In high school I began getting weekly allergy shots to help. I took the prescribed allergy medicine, and unlike the better versions today, those medicines made me extremely drowsy. During allergy season I also constantly had red eyes. I am convinced my teachers all believed I was a stoner – sleepy and red-eyed, I certainly fit the bill. I was hopeful when I moved up to Washington State right after college that maybe I wouldn’t be as bad up there, but I was very mistaken. Apparently I am extremely allergic to Rhododendrons. Here in Arizona, the Mesquite trees are my nemesis. Once on a trip to California, I had such a strong reaction to the orange blossoms that I almost had to go to the emergency room. If it smells sweet and pretty when in bloom, I am allergic to it.
This time of year I always face a great internal struggle; I want to open all the windows and let in the beautiful fresh air but then I struggle with the pollen or I close all the windows trying to avoid anything that might make me sneeze (which is pretty much everything). One doctor that I went to years ago tried to convince me to get rid of all the rugs in the house and put my pillows in plastic. It reminded me of that really horrible movie back in the 1970’s where John Travolta played the boy in the plastic bubble.
It isn’t just plants, I am also allergic to dust, dogs – really any animal dander. One year my former husband was trying to be sweet and he brought home an adorable Guinea pig that we named Truffles. When I picked up the guinea pig and held it (he was extremely friendly and liked to snuggle) I could tell my nose was getting stuffy, but it wasn’t until my daughters came over and asked if I was okay, that I realized how allergic I was. My eyes were bloodshot red and began to swell almost completely shut. I figured out that small rodents and I don’t mix.
I love this time of year – I always want to go outside, but it can be a challenge. I don’t need the Meteorologist on TV to tell me the pollen count, I can accurately tell you the pollen count based on my congestion level. I continue to take my pills and nose spray. I wish I had stock in Kleenex this time of year. I really do love springtime – just not all of the sneezing, stuffy noses and itchy eyes that go along with it.