Outside, everything is incredibly beautiful and deadly.
I don’t want to be too dramatic, here, but I’m pretty sure that spring is trying to murder me in my sleep.
Fun fact: You can develop an allergic reaction out of the blue any time in your life. One afternoon you’re fixing the same peanut butter sandwich you’ve enjoyed for lunch every day for decades, and the next you’re on the floor in anaphylactic shock, swelling up like one of those expandable water toys. (I don’t really know if you can develop an allergy that extreme so quickly, but it makes you think twice about your next Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, doesn’t it?)
The same thing is happening to me, except instead of peanut butter it’s pretty flowers, and instead of anaphylactic shock, I just have a lot of boogers.
People who have been suffering from allergies for years are getting really tired of my whining. They’re mistaken, though, because I’m not complaining. I’m just talking through a dismaying series of revelations regarding the innumerable horrors pollen can inflict on one person’s body. I learn new things about histamines all the time. For example, one day my back is covered in hives, and the next I can’t hear out of one ear thanks to sinus pressure. Every day is a new adventure!
My symptoms cropped up in early March and all signs point to them continuing through the end of June. That’s a long time to live like this. Long enough that I’ve given up on some dreams. I used to be a person with ambition. Now my only goal is to be awake and breathing at the same time.
Things You Can’t Do When You Have Allergies
- Breathe. I do alright in the daytime, but lying in bed at night is a different story. I was having a horrible time until I discovered pseudoephedrine. That cleared things right up with no weird side effects. Oh wait, that’s not right.
- Eat. Turns out pseudoephedrine is an appetite suppressant. I learned that after a long day at work when I’d forgotten to eat lunch and I still wasn’t hungry at dinner time. My brain was like, “You need to eat stuff or you will die!” and my body was like, “…Eh.” I forgot to eat lunch because I was super-focused on work that day, which is another side effect of the drug. That’s strange. That sounds almost like meth.
- Pass a Drug Test. It sounds like meth because pseudoephedrine is an ingredient in meth! Fun! Until you have to take a drug test as part of a job interview! And you test positive for methamphetamine!
- Sleep. Despite its methy qualities, I kept taking the drug because I value oxygen in my bloodstream. But it’s hard to sleep on an upper, and by the time I finally do fall asleep, it wears off. I’ve been awake at 4:30am every day for five weeks, unable to breathe through my face.
- Stay awake. I tried Benadryl a couple times. It’s a classic for a reason, right? Wrong. The people who recommend Benadryl are clearly sleepwalking through life in some kind of gluey, wavy Benadryl haze. They’re talking crazy and they don’t even know it.
- Wear makeup. I’ve been rubbing my mascara around so much I look like Alice Cooper in a cardigan.
- Talk. My vocal cords are irritated and no one can hear me scream.
Pretty much the only thing I can do is sit quietly, staring emptily into space and trying not to look too high while I wait for the next hive to pop up.
“I’ll be on my game again in July,” I think during brief moments of lucidity. “After July 1, it will all be ok.”
And then some cheerful schmuck says to me, “April showers bring May flowers!”
Please. Please make them stop. Make the flowers stop.
Hey, you like mole people, right? Then you’re gonna love episode two of Life and Steph: