronalis

The rash extended? Then add more compresses. Oh, there are some weird blisters too. What should I do? Another ointment, try one, try two, or even better, try all!

Common yarrow - Achillea millefolium

The itchiness became painful, the blisters increased in size. After a couple of sleepless nights, I decided to see a doctor. It is very lucky to find a walk-in clinic on Sunday evening. An amiable doctor looked through a magnifying glass and raised his shoulders in bewilderment, asking me what I have touched. He only suggested I should see a specialist, as he had no idea what it could be. Luckily, this was a big clinic, with lots of specialists. The first available one was an allergologist, in eight days. Wow, that’s amazing, I’ll take it!

Daisy fleabane - Erigeron annuus

The following two days were a nightmare, and Tuesday morning, almost in tears, I went to ER. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t think straight from itchiness, and especially the pain.

Meadow buttercup - Ranunculus acris

At 7 a.m. I was the second patient in the ER. At 8 a.m. I was directed to a room, to wait for the doctor. Another hour had passed, waiting alone in the room. The longer I waited, the worse it got as everything I put on my skin that morning was starting to wear off. I was getting freaked out, praying the doctor will hurry up. I’ve heard that some days, the waiting time could be at least six hours in ER. Nope, not today! At 9:25 a.m. a doctor came in. Thank you, God! I was so relieved when she stepped into the room. She was like a goddess to me in those tough moments. Aren’t all doctors like Gods to us? We are so helpless sometimes, in debt for their knowledge, and help!

Canada anemone - Anemone canadensis

After explaining the reason I came in for, she wanted to see my arms and my hands. Then she stepped back. One little step, but enough to notice. Hmm.. is it contagious, or what? -Sorry, we don’t have specialists in the hospital, she said. -How come there are no specialists? This is the sixth-most populous municipality in Canada.. – Sorry, you need to go to your family doctor, and book a specialist with them. – But what am I going to do until then, the waiting time for a dermatologist can be over three months! – Oh, you can’t sleep? Take some sleeping pills in the meantime.

Yellow goat's beard gone to seeds - Tragopogon dubius

Needless to say, broke down in tears when I got out. I have never expected this kind of treatment. Probably not something contagious, but I wouldn’t know what it is.

Wild flower

I took the bus straight to my family doctor and asked her in tears to help me with anything, as the pain and itchiness were unbearable. She agreed that an appointment to a dermatologist would take a minimum 3 months (although they got much better in the past couple of years) but she knows a walking clinic with a dermatologist which is pretty far. -I can go to the North Pole if there is such an office, just send me somewhere! was my immediate answer.

Red clover - Trifolium pratense

After calling the clinic, I found out they are open Tuesday mornings, and it is not currently busy. How lucky can I be after all?

Catchflies -Silene

I was there in no time, as the office was in Toronto, and I shortly met with Dr Andrew Simone. Who cared his office was not fancy? (it was actually his home) Who cared the waiting area could be in his front yard? (when super busy) Who cared the place was full of volunteers? Or that he stayed with me for about one minute (or maybe less)? The second he took a look through his lighted magnifier, he said to his attendee: see these pointy tips on the blisters? This is a sign for poison ivy. And then he was gone. The young lady, supposedly a resident, explained everything to me about poison ivy, and the prescribed cream to tend my wounds.

Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy can be easily recognized by the clusters of three leaflets grown on its own stem which is connected to the main vine. The species is well known for the rash caused by urushiol, a clear liquid found in the plant sap. The rash can last from 5 to 12 days in a mild poisoning, and about 30 days or more for a severe one.

 

God bless his soul, he made everything so easy!!

White wild flower

I’ve never heard of such poisonous plants back home in Romania (although I’m sure they exist everywhere in the wild). Nor have I seen one since I’ve lived in Ontario (by that time LOL), even though I’ve heard there are some poisonous plants in the forest. It’s so easy, don’t go deep in the bush! I knew it grows throughout much of North America. But I didn’t realize it can mingle with other weeds in a backyard (well, why not after all?).

Birdsfoot trefoil - Lotus corniculatus

An easy lesson learned through a tough and painful process.

Bladder campion - Silene vulgaris

If you are wondering, I got rid of all poison ivy from my backyard by now, it is all replaced by a few pine trees, ferns, and flowers😊

Orange hawkweed - Hieracium aurantiacum

And now, as I am typing these words, I feel my left hand starting to itch. It looks like a mosquito bite, but I know better what it is. Last night I ventured to take more photos of the wildflowers along the main road and stepped a little into the ditch to catch better lighting. This is how I stumbled upon a poisonous field, and some itching memories came back as a rash. I have not touched them, I think, but the pollen is in the air, and I know I’ll have to live with this sensitivity when in proximity. What a “better” way to celebrate the 5th anniversary for this memorable experience, time to remember learned lessons are for life!

 

Field with Yellow hawkweed (Pilosella caespitosa) and Cow vetch (Vicia cracca) and Wild daisies and Red clover

8 thoughts on “Quiet evenings bring back memories – a story with wild flowers

    1. Indeed, poison ivy is to be found in Asia and the Eastern part of North America. I was disappointed also at some point, but the lesson learned is appreciated more – now🙂 Have a nice weekend Andy!

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  1. Oh, poison ivy can be terrible for some people! I don’t personally know because I seem to be immune to its dangers, but my husband can get a really bad rash just brushing briefly against some on a hike. I can walk right through it and not get it at all. Even though it was about discomfort and some worry, your story was fun to read!

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    1. You’re very lucky Lexie! Based on some data, it seems 85% of the population is affected by poison ivy. I still like to be out, and do gardening, just smarter than before🙂 Have an amazing weekend!

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  2. Oh, Christie, I itched for you! 🙂 Out west, we don’t have poison ivy but we sure have poison oak. There is plenty on our five acres, but it is easily recognizable. I grew up with it. Fortunately, I have a semi-immunity. I can work in the stuff as long as I am careful. Peggy isn’t so lucky. She grew up in poison ivy country and didn’t spend her youth rambling through poison oak. Grin. At least now, you know how to treat it. –Curt

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    1. Poison ivy is also easily recognizable, if I knew about before🙂 I’ve learned it the hard way, and now I’m trying to show it to all my friends, as most ditches have some, especially in rural areas.

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