Chickadeedee Rash and the Cucumber of Doom

By Mir
July 26, 2010

We’re headed back to the Big City today to discuss Chickadee’s rash. AGAIN. School starts up in a couple of weeks, and thus far our summer with The Experts at Emory has yielded… oh, that’s right, A HORRIBLE RASH. Technically the rash is not their fault, but I must say that my hopes that we’d finally resolve this little problem—you know, three years after it began—are fading. The rash itself, however? NOT FADING. But at least we’ve had her off steroids and any sort of antihistamine in preparation for the repeat nickel patch test which… was canceled. Awesome.

[Sidebar: I may just climb up on the exam table today and hold my daughter aloft while drawing circles on her stomach with Sharpie, just to point out that everything I’ve read about nickel allergy dermatitis says IT STARTS ON THE STOMACH if you wear jeans with any sort of regularity (and she wears them every damn day, on account of her legs are all rashy and she mostly refuses to wear shorts). The ONE place she doesn’t have a rash? HER STOMACH. So. Yeah, let’s do backflips to have THAT test, because it’s going to be so useful.]

It’s possible I’m a little worked up about this. Good thing I hide it so well.


Anyway. Okay, let’s switch gears. Because as we all know, I can talk about this forever and steam will come out of my ears, but it accomplishes nothing other than just making me more frustrated than I already am. So! Topic change!

A couple of people asked about the cucumber referenced in the last post. It’s true; although our garden was being tended in our absence, we had a crouching vine, hidden cucumber in our midst. It was SO hidden, in fact, that I didn’t find it, myself, until a couple of days after we got back.

I have my cucumber vines trellised, this year, which I love, because it solves the problem of vines creeping all over the garden and trying to strangle my other plants. And I figured that the fruit would be easy to see on a WHITE trellis, too. And generally that’s the case, but somehow this particular cucumber started growing right at the corner of the trellis frame, and then… I don’t even know how it managed, really… this cucumber grew UNDER the trelliswork, between the trellis and the frame. And then, of course, there’s vines all over the trellis, covering what was happening. So I found it when the trellis started pulling away from the frame much higher up, actually, and then traced it down to this huge hidden bulge, which turned out to be a monster, mutant cucumber wedged in there.

Now, maybe you think I’m exaggerating about the cucumber. Or maybe you think I just don’t know how big cukes are supposed to grow. Either of this would be a fair assumption, both because I’m given to exaggeration and because last year’s cucumbers were midgets. But listen, I am telling you, THIS WAS INSANE.

Here’s a couple of other cukes from my garden, found at the same time:

The one on top is what I consider normal cucumber size. It looks like a cucumber you’d get at the supermarket. The one on the bottom is actually kind of large. Largish. It’s bigger around and definitely much bigger than any cuke I’ve ever seen at the store.

I asked Otto to take a picture of The Mutant with something else, for scale. Because he is an electronics geek, he chose a battery:

And that’s fine, and all, but I know that I found it a little hard, even with the battery, to wrap my head around the size of that thing. So after he took that really nice photo, I went ahead and took another, crappy, one.

Here’s the same two cukes from above, with The Mutant:

I’m sorry to report that the mutant went directly into the compost, because its sickly yellow color concerned me in terms of actual edibility. But it was pretty entertaining, nonetheless.

Maybe I should’ve saved it, to take to Emory with us today. Doc gives the wrong answer, she gets whacked with a giant cucumber. I think that would TOTALLY get things cleared up in a hurry, don’t you?


  1. Nelson's Mama

    My parent’s have a big garden and every now and again you’ll find one of those huge guys lurking among the vines! Daddy gives them the old heave-ho into the soybean field that’s next to the garden.

  2. StephLove

    We get one or two or three of those hidden, giant yellow cukes every summer. I’ve heard you can cut them open and dry the seeds for planting next year. (The seeds in edible cukes aren’t mature yet.) I have never tried it though.

  3. Kelly

    Maybe you can stop by the gluten-free bakery while in Atlanta to make up for the visit?

  4. dad

    What? You threw it in the compost heap?Who knows what biological progression might take place; say microbes devour the evil mutant cucumber. Then small insects ingest the microbes. Then larger insects eat the smaller ones….Pretty soon there are mosquitos the size of crows everywhere….

    What if a new mutant species of insects only feeds on kudzu?

    Well I guess it’s not all bad.
    Aint it great to be home?

  5. midj

    What a story the doc would have… “She whacked me with a giant, mutant cucumber, I swear….!” Funny visual. :-)

  6. elz

    Good luck actually getting answers. We’re only on month 1 and I’m so frustrtaed with no answers I could spit. By year 3? Well, I’d be wearing wigs b/c my hair would be all pulled out! Hey…maybe I’d save some money on hair cuts, color, accessoires that way….hmm

  7. Megan

    I agree with your dad – next summer when we’re all running screaming down the streets chased by enormous, pallid squirrels and other (supposedly) harmless woodland critters, you’ll be sorry.

    On the other hand, it will make for an excellent movie!

  8. Aimee

    I think you should buy one of those giant English cucumbers that could double as a baseball bat and bring that with you. That’ll scare ’em!

  9. Billie

    I have been reading about Chickadee’s rash problem for quite a while. I’d guess that it is not likely what I’m about to suggest, but what the heck, you have been trying to diagnose this for three years.

    I was just wondering, has anybody ever looked at a possible histamine problem? I have this issue where I break out in hives/rash (my back, arms, legs, neck and face and I’ve never had it on my stomach and I don’t know why). This is quite easy to test for. Using your fingernail (or other hard item like a clicky pen without the pen up), scratch a line (or 3 when my doctor did it to me). Wait a few minutes. Does the line raise up to a welt with a lot of bumps within the welt? This is an indication of high histamine levels and is pretty treatable. I take an Allegra every day and don’t have to deal with the itch and rash.

  10. Rachel

    Heh, Mir’s Dad, There ARE mosquitoes the size of crows everywhere in North Dakota, but those are just average run of the mill North Dakota mosquitoes! = )

    I hope your trip is worthwhile, Mir & Chickie.

  11. marianne

    Have they checked to see if maybe it is some diet/nutritional deficiency? I know from reading your blog you are a great mom and I am sure you make sure her diet is balanced. Maybe it is something she is missing from being a vegetarian? Just a guess, although you probably already thought of it :)

  12. sara

    I had the same kind of rash twice in my late twenties. The doctor said sun allergy, and said that it would be hard to figure out the exact reason it flared up each time. It flares up — but not as bad as when it was both arms and legs all over itchy — when I wear any kind of fragrance, and is made worse by direct sun/heat exposure. When I wear only unscented lotion, stay out of the sun for the most part, and use physical sunscreens (I like Burnout sun) I don’t get the all over rash. I have developed eczema lately, especially in the crooks of my arms, which I do get (especially when stressed out) but not the whole body thing anymore.
    I also started using organic hair products and fragrance-free soap and laundry detergent, and started trying to avoid processed food. It is a mystery to me exactly what helped, but I would pinpoint anything with fragrance because that was a common thread for me.
    Good luck!!! I love your blog. I’m a high school special ed teacher, and enjoy your observations of teenage life.

  13. Chuck

    I think “Attack of the giant mutant cucumber” could make for a fun B movie. (“I’ve got a giant cucumber here, and I’m not afraid to use it!”)

    Good luck at the doctor appointment!

  14. Mary

    Have you checked for wheat and gluten allergy? Three years running I’ve been treated for severe poison ivy on my arms legs, neck and face. This year a different doctor tested for wheat and gluten. Turns out I’m intolerant of both which is different than allergic (tell that to my system).

    That is/was one weird cuke!

  15. Half Assed Kitchen

    Oh, my heart just hurts for chickadee. Rashes are just the miserable worst. And I’m sorry you have to go through this, too.

  16. Heather

    I snorted at the mental image of the doc being smacked with the cuke. Thanks ;)

  17. Carmen

    My daughter had the same histamine reaction that Billie mentioned above. We had mystery hives – huge, hand sized welts that looked as if my daughter was severely beaten about the butt and legs – that appeared daily for weeks. After three bottles of Benadryl I was pissed enough that we went to Children’s Hospital, and the allergist gave her Allegra+Zyrtec+benadryl cream+ steroids. They went away and have yet to reappear.

    I know you’ve certainly already tried this, but thought I’d chime in anyway. Good luck today.

  18. Lori N

    Ahh, the battle of the rash continues. Fingers crossed that you don’t need the cucumber for bashing the doc, but what a fabulous visual! (I have dealt with a few people that could have used a cucumber upside the head.)

  19. Katie in MA

    I don’t know if whacking her with the cucumber will work, but it made *me* laugh! And really, wasn’t that the point? :)

  20. Lylah

    I’m blaming the rash on the cuke. It’s a voodoo cucumber. Or a voocucumber. Like that.

  21. Laura

    I had a hidden cuke one time. It was like finding a baby watermelon. We sliced that bad boy up, salted it, and ate it. It was so very mild that the cucumber-hater among us asked “What is this? It’s good!” Next time you find one, eat it.

  22. Jenn

    The last time we had a garden, we planted cucumbers, zucchini and summer squash too close together and they all cross-pollinated. The results were…interesting. They were edible but a little weird.

  23. Michelle

    We use those mutant cukes for our relish. The others we eat or make pickles out of. YUM. Not inedible at all.

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