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Storytime: That time I got Poison Ivy on my eyelid and in my ear!

The year was 1993, it was nearly summer and the weather was starting to warm up. I was ten years old and was looking forward to a summer of relaxation, bike riding, and spending time at my friends’ houses. One of my friends at this time had a pool, and we were celebrating the end of school and a nice warm day by swimming and hanging out on the back deck, talking and just generally enjoying the day. 

I remember, while we were out on the deck wrapped in towels at some point in the day, seeing that one of the neighbors back behind my friend’s backyard had their charcoal grill going. They didn’t seem to be cooking anything though, because the flames were quite high, so they must’ve been burning something. I lived in Baltimore City at this time, so seeing open fires in backyards wasn’t exactly common, and I think that’s why I noticed the high flames in the grill and still remember them to this day.

A few days later I began developing an extremely itchy rash across parts of my face, the backs of my hands, and the bottoms of my legs. It didn’t take long for my parents to realize that I’d somehow contracted Poison Ivy. I hadn’t been in any wooded areas lately, so we eventually came to the conclusion that my friend’s neighbor must have been burning poison ivy to get rid of it, and the wind blew the smoke across the yards and that’s how I came into contact with it!

“Poisonous” 2- Poison Ivy

The next week or so were MISERABLE. I had poison ivy all over the right side of my face, including on my eyelid and INSIDE my ear. My eye swelled up to the point where I couldn’t open it, and I was covered in an itchy rash that kept oozing, so I spent most of my time dabbing at myself. I took baths in every poison-ivy remedy that could be purchased or home-made. Eventually, the rash on my face got so bad and was making me so miserable that my mom ended up wrapping my head in gauze and bandages, partly so that I couldn’t scratch and partly so that I wouldn’t have to dab at the oozing rash all the time. I looked like I’d been in some sort of horrible car accident!

Part of the reason why I remember this childhood incident so well, though, is because I was still recovering from this poison ivy run-in weeks later when the first Jurassic Park movie came out. We’d been looking forward to seeing it for months, and even the fact that I wasn’t fully recovered from my rash wasn’t going to stop us from going to the theater. At the time I was still itchy, but the rash was looking much better. However, my eyelid was still pretty swollen and I couldn’t open my eye because my eyelashes were literally glued shut from all the oozing the rash had done. 

I remember sitting in the movie theater, trying to watch Jurassic Park, and only being able to see half the movie because my one eye wouldn’t open! What a horrible experience it was! I sat there during the movie and picked at my eyelashes until I got to the point where I could finally get my eye open and enjoy the entire movie instead of just watching the left side of it. Definitely a terrible but memorable childhood story!

Jurassic Park is still one of my absolute favorite movies of all time, by the way. And this story is why I chose to include Poison Ivy in my “Poisonous” series! I steer clear of this plant now whenever I see it because I do not ever want to go through that again. Don’t burn poison ivy, people!

Still the best character in Jurassic Park, fight me

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