Amateur Herbalism (reposted here)
I've been collecting up herbs for a while in hopes that eventually I'll start making ritual/magical items for sale...soaps, bath salts, incenses and other kinds of crafting. This is not really an unheard-of activity amongst the flurry of people labeling themselves in the same general direction as I am.
However....one must proceed with caution.
Time after time, I've come across a nice quantity of something, looked at it both magically and medicinally....or seen it and thought, "Hmm...what could I use this for?" Stashed away in a dark cabinet in sealed jars, the collection has kept growing. A friend recently came to me and asked if I could help them find a blend of an herbal nature.
With a great amount of zeal, I went straight-away to looking at properties, balancing smells, breaking out the 'ole pestle and mortar and grinding away happily.
The first unwritten rule of herbalism - take great care to never wipe your face or any part of your body if you are using herbs you've never used before.
The second? If you think you might have, then wash immediately.
And the third? You can never be too careful.
So, the next evening, I decided that the allergic reaction was so bad, I had to go to one of those walk-in clinics (it was last Saturday, the doctor's offices were closed). When I finally got around to seeing somebody, my left eye was swollen almost completely shut and it was weeping in a feeble way. Annoyed, I was just working on relaxed breathing. The lady took one look at me and started rattling off stuff and writing hurriedly in the little folder that people generally get (mine's probably getting fuller). I heard the measurement "cc's" and asked politely, "Excuse me, what are you giving me?"
"An IV. This needs to go into your system immediately." She begins calling down the hall for a nurse practitioner.
"UM,....no disrespect meant, but I'm not about to get an IV in a walk-in clinic. Can you put it in a shot?"
"I am....REALLY...bad with needles. A HUGE baby. I can't take an IV. And my veins are small. Tiny. Minuscule. I'll be a pincushion for hours...." (Which really is no lie, everyone always had a damned time trying to tap a vein on me...) I brandish the insides of my elbows with great enthusiasm.
"Fine. And I'm going to give you *some measurement of some sort of drug here*, but you need to take Zantac and Benedryl over that as well. As long as needed. And if anything else happens, go to the ER IMMEDIATELY."
"Uh, sure. No problem."
"Did you actually drive yourself here?"
*long-suffering eye-roll* "The nurse will be with you momentarily."
At which point, a marvelous woman came in, used my butt as a dart board, scored a perfect bulls-eye, and was slapping a band-aid on my ass before I could say, "Needles make me squeamish." I really could have hugged her.
(And a LOT of people find this amusing, because I used to pierce and tattoo....yet, if you look at me, for the tattoos I have, I've never really gotten more than my ears pierced. Why, you ask? Why the hell would I stick a perfectly good piece of flesh with a hollow needle and gouge out a chunk? Are you crazy?)
Now this does kind of daunt me some. Because the redhead, the partner in crime in this endeavour, is probably as allergic to crap as I am. BUT....we're still willing to give it a go. Just...more precautions. Ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure and all that. It's just taking it easier and going a bit slower at it.
So...for Yule, you people might wind up with homemade stuff. Mead. Wine. Soap. Whatever. For gifts, you get to be guinea pigs. So there. :P