Sep
10
2009

  Extremely Inauspicious Start to Shopping Trip

My shopping trip might not work out as well as I'd hoped. I contracted poison ivy on the 2nd of September, and the rash has followed the textbook progression-- showing up 2 days after exposure, and has spread and gotten worse every day since then. The rash typically peaks around the 8th day after exposure, which is today.

I was so itchy last night I couldn't sleep much, the hydrocortisone cream my mother gave me wasn't working anymore, so I just brought a bowl of ice cubes up to my bedside around 1 am, and kept rubbing ice cubes on my rash to stop the itching whenever I woke up.

I went out first thing in the morning to get hydrocortisone ointment. I also tried Terry's suggestion of soaking in very hot water, which did help quite a bit. Between that soak and the ointment, the itching remained mostly at bay until toward the end of our flight.

The cab ride took an hour (which I figured it would with traffic, although why there was so much traffic on a Thursday afternoon is beyond me, but I do recall that NYC traffic can be terrible at any moment for any or no reason), and then we had to wait another 30 minutes for our apartment to be ready. So I was REALLY itchy by that point.

It seems they've got the hot water here on a governor so no one gets burned, so that was of limited help. I covered myself with another layer of hydrocortisone. My torso has changed over the course of the day from just looking rash-y, to being red over most of the front of my torso (no longer localized to my breast), with huge lumpy areas each larger than a quarter. I wouldn't characterize them as blisters at this point, they're just big swollen lumpy areas. I called my dermatologist to see if I could get in for my appointment earlier than 1:30pm tomorrow, but I couldn't.

Seeing that I was thoroughly uncomfortable and getting depressed, Terry helped me out. He looked up the risks of taking antihistamines while breastfeeding, and they're rated as low-risk although there is a chance they'll reduce milk production. I told him since I just need to manage the itching until my dermatology appt tomorrow, I'd take that risk. And I told him I wanted him to come back with sweets and red wine, too.

He brought back some antihistamine pills, a bottle of red, but instead of sweets he brought back a box of poutine. He first had this french fry/gravy/cheese dish with some of the guys in the Quebec office, and he misses it from time to time. So he was thrilled that just down the block from here was some French Canadian bistro that served it. I can see why he liked it so much-- it tastes much better than it looks. It looks almost vile (follow the link above for a photo). And it did go nicely with the red wine. I probably am not supposed to take wine with the antihistamine but I didn't bother reading the warnings on the box. I've been disregarding that sort of warning for years without negative effect, I'm not going to start worrying about it now.

Although I did decide to stay home and not go visit our old coworkers. Instead, Terry took William himself. Hopefully he'll get William to midtown without getting him hurt, but Terry has the stroller to manage through public transport, and it's not a particularly small or light stroller to deal with. I would have opted to just use the sling and carry the diaper bag, but Terry doesn't feel as confident about using the sling outside of the house as I do. So I'll just hope for the best and find out how things went when they get home.

I think getting any shopping done tonight is out of the question. The rash looks so alarming, I don't know that many shops would be keen to allow me to try on clothes. It's spread up to around my neck, so it's partially visible no matter what I wear. Plus I just feel wiped out so it wouldn't be much fun anyway, even if I managed to avoid the evil eye of the salespeople.

I'll come up with a Plan B, in case I feel better in the morning. Even if I don't feel great, I could probably manage a quick run through H&M before my doctor's appointment. And after that, I'll be armed with some prescription drugs that better knock out this rash in a hurry. So at least I'll be able to shop tomorrow afternoon/evening. Saturday we'll be around the apartment so friends can visit, and I'll have to pick up some food and drinks in the morning.

Although I prefer not to shop on Sundays, it might be unavoidable if I want to return with enough outfits to get me through fall.

But for now, I'm holed up in bed in our little apartment. It's one of the smallest two-bedroom apartments I've ever seen, but it's an ok size for us since we don't really need a two-bedroom. Although we probably will put William in that second bedroom, just so we don't wake up for his every whimper overnight. It's totally close enough we'll hear him if he actually cries.