The Rash and Its Friend, The Other Rash

Did I ever tell you guys about my triumphant arrival at grad school?  As you may recall, I was fleeing for my life from a small town newspaper and my parents’ house and moving to North Carolina to get my MA in English.  I ended up writing my thesis on experimental electronic writing.

Ha, that’s kind of funny.  Doesn’t seem so experimental now, does it former self?*

But this was long before that.  In fact, it was before classes had even started.  My dad had come down with me to help me move in and the apartment was all settled and we were in the laundry room doing laundry when we ran out of quarters.

I said, “I’ll run down to Kroger and get some.”–the Kroger being right down a small hill directly in back of the apartment complex.  Halfway down the hill, I lost my footing and fell and slid down the rest of the hill.  I felt like a doofus, but I didn’t seem hurt, so I got up, walked to Kroger, got the quarters, walked back and told my dad how hilarious it was that I’d slid down the hill.

We finished up, went out to dinner and halfway through dinner my ankle hurt so bad I thought I was going to throw up.  I looked down and there was a softball sized lump on the side of it.

We went to the emergency room and they looked at my ankle and x-rayed it and had a loud discussion about whether or not to go ahead and break it to relieve some of the pressure.  This talk also made me want to throw up.  Eventually, they decided not to break it and I was sent off to a foot and ankle dude.

He gave me a regimen of hot and cold baths, exercises, and a boot like something Darth Vader would wear.  This was bad enough, having to meet all my new colleagues and wander around a new campus and such with a huge boot on my foot.

But I also had poison ivy.  It covered my feet, both my calves and ran up my thighs and, on the right side, right up my right butt cheek–pretty much covering every place that had touched the ground when I’d fell.

This was also very bad. And embarrassing.  And itchy.

But then, I started to get all these tiny bubbles all over my hands and up my neck and on my face.  The looked like tiny albino clumps of grapes.  And they also itched.  So, one half of me was covered with red puss-leaking scabby poison ivy nonsense and the other half of me was covered in tiny itchy blisters.  And I had a giant boot on.

I was not pretty.

And try sleeping.

Not pretty and tired and grouchy.  What a great first impression I made!

So, back to the doctor I went for some relief at least from some part of it.  “Doc, at least, tell me what the itchy blisters are.”

“Well, Aunt B., you appear to be having some kind of allergic reaction to the poison ivy rash.”

“I’m allergic to an allergic reaction?”

“In layman’s terms, yes.”

I’m sorry, folks, but that just cracks me up whenever I think about it.  And I’m glad it’s never happened again.



*Yes, I think I did just talk some smack to myself.


7 thoughts on “The Rash and Its Friend, The Other Rash

  1. In terms of electronic engineering…. my favorite ironic education story comes from Sheldon High School in moist Eugene, OR, where I attended 4 years of hell. The school, seeing the Computer Revolution coming, threw out most of their "old" electives like underwater basket weaving in favor of computer classes. At the time, I wanted to grow up to be a psychologist or a school counselor, and complained about having my options limited to computer classes."What am I going to do, psychoanalyze computers?" I whined.Today, I work in tech support, troubleshooting and, yes, analyzing computers. "Experimental" anything, I have decided is anything but…..

  2. "Tiny bubbles"?! "Albino clumps of grapes"?! Euuugggghhhh…. These phrases should never be used to describe the condition of one’s skin… You started grad school as such a scary creature! That is hilarious. I mean…I’m sorry for your misfortune.

  3. People, I was there to witness this. I still remember the first time I met our dear Aunt B at the first party for the new grad students. She was wearing overalls (which she looks mighty cute in, by the way) and had those gorgeous, giant, ice blue eyes, and beautiful thick, curly, dark hair…. and a giant boot on her leg and kept scratching herself. It was only later that I would meet the famous boob freckle. Still, she was immediately my favorite person there (another person there was wearing a neck kerchief, as I recall… pulllease!), and quickly became one of my favorite persons ever.

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