Thursday, July 03, 2008

"Allergy season" is...
Nothing to Sneeze At...

It all started for me at about the age of 10. Our family had moved into a fairly nice place in a (then) underdeveloped part of town. The house sat on a fairly large corner lot, and 26, count 'em, 26 big pine trees were growing on the property. The house was great, and our yard had lots of shade, which came in really handy on hot summer days. Our family moved there in August of 1964, and things were pretty peaceful until long about June 1965. And all of a sudden, I began sneezing my head eyes were constantly irritated, my sinus glands sprung into ceaseless hyper-activity, and my folks didn't know what to do, other than take me to the doctor.

It turned out I had allergies...and still do...rhinusitis, I think "Web M.D." calls it. Pure, unadulterated, living hell. Evidently those afflicted have an abundance of antibodies in their system which attack pollen as it drifts thru the air and lands inside your respiratory passageways. And, every single year, since 1965, beginning about Mid-May, and lasting until about Mid-July, I have had hayfever attacks that literally Made Me Ill. I've tried every hayfever medication in the book... Grocery and Drug Stores keep their strongest over-the-counter Hayfever pills locked up, cos I guess they're afraid I'll go home and use 'em to make truckloads of meth. So, at times, I've found myself begging store clerks for Hayfever meds...the conversation usually goes something like this:

"Sir, I'm having a killer hayfever attack and I need to buy some strong meds right now".
"Well, we keep those behind the counter; I'll have to go and unlock the Hayfever Pill Case."
"Great...I'm dyin' here; I need something right away".
"Sir, we have quite a few different brands of pills here; which do you prefer?"
"I don't care...just get me something that's plenty strong, something that'll make me DROWSY".

Basically, the inside of my head gets so inflamed during a really bad hayfever attack, that the only way I can recover is to Almost Knock Myself Out. That's when I go looking for something which will drug me, and put out the fire in my sinus membranes long enough for my body to begin healing itself. And I'll take 2 or 3 of those strong pills (waaaay more than the recommended dosage) when I'm having a "level ten" hayfever attack. "Level 10" is my term, which means, "my sinuses are inflamed to the point that sticking my head inside a Microwave Oven and Turning It On wouldn't feel any worse." I'm NOT exaggerating. Not much, anyhow.

During my worst allergy attacks (one of which happened to me a couple of weeks ago down here in's been a real "pollen" year), I've had to get a towel or washcloth, douse it in cold water, and take it with me into the bedroom, when, after turning out all lights, I've had to lay down and place the wet cloth over my mouth and nose and BREATHE thru it...I've found that technique strains the air well enough so that hayfever particles can't continue to get in and wreak havoc with what's left of my Overall Sanity. During one awful hayfever attack some years ago, I sneezed without stopping for 15 minutes. During a typical attack, there'll be enough fluid in my eyes and running out of my nose to fill up your average hydroelectric dam reservoir. That's what it SEEMS like, anyhow.

During an allergy attack, the inside of my nose, the portion closest to the eyes, and the very rear portion of my sinus cavity, where it meets the throat, feel like they're ON FIRE. It starts out with a queasy, sickening little 'tickling' sensation inside my head, as the first few pollen particles enter, and then, as more of them get into my system, they get in there and begin BURNING me. I actually begin running a FEVER for the duration of the attack, another problem which is helped by the cold damp washcloth I mentioned above. And, if unabated, the hayfever attack makes me frantic, it makes me very light-sensitive, and literally Takes Everything Out Of Me.

I remember, in the midst of an attack, late at night, driving to a store, stumbling in, barely able to see or reason properly; I was in full panic mode, and in dire need of Hayfever Meds. That's when I don't care what I take, as long as it's something that Puts Me Out, or almost. It's either that or bonk myself on the head with a sledgehammer. Once, during springtime, I was sitting by a lake, and actually saw a Yellow Pollen Particle land on my forearm. And it began burning my SKIN! I guess since it couldn't get into my nose, it had to be satisfied with diving into one of my pores.

Today, as I was walking on the Ocean Beach, with the wind at my back, I came down with a hayfever attack...right there on the Coast! And the eye-watering and nose-spouting began happening again, and I began getting frantic...I spotted a log on the beach about 100 yards ahead of me, and I got to it, and sat on it, FACING the wind....and, ahhhhhh...that Ocean Breeze was better than any old Hayfever medication. Ahhhhhhhh. The breeze cooled my overheated forehead, and wafted inside my sinuses, and after about 20 minutes, while I didn't feel like a Brand New Man, I at least felt that I was once again on par with the Rest of the Human Race. I am not kidding; during a severe hayfever attack, I am literally in CRISIS MODE.

Once, at a footrace which took place one summer, in a small town, located in the middle of the Wheat Fields of Eastern Washington State, I came down with a post-race Grand Mal hayfever attack. I began sneezing and sneezing and dripping and anguishing and suffering from the attacks of hayfever...I noticed a little boy was staring at me as if I were some weird kind of freak-a-zoid until his mom told him, "oh, he's having a hayfever attack". I can see how I'd look unusual; after all, a lot of folks don't get hayfever as bad as I do, if ever. I'm no martyr or anything, but hayfever has been pure hell for me all my life. As a kid, I was told that I would "grow out of it"...well, I'm 54...and the way things are going, as I get more feeble with age, I'll probably fracture my neck or break a rib from sneezing. So, if you're out and about enjoying the Spring and Early Summer, and you see someone who is totally incapacitated by Hayfever, as I've been, at least now you have a hazy idea of what that person is going through.

Looking at the above picture, some may see a Quite Heavenly View of Nature. I see PURE HELL. Whether it be a grove of Pine Trees or a Grassy Field (I've had allergy attacks in both places as well as in numerous localities), Hayfever, to me, IS a sort-of fever, which isn't exactly made any better by Hot Summertime Temperatures. Which is one saving grace of living on the Oregon Coast...the temperature hardly ever rises above 75. So I've got that working for me. And that's something. If I was still where I used to live (North Idaho), I'd probably be a basket case right about now. Undergoing today's relatively mild hayfever attack took me back to all of the total allergic misery I've experienced in years past. I wouldn't wish such a thing against my Worst Enemy. No, wait, I think I would.

The Kinks (the world-famous British Rock and Roll group who've been around forever) issued a 1979 album titled "Low Budget"...on that record is a song called "Hay Fever" in which Ray Davies sings, "I must've used every tissue in town". Yeah, I think he's probably had hayfever. God Save The Kinks. And Ray Davies.


Blogger MarmiteToasty said...

Gracious, I so didnt realise that hayfever can get so very bad.... I thought it was just the sniffles and runny eyes, which in itself is bad enough...... fanks for educating me on this and I will now have a better understanding of people I see suffering from hayfever......

Sorry you get it so bad.... I cant imagine what that must be like, cos I LOVE sitting in the garden and hobbling through the woods and sitting by the side of a hay field etc...... life without nature for me would be hell on earth..... I can imagine the relief of the seaside breeze, visions of trails of snot flying everywhere like the shoelace dribbles on them saint bernard dogs LOL

You should wear a divers head set all spring and summer LOL with windscreen wipers for when ya sneeze.........:)


7:16 AM  
Blogger Idaho Escapee said...

Hi, Marmie...and thanks for yer sympathy, although wearing a divers' head set would prob'ly throw out my neck...and, where I live, I need a doctors' prescription for a medicine I used to be able to 'just buy'. The medicine I need can also be used to make Methedrine...a bad, baaad drug. But one look at me during a hayfever attack would indicate that I couldn't boil water, let alone make meth! So I'm experimenting with two other, weaker meds. My nose is still on fire, but at least I'm not dripping or sneezing. I think God was Out To Lunch when he designed the nasal cavity. Ack. I spent my July 4th, indoors. My eyes are red and the skin on my face is raw from all this allergy stuff.

I do love nature, but I even got a hayfever attack walking on the I sat down on the beach, about 20 feet from shore, facing the wind, and that was niiiiice. My Parents made me do Yard Jobs in the summer. Yeah, try cutting the grass while sneezing yer head off. No wonder I missed so many patches of grass...I'd sneeze and not be able to mow in a straight line...

But, I spose, hayfever reminds me that I'm still alive...sorta like yer knee (hope that's going well 4 U...)

--Dave (thanks for stopping by agin)

6:08 PM  
Blogger Idaho Escapee said...

Marmee...a bit of practical poetry...

When you're sitting with your honey,
And your nose is very runny,
You might just think it's funny,
But it's SNOT.

Ah-CHOOOOO! (I don't sound like a fun date, do I?)

6:13 PM  
Blogger Kendra said...

Aww... poor dude. My hubby has a similar affliction, though not as severe. He gets pretty miserable as well, though, and I can definitely relate- I've leaned over for a smooch and ended up with a wet upper lip from his nose dripping on me. YUCK!!

Hey, btw, I finally got around to adding a blogroll on poor neglected "Soul Doubt" (hardly ever have time to post anymore. You're an inspiration, as much as you post!)
But what roll would be complete without some ruminations of the atmospheric variety? :-)
You're on it, you Escapee from Idaho you! I got you on my Google Reader too- that's usually what I pull up when I want to see what by blog buddies have been writing, cuz the most recent post pops up without coming to the blog itself. That way I can read through a bunch of blogs without having to wait for their pages to load, or pushing the back button over and over.
Oh, the wonders of modern technology!

11:28 AM  

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