7/18/22 Journal: Beware Mango Sap

Okay, you know how I’d been bitching about how I went a month-and-a-half always having some stupid ailment? Well, the Saturday before last it was all over. I woke up, had a cup of coffee, and realized, holy shit, I feel great!

Later that afternoon, while wading in the $32 Walmart pool with the kids, I looked up and noticed there was still a huge amount of mangoes in our mango tree. Ours produces very sweet, delicious fruit, and while we’ve already eaten and/or given away a ton of it this season, I couldn’t believe how much was still up near the top of our tree. I decided I better climb up and pick some.

(Cue the “Jaws” theme song)

Let’s back up about 18 years. Hurricane Charley stormed through our area and knocked down my Mom and Dad’s lone mango tree, roots out and everything. They loved that tree, and decided to hire a tree rescue service to save it. They used special equipment to pull the tree upright, tie it up and replant it. It survived and thrived.

That started a little tradition in our family of gathering the mangoes every year. Well, my parents had always done that, but they were limited to what had fallen on the ground. Now it was something where me and some friends would come over and, using a ladder and fruit picker, actually pluck the mangoes off the tree. We’d make a day of it.

I would climb WAY up that tree trying to get the highest mangoes I possibly could. It was a point of pride for me to get the ones my parents deemed “too high”. I’d get mango sap all over me. Never had any problem.

(“Jaws” theme intensifies)

In 2017, while digging the soil in the front yard and not wearing gloves, I scratched my cheek, not knowing I basically used my fingernail to inject impetigo into my face. That same day I climbed up the mango tree and plucked as many mangoes as possible, covering myself with mango sap.

Hey, did you know that mango sap has the same toxic irritant as poison ivy and poison oak?

So, with impetigo in my face, I can only guess my immune system was hypersensitive to the sap. And with both attacking me, I ended up in the hospital.*

*I survived

Me being an idiot in 2017

I’ve had a healthy fear of mango sap every since, but I’d also noticed that when I took chances the last few seasons, nothing bad happened.

So back to the Saturday before last. I decided to climb the tree.

(“Jaws” theme max intensity)

Apparently, I forgot that I’m susceptible to mango burns when my immune system is working in overdrive, and that, hey, maybe that might be the case when I’ve been sick a month and a fucking half.

So, for the last week I’ve been suffering from mango rashes. They got so bad the itching would wake me up at night. Finally, this past Saturday I couldn’t take it anymore. I went to Urgent Care. They prescribed a topical steroid and allergy meds.

Between physical therapy, orthopedic surgeons, dentists, primary care doctors, and now urgent care, it was like the 10th visit to some kind of health facility in the last two months.

I feel better now. The steroid is helping. I hope to God this is it with health care and feeling like shit.

Oh, and I’m never climbing that Goddamn tree again.

For now.

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  • July 18, 2022