Monday, May 12, 2008


My body behaves strangely when it comes to allergies. For example, I didn’t develop an allergy to cat hair until I was 8. We discovered it one Christmas when my face broke out in hives. Since then, however, I can always tell when I’m in a house that has a cat, because eventually my nose starts running and I begin to have difficulty breathing. My cat allergy is here to stay.

Hayfever, on the other hand, is something that comes and goes. Some years I’ll have problems, but other years I won’t. The worst time in my life was junior high and high school. Picture this: when I wipe or blow my nose I always push the end of it up as if I’m attempting to cram a large gourd up there. Well, if one does this action repeatedly over the course of, say, three weeks, one begins to develop a permanent line across the bridge of one’s nose that looks like a watermark left on a high wall next to a river that had a flood and then receded. This line was so impressed in my skin that I don’t think it went away until my 30’s. In fact, I think that even today if you look close, you can see it.

Now, thank goodness, my allergies are not so severe. This bodes well for laying in one’s hammock on the balcony, which I hope to do this week, thanks to the nice weather.

I have had allergies in some form or other my whole life. Growing up in Ecuador I didn’t really have allergies to plants, but I have always been allergic to cats. There are pictures from somebody’s birthday party where my eye is swollen almost shut and I am clutching a wet washcloth that I used to soothe the itch. I can still remember that horrible itch. Shudder.

Troy and I are both allergic to cats in various degrees. For me It really depends on the cat and there does not seem to be any rhyme or reason to which ones bother me and which don’t. Sometimes all I have to do is walk into someone’s house and before I even SEE a cat, my eyes are swelling, my neck is itchy, and my ears and throat itch.

Driving up the east coast from Florida to Canada during summer furloughs was sheer torture. Somewhere around West Virginia and the Blue Ridge Mountains I would be afraid I was going to die, and then I would be afraid I wasn’t going to die. (Quote courtesy of my Dad. Anyone want to guess how many times I have heard that in my life?) Back then (decades ago) there wasn’t very effective allergy medicine. I remember taking some green syrupy stuff that knocked me out more than my allergies.

Nowadays, meds are somewhat better. I used to take Seldane D. Until they took it off the market because it caused heart palpitations. Very reassuring.

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