Nothing felt abnormal or different when I woke up. I did what I do every Tuesday morning. I grabbed my phone off the stand and checked the time. I begrudgingly sat up, perched on the edge of the bed with my feet dangled for a few minutes.
Moments later I made my way to the bathroom in a morning state that only my husband has the pleasure of witnessing, messy bun high and stray hairs wild. What I saw looking back at me was anything but normal though, not because of a hard night’s rest or a backwards sleep shirt.
No, what I saw in the reflection could only be viewed from a one-sided perspective. That’s because my left eye was swollen shut, and it wasn’t like that when I went to sleep.
Taking my dramatic introduction to this story aside, I did feel quite a bit of panic. My assumption is most people would experience a normal amount of concern at such an unexpected sight. Mine escalated for selfish but human reasons though.
It was Tuesday. My firstborn’s baby shower was scheduled for Saturday, an occasion sure to be well documented visually for years to come. All I could repeatedly think was “Dear God, I cannot look like this by Saturday.” (Take me as vain or relate to me as normal. I’m just being honest!)
My unofficial experience and training from WebMD and Google took over. I assumed a doctor’s visit was pointless because I’m limited in what can be given to me in almost my third trimester (this was later confirmed in a last ditch effort of an ER visit. They couldn’t offer me anything to help).
The next few hours were easily filled with anything therapeutic in my pantry or fridge ending up on my face (ice, honey, cucumber, etc.) while I practiced the art of sleuthing, mentally revisiting ever action I had taken over the last few days that led to this point.
What I had once thought were infected mosquito bites days prior was soon deduced to instead be a severe case of exposure to poison sumac – poison ivy and poison oak’s lesser known ugly brother-cousin.
What could have been contained to a normal bought of exposure grew continuously for four days simply because 1) I didn’t realize I had touched it and 2) I proceeded to do laundry… on my bed… right after gardening instead of showering. In short, I was using towels and sleeping in sheets for four nights that had the plant’s oil all over it.
Fun fact I learned through this process: Clearly I’m allergic to the poisonous trifecta. Clearly my husband is not. #imnotbitter