Women’s Independent Press

Informing Women About Our World


April 17, 2011 By: admin Category: Humor

Julie A. Monzi          
                                                           By Julie Ann Monzi

 When our children were young, our family spent vacations at my parents’ house near Pittsburgh.
The kids loved playing in the huge backyard and swimming in the pool.
 On a summer visit many years ago, my then-four-year-old daughter, Abby, who has autism, came down with a fever.
My mom and I kept her comfortable and hydrated. Two days later and still no change in her temperature, I called a local pediatrician.
He was an older doctor, the father of a former high school classmate. Abby was non-verbal so he checked her
thoroughly and finally prescribed penicillin. She hated the taste but took it fairly well.
 The next morning Abby had a small rash. Just little bumps on her arms, neck, and face. I called the pediatrician immediately.
“It’s probably an allergic reaction so stop giving her the antibiotic,” he said.
As we left for home the next day, her rash looked a little more prominent. I decided to schedule an appointment with her regular pediatrician.
In the morning, I woke her up and gasped. Abby’s face was swollen with one eye almost all the way closed. She looked like she’d been punched.
 The rash covered her cheeks and arms.
At the pediatrician’s office, the doctor walked into the exam room and immediately said in a sing-song voice, “I know what’s going on here.
Someone got into the poison.”
 Poison?!!! My mind was reeling. The doctor continued talking and making notes in Abby’s chart, but all I could focus on was that my
 daughter, my baby, had gotten into poison, somewhere, somehow.
 My first thought was my parents’ basement. She played down there and maybe got into the cleaners under the laundry area sink.
That had to be it! At home I kept everything locked up.
 “My parents’ basement,” I told the doctor breathlessly. “That’s where it could have been.” What if I couldn’t figure it out?
Would my daughter get poisoned again?
 The doctor looked at me like I had two heads. “No. It grows outside.”
 My mind was still reeling. Outside? What could she have gotten into outside?
 “Wait a minute! My dad sprinkled something on his flower garden. That must be it!” I was getting frantic.
 “No, no, no,” the doctor said. “It’s a plant. It grows outside.”
 “A plant?” I shook my head in confusion.
 “Yes, a plant. You know. Like poison ivy.”
 “Poison ivy?” What was he talking about? “But you said poison.”
 “Yes, there is poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.”
 I felt relieved and irritated all at once. “But you said poison, not poison ivy. Poison is bleach, poison is cleaner, poison is Drano.”
 “But poison could be any one of those plants not just one. That’s what it’s called. Poison.”
 “Well, I’ve never heard it called that before.”
 So I got a lesson in botany, and my daughter got a prescription for her “poison”. And I learned a new vocabulary lesson: it may
be poison ivy in Pittsburgh, but in Gettysburg it’s just plain poison.

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