4/05/2010

Beware the Limes!

Those of my readers who follow my Twitter and Facebook streams know what I'm talking about.  But I held off in writing this post until I could do it with a bit of distance and after some healing.  I swear I'm not usually a drama queen.  Just sit back and listen. 

It all started when my neighbor saw me arrive home in my new Malibu last Saturday and ran down the street to chat.  (btw don't forget if you're in TX to visit the Girlfriend Getaway site and vote for me...pretty please?)  So my friend announced that a few of the neighbors had decided to host a block party cocktail throwdown the following night.  My neighborhood kind of rocks like that.  One neighbor was making mojitos, another had a killer margarita recipe.  It was set to be a contest of sorts, so I needed something better than the usual Captain and Coke.  So I threw out a Tweet and instantly had dozens of great suggestions. 

The one I decided to try was suggested by Elz but it was Karen Walrond's (otherwise known as Chookooloonks) Trinidadian rum punch recipe.  She warned it was dangerous, but I don't think she meant what happened to me.  It's basically lime juice, simple syrup and golden rum, so I thought I could handle that.  Karen specifically says you need to use fresh squeezed lime juice to make it correctly, 2 cups worth, so I bought about a dozen and a half limes and started squeezing.  By hand.  Because I don't have a juicer.  Yeah that kind of sucked.  My hands are small and not that strong...after a few limes I realized what a workout this was going to be.  I kept dropping limes into the juice and having to fish them back out.  My hands, my clothes, my utensils...everything was sweet and sticky with juice.  But I finished the recipe, along with buffalo chicken dip and a tray of Tex Mex Chicken melts and headed outside to our party in the cul-de-sac. 

The party was fun, we had to mostly sip things because there were so many very good, very strong drinks.  As parents of young children we wrapped things up by 8pm and headed inside.  On Monday I had my scheduled massage with my friend Kristi at Massage Envy...the first full body massage I'd ever had.  It was heaven and I made a fun video about it here.  Everything else was totally normal.  Then Tuesday morning I woke up and immediately noticed my hands hurt.  They were rashy, with tiny bumps all along the outsides of my thumbs and fingers.  I felt a burning sensation and my right hand looked especially large.  I was mystified. 

I thought it was a sunburn, but the location was so odd. I thought it might be from driving the Malibu, holding my hands at the top of the steering wheel, driving during mid-day when the sun is hottest in Texas.  My husband and my friends were skeptical of such an explanation.  But the pain kept getting worse, the bumps turned into big ugly blisters and I was in agony.  I tried aloe, Benadryl, lidocaine, hydrocortizone, peppermint lotion...everything I could think of.  I kept a bowl of ice next to me while I worked and alternately plunged my left hand in, dried it off and stuck my right hand in so I could work. 

Finally on Tuesday night I remember the limes and Googled "lime burns". Bingo! Phytophotodermatitis. Apparently some toxin in the lime juice reacts with UV light to create this burns.  Otherwise known as Club Med syndrome.  I seemed to have a pretty bad case of it, as cases go.  I wasn't sleeping much at night, and only once I doused my hands in Gold Bond powder and wrapped them tightly in Saran wrap.  Weird, huh?  I tried calling the doctor on Wed but they couldn't see me till Thursday.  Finally on Thursday I went it, got a prescription oral steroid, and by the end of the day the pain, burning and itchy had subsided significantly. 

Now the swelling is down but my hands are still darkly pigmented, a side effect that may last up to a year according to what I've read.  And at the moment they look dried up and leathery with cracks where the blisters were.  It's kinda gross.  But the rum punch? Yummy :)

6 comments:

Debbie Eguia said...

I'd never heard of such a thing. Wow! I thought the sun burn thing was strange too but didn't want to say. LOL Glad you're better.

running42k said...

Like Debbie I also have never heard of that, but if you have sensitive skin, the high acid levels of a lemon or lime could indeed do that.

Classy Mommy said...

What a weird random injury.You poor girl. Crazy about the lime juice and UV causing burns. Hopefully the skin heals soon and at least the steroids relieved the pain and swelling. Get well soon!

Elz said...

I felt SO bad after I suggested the recipe and then you had a terrible reaction. I hope you won't hold it against me. You need to buy a juicer so you won't get burned next time?!

Monica said...

Thank you for posting this! You don't know me but the same thing happened to me this weekend and yours was one of the few sites that could help me explain what happened. I have not developed blisters...yet...do you have any suggestions for what I should do? Should I go to the doc right away?

Mainline Mom said...

Monica,

If it really really burns or starts to blister, I would head straight to the doc and ask for an oral steroid, like Prednisone. It was the only thing that helped me, and it helped almost immediately! :)

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