An Evil Kind of “Green”

You know what isn’t sustainable, at least for me? Successfully treating a poison ivy outbreak.

On April 30, I cleared the area where I would be camping in my Mili-Tent (a fun nickname for an only sometimes-fun dwelling).screen shot from “Sust Enable”

I used special gloves, and wore long sleeves, long pants, and boots. I worked on the site all day.screen shot from “Sust Enable”

On the night of May 1st, I tossed and turned in my sleep a little from an irritating itch on my belly. That was the beginning of the misery.

For a week I tried everything available to treat the poison ivy with the littlest environmental impact. First, with nothing but patience. By May 5th, it was still spreading, and more irritating by the day. Next, I used calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream and gauze to contain it and help with the itch.

screen shot from “Sust Enable”

Finally, around May 8, I realized my quality of life was significantly diminished by this poison ivy rash. Avoiding any itch at all meant laying flat on my back and not moving. Thus came depression about being unproductive. I decided that despite my goal of sustainability, I should treat the poison ivy by any means possible. It was infringing heavily on my ability to do anything else!

So I went to a doctor (I have health insurance, which is a major blessing.) I got a tube of chemical cream that did wonders, and a six-day pack of steroids which helped quell the itching and inflammation. The irritation was over within a day, and within a week, my rash was recovering beautifully.

Many of my friends who are also “into” sustainability scorn Western medicine–they would rather treat poison ivy rashes with home remedies made from jewelweed. Yet I had to face facts: I was immediately happier and more active after seeing a doctor. I was healing. (Three weeks after the affliction began, I am still healing due to the intensity of the rash, and with probable scarring). If there’s one thing I wouldn’t give up in favor of absolute 100% sustainability, I now know for certain: it’s modern medicine.

“Green” is good, unless it’s the three-leafed variety!

  1. Daddio

    Ya know, 100% sustainability does NOT mean you have to rocket back to the Stone Age. I’m glad you fixed the itch so you can go back to being super-productive. Keep going, girl!

  2. Laura

    As someone so sensitive to poison ivy that I’m even able to catch it from other people, I wholeheartedly support the use of any means necessary to stop the itching as quickly as possible! I’m sure you can do much more good once you’re back at your best than whatever detriment was caused by your treatment.

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