My Yard, My Yard, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

by Alan J. Claffie

The project started in the spring. I was going to clear the backyard, getting rid of the fallen branches and years of accumulated leaves and, when all was said and done, have 50% more usable yard then we started with. Maybe, if we were lucky, we'd even get grass to grow.

It started with my working one day a week back there with the rake and clippers, then I'd spend the rest of the week getting over my allergies before the process started over again.

As bad as my allergies got back in the spring, I'll gladly take those compared to what I'm suffering from now.

When we moved to this place, we were told that there was poison ivy deep in the woods. It's been sprayed back there a couple times and I thought it had worked, since all the time I spent there earlier this year didn't leave me in nearly as bad a shape as I'm in now.

Last Tuesday I made great strides in clearing the lawn. I got to the fence that separates the yard from Acton Lane, cleared a path to it, and started dumping timber over that fence. I was pretty proud of the progress after a couple hours in some of the worst bits of the yard.

Wednesday I had a couple itchy spots and had to bandage over a couple tender spots. Things blew up big a couple days later and here I am, at work early Sunday morning, in pain. My forearms are both toast, as is my left thigh. There are other patches here and there and it's just unpleasant to be me right about now.

I went to the website where everyone goes to for health advice: The good people there offered cringe-inducing stories of their own and some sage advice, some of which I even used. There are a variety of medicinal rubs in my arsenal, some of which seem to be working better than others. I've been on a pretty steady diet of Benadryl as well. The wardrobe choices are not exactly standard early July fare: long-sleeved T-shirts and sweatpants, both offering protection to the rashes and to keep innocents from seeing what's plagued me.

The bad news is that there's not much to do about this condition aside from trying to keep the rashes dressed and ride it out. I suppose going to a doctor is an option, though that's not something I make a habit of doing. They say it should last about a week; keep your fingers crossed that we start seeing progress in this stuff clearing up sooner rather than later..

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