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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
God bless his soul, he made everything so easy!!
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?).
An easy lesson learned through a tough and painful process.
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😊
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!