A few weeks ago I came into contact with Poison Oak in California while hiking. After 48 hours (and over the course of the next three days following) of initial contact I started to break out into an uncomfortable rash on my legs. Initially, I thought I had been bitten by some bugs, possibly mosquitoes, ants, or fleas. However, after noticing that the red spots were showing up in patches on four different parts of my legs, I started to question my recent interactions. I thought possibly I had an allergic reaction to a food product, but I hadn’t eaten anything out of the ordinary. After finally discovering that I had been affected by Poison Oak, I have been trying to manage the intense itching sensation and discomfort with cool water, Benadryl, and various creams.
After much research on Poison Oak, I have learned that it could take anywhere from ten days to three weeks to heal completely and for persons with sensitive skin potentially six weeks. Unfortunately, there isn’t any real “treatment” for mild cases of Poison Oak other than various at home remedies and strategies to manage the itching and swelling (i.e. cool water, ice packs, baking soda baths, camomile lotion, Benadryl, cortisone creams, etc…) Three weeks have gone by and I am on my way to recovery; I have a feeling that I will be one of those people who will need the six weeks to completely heal. Luckily, it cannot get any worse; I have lived through the worst of it.
Fortunately for me, I have a very mild case of Poison Oak (other than one small moderate case on my left ankle). I’m blessed to not have been affected as bad as it could have been. Apparently sever cases of Poison Oak can be extremely serious and debilitating. My mild case of Poison Oak hasn’t slowed me down! I’m still traveling and sightseeing as I normally would. I didn’t anticipate coming into contact with Poison Oak, yet I often don’t think anything will go wrong when I am traveling. I’ve learned that it is essential to go with the flow when traveling because I never know what situation I might face or what will come. During my travels thus far, I have run into a few circumstances where I have had to be patient and just go with the flow.
When traveling, I learn more about myself than I could otherwise because I am forced into situations I wouldn’t normally experience. I have experienced oversold flights (missed flights), delays, getting stuck at the airport, sleeping in a city I didn’t intend to be in, computer systems being down and unable to find my confirmation, catching connections during the middle of the night, traveling for 24 hours straight, walking to a bus station alone at night with all of my luggage in a large city, having no access to a restroom, taking a 14 hour bus ride, and the kicker… poison oak; I’m learning so much about perseverance. Through it all, these life experiences continue to teach new lessons. They also give me more stories to tell! I have to keep reminding myself to go with the flow (I’m trying to!) even when I encounter difficult situations, because that’s a part of the traveling life.
“Life’s a beach, enjoy the waves” -Unknown