Musings of an allergy sufferer

I moved back to Northern California right in time for allergy season. This may have been a fail of epic proportions on my part.

Whilst growing up in Napa, I was constantly trying to stay one step ahead of the allergy game. Generic Benadryl and I got to be good friends early in life and I have the distinct memory of my backpack disseminating baby rattle-like sounds as I moved, thanks to the bottle of Chlor-tabs I was forced to constantly carry around with me. It always made for an interesting time during softball season, especially on the days in which the school district would mow the outfield grass, because I would try to fend off allergies without pills in an effort to avoid being in a sleepy daze during games.

The familiar post-practice/game routine included a super-hot shower to steam the pollen from my body, which was promptly followed by laying on my bed with a cool washcloth over my swollen eyes and tiny pieces of Kleenex shoved up my red nose, waiting for those pills to work their magic.

It was a treat for all who saw and lived with me.

Since my arrival home almost two months ago, I have been only mildly affected. I contributed my waning use of kleenex to a daily dose of Zyrtec, which I take year-round, whether I feel allergy-ish or not, so that it stays in my system 24/7.

I watched The Today Show one morning a couple weeks ago on which they did a piece about seasonal allergies being worse than ever this year and I remember seeing a map of the United States. For the most part, the entire country was under “Orange Alert,” indicating moderate allergy areas. Georgia, parts of Mississippi and Texas, along with Arizona and portions of other southern states were shaded red, deeming them severe allergy areas.

California was orange.

I beg to differ Today Show. I would like to see the aforementioned map again and even if California, in general is only moderate, there should be a big red dot, not unlike a Target logo, right over Napa.

Because I can assure you, it’s bad here.

They attributed the spike in allergies to the fact that it’s mid-April and it’s still raining. A lot. Therefore, Dr. Nancy said the flowers/trees and any other pollen-infested plants think at the slightest bit of sunshine they had better get their grow on, since, you know, it’s April, only to be stunted by an onslaught of more rain. Awesome. Thus starting the process again. That is, of course, the abridged version, but it essentially explains why, to an allergy sufferer, a sunny spring day (preceded by two rainy days) is likened to a day in which one repeatedly steps in dog poop.

Since moving home, I have felt the slight nose itch/sniffling/watery eyes trying to break through my Zrytec force field but usually I can shower it away or stay indoors to alleviate the ominous first signs of allergy season. Today, however, is a different story.

Today, I considered cutting my nose off.


I am awakened every morning, around the same time (usually 10 minutes before I actually have to get out of bed) with a stuffy nose. Apparently 6.5 hours is the maximum time my body will allow me to go without blowing my nose. I went through my first box of Kleenex this way. I slept with said box so I wouldn’t be forced to get out of bed to alleviate the problem. Hey, that’s ten whole minutes of extra snoozing, people. That’s worth it. But I ran out of the Kleenex and haven’t been to the store to buy more.

So today, much to my chagrin, I woke up 10 minutes before the alarm was set to go off, as per usual, and kicked off my morning routine by a trip to the toilet paper roll. Only today, the nagging allergy-ish feeling didn’t go away. Today I fixed lunches while blinking back tears (from only one eye) and made coffee while perfecting the art of my “kitchen sneeze” in which I bury my head in the crook of my arm.

I popped another allergy pill, thinking the daytime cold medicine would help, but alas. Nothing. My dad asked if I had brought in the newspapers yet and my response was that there was no way I was going out into that pollen storm we call ‘outside’.

In an effort to keep pollen from entering my system, I also considered going to work like this:

(Special thanks to my brother Ted for unknowingly letting me use his do-rag which was living in the dresser that I share with him.)

Note the red, watery eyes that made trying to put makeup on this morning pointless. And while you can’t see it, trust me when I tell you that my nose was equally as red, mostly because of the paper towel I had to use out of desperation during an impromptu sneezing fit after going outside to let the dog out this morning.

I decided against the do-rag-turned-allergy-shield, however, because I had a meeting with a potential client and figured that they probably didn’t see the benefit of having Jesse James’ kid sister plan their corporate event. I was also told by my father that I would not be allowed into his place of employment with my allergy shield on, thus making my errand of banking more difficult.

So instead, I went to work, sans makeup, and went through approximately three-fourths of a box of Kleenex while putting together proposals and contracts, all the while thinking that California needs to gets its act together and call it summer already so I can return to my peaceful existence.

3 comments on “Musings of an allergy sufferer

  1. OMG. I’m going to end up on a no-fly list! This is horrible! It’s not my fault I can’t breathe the air from March through June! I had no choice but to wear that thing. I didn’t have access to a surgical mask!!

  2. I think you’ll be fine. Besides, they’ll just put your middle+last name on the no-fly list, and you can fly under first+last.

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