On my way to work on Monday, I shut a part of my body in the car door.
This happens often, actually. I’ve shut my fingers in there more than once, and when I had long hair, it would get caught in the door all the time. I wouldn’t notice this until I whipped my head around to try to execute a tricky merge. I’d merge alright, but I’d have to check later for bald spots.
I’ve been alive for more than a quarter of a century and I have no idea who I am.
Sure, I know some stuff about me. I know what I like — animals, smoothies, puns — and I know what I dislike — snakes, human papillomavirus, celery. I know I’m five-foot-four. (Fine. I’m five-foot-three-and-a-quarter.) I know I’m a brunette. (Fine. I know I’m blonde and ashamed of it.) I know my people came from Oklahoma, and way before that some of them were kicked out of Scotland. I know I’m good at writing and bad at confrontation. I know I don’t believe in ghosts unless I’m in a creepy basement and that I believe in miracles since you came along.
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:
The following post is real crazy. If you’re not into crazy, and just into tribute videos to housecats and fun facts about the Muppets, go watch this and then subscribe to my YouTube channel, Life & Steph.
When we hit 100 subscribers, we get a fancy vanity URL. I’ll be honest with you guys. I’m so vain, I probably think the YouTube channel named after me is about me.
Hello! I’m so glad you’re here! Thank you so much for agreeing to help me out this week. Things have just been so crazy at work lately. And at home. And while I’m lying in the dark with my eyes shut, trying my very best to be unconscious. Well, you know how it is.
This morning I looked in the mirror and hardly knew who I was looking at. Stephanie, I thought, you need a break! And then I tried to stop thinking right away because that’s what I need a break from. This ceaseless hustle and bustle in my head. I can’t turn it off. I can’t stop thinking. I need a vacation from my brain, and that’s why you’re here.
I’m not good with feelings. I don’t like my own emotional reactions because I haven’t figured out how to control them very well. I really don’t like other people’s emotional reactions because they leave me flapping my hands in distress and making faces that apparently are not comforting.