Last Tuesday, Ethan came barreling into the house. “Mommy! George is in the poison ivy!”
I sighed. We’ve been cleaning out the back yard for a few weeks now, and there is one (ONE!) single poison ivy plant in the back yard now. George pointed it out to the boys last weekend and said “Stay away from this. It will make you itchy.”
I told him to tell George to come inside and wash his hands. Who knows if he even touched it? I didn’t want to take any chances.
Georgie came into the dining room. “Mommy? My eye hurts.”
And this is what it looked like:
I felt my heart start to beat a little faster, but I didn’t want to freak him out.
“Georgie? Did you get into the poison ivy?” Of course, he denied it. Finally he came clean, and I took him into the bathroom, had him wash his hands and face, then put cool washcloths on his eye. And called the pediatrician. And when they told me to bring him in right away, I called George to tell him what had happened.
Fortunately, Stella was just getting up from her nap and I was able to get her changed and the boys into the bathroom, close up the garage, grab a box of goldfish crackers and a few juice boxes in about 10 minutes. Which is miraculous, since it normally takes an absolute minimum of 1/2 hour to get out of the house. I texted my friend Dawn, and she suggested putting mittens on him to keep him from scratching at his eyes; we had a spare pair in the van, so I had him put them on and hold Boo Boo Bob the Builder on his eye as a cold compress. I kept asking him “How are you doing, George?” on the way, planning to take him straight to the ER if he stopped breathing.
Our normal pediatrician wasn’t available, but one of the peds in the practice saw us, and as soon as she saw George’s eye she asked, “Are you sure that there wasn’t any other sort of injury? Like a stick in the eye?” I asked George and he said, “No, I just touched the poison ivy.”
She sent us downstairs to the ophthalmologist, who told us it was the worst case of acute chemosis she’d seen in twenty years. She started him on eye drops, which he took very well. Dr. Thomas said she was surprised by how well he did; she’s seen 8-year-olds cry and refuse the drops, but George didn’t cry once. He didn’t seem to respond to the medication at first, and both doctors thought we might be sending him to the Rainbow ER.
Finally the swelling started to go down. So they sent us home with a prescription for oral steroids, eye drops, eye ointment, an antibiotic, Benadryl and instructions to take him to the ER if he started swelling at all. I stripped him and put him into the tub as soon as we got home, and threw his clothes and tennis shoes into a Sanitary wash cycle.
When George got home, he looked at George’s eye (the swelling had gone down considerably) and said, “If I’d seen this, I would have told you to go straight to the ER.”
Yeah. Well, fortunately everything worked out, the doctors saw him immediately and we were able to avoid an ER trip. Which would have been terrible, with three little kids.
I made it until just after dinner before I started crying.
Follow up visits the next day were fine; his eye was almost 80% back to normal, and it was obvious the medication worked. On Friday we had several trees taken down in the back yard, and when they ground out the stumps, the poison ivy was eradicated.
Let’s hope we don’t have to deal with this again any time soon.