Monday, April 12, 2010

Rant #231: I Sneeze, You Sneeze, We All Sneeze

I have had problems with allergies since I was a little kid growing up in Queens, New York.

And all of these years later, I still have problems with my allergies.

I suffered as a kid something terrible. Back then, the science of allergies wasn't really there yet. Food allergies could be pinpointed pretty easily, but once you got beyond dust and pollen, the other allergies really weren't targeted yet.

I remember not being able to eat as I was sniffling up a storm. I remember that there was a period that I missed a day a week of school for about a month or six weeks at a time.

Then, in the early 1970s, a test was finally developed to chart allergies beyond the basics. I remember that you had to lay your arm flat, and they would inject solution into your arm, in two rows, with a device that resembled a staple gun. Any one of the patches that these injections developed that puffed up meant that you were allergic to the substance.

Of course, the indentations that this device made to my arm were incredible; the cure appeared to be worse than the disease, and I had to wear long shirts for about a month during one summer because of this procedure.

Anyway, although this test found that I had no food allergies, I was allergic to dust and pollen (no surprise), but also horse hair, something called the Jerome tree or bush (I don't recall which one, or perhaps it was both), and the entire season of fall, when the weather suddenly changes.

At 15 years of age, I began getting allergy shots once per month, and nearly 38 years later, I still get them, never stopping. My arms are pin cushions, but I am so used to it that I don't even flinch.

In today's world, the test is so much simpler. It is simply a blood test, and takes as long as it does to draw a vial of blood out of you. Back then, that staple gun test took an entire afternoon.

But now I read that this year is one of the worst, if not the worst, season ever for those suffering from allergies. The wet weather during the last part of the winter and early spring has made the pollen count extremely high.

And I don't have to tell you, I have been suffering greatly as we enter the middle of April.

I am often stuffy, can't breathe, and I am constantly clearing my throat. I have had a couple of bad allergy attacks, where I think that I won't ever stop wheezing and coughing.

And no, I do not has asthma, thank goodness. This is just plain allergies, nothing more.

I can only imagine what asthma sufferers are going through.

What can one do about it?

Pretty much nothing. I have learned that you have to go with the flow. Some days are better than others.

I am so used to this that I just have learned to grin and bear it.

But I can tell you, it isn't pretty. Having allergies is a curse, and unfortunately, I guess I am cursed for life.

There is pretty much nothing I can do about it, but continue to take my shots. I have to go to the allergist to get my shots in two weeks, and I can't wait.

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