Documenting the week from Hell as best as I can remember it:

Saturday, August 6th, I pulled up a poison oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum) vine by the roots, folded it up, and stuffed it in a garbage bag. Washed myself well afterwards in tepid water while my lady washed my clothes, including my shoes.

Sunday morning, all seemed well. But by the afternoon, my crotch started itching, more than usual. By Monday morning the penis shaft and head were swollen to about half again normal (flaccid) girth. By evening, a rash had developed on my right arm, followed by the right side of the torso.

Tuesday, both penis and balls were swollen, and the left side mirrored the right.

Wednesday, swelling started receding in the crotch, and by evening was gone. Still more itchy than normal, though. All the other rash is still present late Thursday afternoon. I've been releasing the histamines, and thus blunting the discomfort, every few hours with near-scalding showers, since Tuesday evening.

The Zanfel FAQ page says "Don't handle the plants unless you wear protective gloves. Avoid touching cut or mown plants. Don't directly pull on the stems or try to remove vines with bare hands." to avoid systemic reactions. So that's what I most likely got. I'm tempted to try doing the same thing for a few more weekends in the attempt to develop immune tolerance, as per R. Coifman's experiment, using the systemic dose as a less-accurate but also, possibly, less dangerous alternative to intramuscular injection.

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