Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Oh. The Horror.

The canyon has left me with a little gift.
Yes, the dreaded PI. I have escaped its clutches since my Florida swamp days, when Juls and I suffered through numerous bouts of it acquired during surveys of burn units and snagging. Back then we used to lather up with Technu, a viciously yellow fluid that was supposed to work. Sometimes it did. I recently read on the internet that Technu is very, very bad for your skin. We used to just about bathe in it. Oops.

I've also had poison oak, courtesy of a fire in California where we heedlessly grabbed dead-looking sticks. That warranted a trip to the hospital.

The worst of all was poisonwood, an entire tree so toxic that it kills its own leaves. All of us on the fire crew got it working in the Keys. Here it is:

Stay far, far away from this one.
That was so horrific that all of us sat miserably in the trailer provided for us by Everglades National Park, our arms pink from calamine lotion. Mike made up a song called "Calamine Jim" in honor of one of our workmates, based on the song "Big John." It started out, "Every morning at the trailer we'd see him arrive.." and the chorus was, of course, "Calamine Jim. Calamine Jim."

So the familiar itch brings back memories of those times. I've tried a few remedies so far. Baking soda toothpaste is the hands-down winner. But you can bet next time I will be carting the Technu.


  1. I had a small bout with poison oak a month ago...need to learn how to identify it. Hope you heal up quickly and share your tricks. Where do you buy Technu from?

  2. Ewww. Bummer. I would think it would be hard to keep clear of when hiking with dogs. They would get the oils on their coats and you could get it days later from them. I have some wipes that I haven't tried yet, I picked them up from Lee (before our office burned down) to have just in case.
    I've gotten it second hand from all the way across the country, just because someone had it on their arm or clothes. bad news.
    How long does it take to go away for you?

  3. Oh, yuck. Very sorry. Not a fun time. Love the Calamine Jim song :-) I had never heard of poisonwood before, so thank you for that little tip.

  4. Karen I think you can get Technu at a good drugstore, They have a lot better products than they did back in the day. I should have used it!

    This is day 5 since exposure, some lovely blistering going on. Washing bedsheets as we speak. I guess you should for awhile, not sure how long it is still contagious. Fun times!


Hello out there. If you liked this post, please leave a comment so I keep writing!