January 27, 2020

shoot me up with that there allergen, please

After suffering from seasonal allergies FOREVER I decided in the fall to get some help.  I know I have shared with you before that my biggest complaint is that the roof of my mouth itches to end all itching.  

Have you ever tried to itch the roof of your mouth?  How 'bout thru your ears?  Or down your throat?  If only a coat hanger would alleviate the pesky itchy sensation without bloodying my pie hole.  

When I was in college, I made an appointment one summer with an allergist.  He did a scratch test for about 105 things.  I reacted to about 99 of them.  The nurse came in the room where I was stretched out and, well -she sort of whisper screamed, 'AHH - are you OK?'

I looked like the hunchback of Notre Dame with my back blowing up like a fleshy red dome in response to the 105 needles pricked in me with allergens on them.  Fun.  

The doc sent me home with a binder of suggested treatments:  so many shots this week, then taper down to this, etc.  My folks took one look at it and said in unison (almost typed that unisom but that would imply that they were sleeping):  'This is over the top.  We aren't doing this.'  

Mind you, my brother Pat had severe allergies and asthma as a little guy.  My mom used to drag all of us to the doc every week.  We would watch him get his allergy shots.  Granted, I was never hospitalized with pneumonia as a 3 year old and never spent time in an oxygen tent, but my seasonal allergies raged out of control in the spring and again in late summer.  

My 3rd grade teacher complained to my Mom that I could not read when she called on me because I could not open my swollen itchy eyes enough to see the page.  My mom shrugged and was like, 'Yep, she has hay fever like her dad.'  The end.  

Childhood friends still refer to the trail of Kleenexes I left around the way-back of our red, Chevy Impala station wagon when we road tripped with them to Irish dancing competitions (where I sucked at dancing - totally unlike Curly).  
Getting started.

Enter the allergist I met with in September.  Motivation?  All of a sudden I realized that I was an adult and had not been pregnant or nursing in FOREVER (duh) and we had met our deductible, so WHY NOT?  I wound up going to the same allergist that my brother Pat uses.  She is blocks away from his house and a bit off the beaten path for me, but not terribly so.  

She tested me for less things, but she was alarmed at how quickly and angrily my skin reacted to her scratch test.  I started shots twice a week.  Just before Christmas I was told that I could switch to once a week.  After Christmas it would be every other week for a few sessions and then the glorious ONCE A MONTH.  Hallelujah!  

A few minutes later - welt city.

I keep a fairly busy schedule and racing off to get the shots TWO TIMES a week 12 minutes one way was a challenge.  Mind you, the shots are not offered during 8-5 hours.  I had to get them late Mon or Wed afternoon or in the late mornings other days (yeah, right).  I usually waited for Coach to get home on one of his early days and then I darted out the door calling over my shoulder which baby might need what while I was gone.  

No joke - thinking back on it - I have no idea how I pulled it off.  Not trying to seek praise here for being a super-hero, but I think it was one of those things that I did for 3 months while keeping my head down and just powering through.  Guess how excited I was to see a light at the end of the tunnel here?  

Hold that thought . . . 


Kari said...

OMG this is/was me. I was tested when I was little and was allergic to only outside things like grass, mold, dander, etc... Then when I was in my early twenties, I was tested again because I was having health issues and it turns out I was allergic to all sorts of things and food. Lots of foods.

I was tested yet again about five years ago and nothing. Just mold, grass, the usual suspects.

It must be possible to outgrow some allergies but I think my migraines tie into those allergies. Maybe I should get tested again.

Do you have to take a daily allergy medicine year-round?

Ernie said...

So did you avoid the food? Did you get shots for the seasonal allergy stuff? I do not take anything oral for my seasonal allergies. Just the shots and I cannot wait to see if I can handle the spring and fall better than I used to.

Bibliomama said...

I think it is kind of super hero-ish to get anything extra done when you have six kids and are responsible for the lives of several others. I got allergy shots when I was a kid. My ears get itchy way down deep more than the roof of my mouth, and I have to take a pill and use a nasal spray every day, and that still doesn't get rid of all the symptoms, but I'm functional. The hitch is that they can't really figure out what I'm allergic to, I'm just generally....allergic.

Beth Cotell said...

Peter took allergy shots for 3 years! He, like you, was allergic to everything! The shots have helped on almost of a lot of the things he was allergic to. Except he still can't handle some cats and dogs and of course, he is still allergic to peanuts.

Ernie said...

Bibliomama - I might shorten your name at some point and just call you 'Mama', if that works for you? I didn't mention it here in this string of posts, but I was tempted to call up my mom and let her know just how IMPOSSIBLE it is to get allergy shots squeezed in now that I am an adult. I think I react more to my shots for cats and dogs (that's the arm that blows up more), which is strange because I don't ever plan to have a cat or a dog. I just plan to be allergic. Generally allergic sounds icky.

Ernie said...

Beth - oh, a peanut allergy?! I didn't know. That sounds scary because peanut butter seems to be everywhere. I am crossing my fingers that my shots help me.

Bibliomama said...

Maybe just call me Ali?

Ernie said...

Will do!

Busy Bee Suz said...

I believe YOU are a superhero. (Get that woman a cape!)
I can't believe you suffered so much as a child....but then again, I see a pattern here. I'm glad you finally sought the help yourself and PLEASE tell us it worked. Pleeeaaassse.

I had terrible allergies as a kid too. And no one addressed it either. All of my childhood pics you can see the dark rings around my swollen eyes....luckily, I've grown out of most of it. I have flare-ups here and there with seasonal stuff, but nothing like what you've endured.

Ernie said...

Suz- I will avoid saying 'the struggle is real' here so as not to make yo scream ;), but suffice to say: you are on to something . . . if the pattern includesmy family glossing over me (AND my allergy issues) - then you are definitely onto something.

I won't know whether the shots help till allergy season hits. Fingers crossed. In the meantime, as with so many would-be normal events - there was some excitement when I got my last shots. Happily you don't need to wait too long for the next installment since the next chapter in the saga posts this am.