Fuck you, weed of the devil!
For most people, poison oak is not that big of a deal and if anything is a minor annoyance, unless that person has rolled in it. However, for The Donist, poison oak is a nightmare from hell that never ends...at least not without a visit to the doctor ($25 co-pay) and a follow up to the pharmacy ($20 co-pay) for some Prednisone. When I come into contact with this weed of the devil, I have all of the normal reactions that a person may experience (itching, red rash, oozing sores, discomfort), but it is the very abnormal secondary effects that are by far the worst.
I hate you with every fiber of my being.
For me, once the rash begins to disappear, after weeks of torment and without medication, a secondary rash occurs under the skin of my knuckles and under the skin on the palms of my hands. It all starts as a little dot here and a little dot there, but others quickly sprout up to the point that my hands throb with pain and I have difficulty bending them. This painful effect is reluctant to leave my body without the aid of prednisone and will continue until I begin to take the pills. I remember with horror the time that I did not have health insurance and suffered for about a month as poison oak ravaged my body and the secondary effect crippled my hands until I coughed up the cash to go to the emergency room and was prescribed the pills; the following day after taking my first round of pills things were already better. The funny (not really) thing about this incident was that I had not even gone hiking, but I had used the phone after my roommate, who had gone on a hike, and hugged his dog, who must have been covered in the toxic oil, because it f_ed me up something fierce.
Don't hug me, bro.
Another side note about hiking that begs to be mentioned is that if you are male and have been in the woods and suspect that you have come in contact with poison oak, then by all that is sacred and good, do not pee in the woods, unless you can do it hands free. DON'T DO IT. If you don't know what I am talking about, just think about it for a second. Consider the ramifications. I have had poison oak on the royal Donist pee-pee on about four occasions in my lifetime and for those torturous weeks questioned my will to live. Trust me, the shit is unpleasant to degrees that someone who has not suffered through it will ever understand. Also, imagine having to go to work in the hot summer, wearing long pants and helping customers at the music store all day...I must have been very unpleasant to be around. Just thinking about the last time four years ago and I can feel ice coursing through my veins and extreme shrinkage setting in. Ghastly.
So, today at work, I will sit in my cubicle and stare at my arms every five minutes whispering to myself, "Please don't let it be poison oak. Please don't let it be poison oak. Fucking-A please do not let it be poison oak." If I do not have it by Friday, I should be in the clear. 48 hours and counting down.