Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Now what is that?
Over there by the hand-painted handicapped sign?
It's a weed, I think, growing in a crack.
How dare it?
How could it?
The last two weeks have been 'death to all plants'.
Grass is giving up the fight and browning in great waves.
Plants I coddle and cool with sprinklers are pouting--wilting in surrender.
Yet this little weed is growing in an asphalt crack.
On the parking lot.
All day.
In the sun.
So. . . well. . .
I carried him a cup of water.
Don't tell.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Why Moms Worry

Our mortal children--especially when they gain their independence and begin to look with pity on their aging, fearful, superstitious parents--like Icarus, fly much too near the sun. The agony lies in seeing where they are flying, begging them to stop and think, and being humored with affectionate banter but no changing of direction.

This was brought home to me very vividly this week when my cousin went through what no parent should ever have to face...waiting up until 1:30 for a daughter who had gone out with some friends, promising to be home early; getting an unresponsive phone; finally calling the trauma center and being told accident victims were there; finding their daughter badly wounded, bleeding, in pain...but at least alive; and then learning what had happened.

She hadn't known the driver before that night. From the back seat of the vehicle she begged him to slow down, but he sped to 75 miles an hour on an isolated dirt road, then hit an embankment. The police report shows that the car was airborne for 60 feet then turned end over end six times before it came to rest. The driver was injured badly. She was conscious but in a lot of pain. Fortunately, the third rider was ejected and uninjured. He called 911, but it took the authorities a long time to find the accident site. They finally were able to trace the cell phone call. The injured young lady, Ren, tried to call home, but her phone died. As she was being transported by helicopter, and in the trauma center, she asked people to get in touch with her parents and her twin sister, who would be worried. Nobody did. They had to come find her--on a table, broken and bleeding.

So there they all sit in the trauma unit. Broken jaw, missing teeth, injured face, torn spleen, broken vertebra, broken ribs, swollen body, lots of pain. Dad can't fix it this time. Mom can't smile and kiss it away. And all the loving in the world can't bring back that innocent little "aw, don't worry, Mom, I'll be ok" attitude she walked out of the house with.

The hardest lessons are those that cost.
That's why moms worry.

13 Itching Solutions for Poison Ivy

I've been conducting an experiment over the last two weeks...well, out of sheer frustration and necessity.

Let's just suppose that you are itching...badly...with poison ivy around your neck like some great, glowing, growing Egyptian collar, and let's suppose that you were also wearing it like greaves on your shins and like bangles and polka-dots up your arms. In that case, the itching would drive you to this same experiment. Here's what I found:

1. Scratching. This relieves the itching for a few minutes, but makes ugly scars all over your body and causes infections to begin in the middle of the rash areas. (not recommended)

2. Cortisone cream (prescribed by the doctor for the initial outbreak on the shin) This works for about five minutes. Then everything starts itching again, only worse. (A lovely little side effect of this cream is that it thickens the skin it sooths, so I now have a scar-thick buffer on my right shin...the better for playing soccer, I guess.)

3. Ice packs (prescribed by the doctor for the ivy necklace) This works as long as you are keeping it cold and holding it on the neck...i.e. in bed. It looks rather silly to wear to social events...like weddings.

4. Adhesive tape (suggested by the receptionist at the doctor's office.) I didn't try it because I would have looked like a chicken or a mummy, depending on how the tape was anchored. Besides, I was afraid that infection under the tape would not be a good thing.

5. Baby powder. This helps for a few minutes. I keep it by my bed for during the night agony. It has the added advantage of smelling good and not being greasy.

6. Sea salt mixed with baby oil. This stings badly, but that feels better than the itch. It works for a few hours and dries out the initial blisters but doesn't heal anything.

7. Dermoplast in a spray bottle. I applied this at the zoo and the science museum. All that day, it kept my neck from itching as long as I sprayed it on every couple of hours. However all the funny looks I got in the restroom as I kept anointing myself required a lot of explanations, and the blouse I was wearing is probably ruined from the greasy spray. When I got home, my neck was not only itching like crazy, but it looked like it had suffered a second degree burn. I tried it again, and it didn't help. Maybe it only helped because I was having my mind distracted by the great outing with my Grandchildren.

8. Benadryl gel. This helps until it evaporates.

9. Benadryl tablet. This helps because it knocks you out and you sleep all day and all night. (not recommended for anyone who has anything to do.) Unfortunately, you still wake up between hour-long snoozes...and the itching is still there!

10. Zanfel--this is an expensive over-the counter cream. It stopped the itching for about six hours. I've reapplied it twice, and, according to all I've read, may have to keep it up for several days because mine was a systemic reaction. Next time I get poison ivy, I plan to try this first and not have to spend the money for doctor visits.

11. Prednisone shot and pills. This doesn't relieve any itching for at least a day, but it does help over-all. Eventually, it soothes the reaction. However, it has the nasty side-effect of making you gain weight...great--new fat for the poison ivy to spread to!

12. Aloe and oatmeal poultice--this one was recommended to me but I haven't actually tried it. (mainly because I'm doing better now, but if I revert to the acute stage, you can bet I'm going to go buy some)

13. Baby oil--this doesn't work for the poison ivy itch, but it sure helps the dry skin itch that comes with the healing process.

And with all that said...I think it's time for another shower and treatment with Zanfel. I'm about to start clawing.