allergic to everything...

Allergy & pulmonary function testing were interesting. First of all, the PFT test was obviously aimed at 9 year olds. When I blew into the cardboard and plastic tube as hard as I could, I faced an ancient computer monitor that had a smiley birthday cake on it with about 10 "lit" candles taunting me. The goal was to virtually blow out as many of the candles as possible in a single breath. First try - all but 3; second chance all but four; third all but 1. Apparently they take the average and whatever my average was, the cake still continued to hypnotically smile at me, promising me a hundred million birthday wishes come true. I found the whole thing a bit contrite, but hey, who am I to judge - all I had to do was blow, no big deal, I'm good at that.

The next test was a bit more intrusive. I had to take my shirt off and lay on my belly. A nurse cleaned my back with alochol. Then she proceeded to place 40 or so drops of allergen extracts on my back after writing numbers across my shoulders. Within a few seconds of placing the extracts on my back, it started to itch. I wondered out loud if this was normal, and the nurse said

"Not really but it is once she starts scratching."

Scratching I thought? Huh? That's when she took out the sharp needle and began to scrape the surface of my skin slightly where each extract was placed. Not miserable, but not remotely pleasant either.

"Now we wait fifteen minutes for a reaction," she said and gave me a funny look as she left the room.

Fifteen minutes? Seriously, why wait? Literally within seconds of the extract being applied (BEFORE the damn scratches) I was already reacting. My back was on fire and swelling up Yet apparently it doesn't count if they don't wait fifteen minutes, so alas I had no choice but to wait.

So I waited, laying on my belly on a really uncomfortable office bed. I started to drift asleep. I felt the paper on the table adhering to my face due to drool emitting from my mouth, which of course woke me up. Gross! The entire time I was laying there, my back was completely inflamed and just begging me to scratch it. "Please oh please," said my back, "please rub me on the corner of that wall and relieve this misery!". I resisted. I was a good girl and for once did not itch an intense scratch even though the urge was stronger than ever. Score one for JB.

Eventually an alarm went off to indicate my 15 minutes passing, and in walked Doctor Suri Suresh. The first thing out of his mouth was "Oh my goodness, that doesn't look good, not good at all". Next he went on and on about how bad of a reaction I had to all the grasses, trees, molds and weeds... apparently it was quite impressively horrid. I think he liked that fact a lot more than I did.

Sadly, I am also mildly allergic to dogs and cats, but the good Lord shown down on me and thankfully kept horses, feathers and barn dust off the incredibly long list. Because we all know I encounter those all the damn time, so what a relief! At one point it occured to me that it was faster to talk about what I'm NOT allergic to than what I am as apparently the list is very very long. No suprise I guess, although I didn't quite enjoy the lecture I received about my need for weekly allergy shots and the fact my asthma is allergy induced. Apparently he had a hard time believing I didn't already know this was the case. Well duh, of I knew this subconsciously. I just hate needles and choose to ignore it and avoid allergy testing over the years at all costs...but alas, I have come to realize that the weekly shots are going to be far better than the stints in the hospital Dr. Suresh promised me if I didn't concede, so I have given in. Shots start next week. Oh glory be.

Next came the requisite bag 'o drugs. Every time I go to the doctor these days I leave with a white plastic bag full of drugs. Usually they don't do squat to help me, but my dear Suri has promised me that I'm going on the right cocktail now to make my life better. And dammit, i actually believe him. I just hope the bill from the pharmacist each month doesn't put me in anaphalactic shock on it's own.

So anyway, I am now ready to admit something I formerly chose to ignore. I am asthmatic. Yes, indeed, I'm getting old, I've developed asthma and I'm allergic to most of the free world. Oh well, it could be worse. Like I could have aggressive toe fungus or diabetes or a gimp arm. I mean seriously, let's look on the bright side here. Yes, I have to have shots once a week, an inhaler twice a day and pills and nasal inhalers when my allergies are really really bad. But at least I still have a sense of humor and look good, right?


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