God bless you. Bless you. Enough already. In my household, we say it once somewhere around early April and it covers you until late October or early November. Yes, it is that time again. Every one of my clones, or what you would call children, have the puffy eyes, running noses and spasmodic sneezing fits of seasonal allergies. My wife, brilliant biologist and baby maker that she is, failed in her attempts of ridding the clones of that pesky gene. It seems to have carried through to all of the G2s (that’s lab speak for Second Generation or so I am told).
Our 7 YO, who has proven much less susceptible to allergic reactions, started sneezing and rubbing his eyes the other day. Today in church, our 5 YO started bawling because his eyes hurt so much. Even my little baby girl, who is a few days short of being 10 months old, has had her share of snot and watery eyes over the past few days.
Every day, starting as the first buds appear on the trees and lasting until the last leaves have fallen, is a constant battle against pollen, mold, mildew, hay, etc. My kids seem to only be effected during the early spring season when pollen counts are the highest, but occasionally over the summer, you can hear their stuffy-nosed snores in the middle of the night.
My condition is worse. Most days are just sneezing and running nose until about noon, when my current medication of choice kicks in. Followed by the inability to breath through my nose around 11 or 12 at night. But every so often I get a crippling attack where the sinus headache and constant sneezing just stops me in my tracks and forces me to a subterranean layer of cool darkness. I will lay flat on the sofa in the basement with the lights out and a ready supply of sugar and caffeine near by. If I incline my head just a bit, the snot starts to flow. During these attacks, I become ravenously hungry and will eat anything in my path, but I tend to gravitate towards sugar, carbs and caffeine. I will devour an entire sleeve of crackers or chocolate or candy and down as much Coke and lemonade as possible and then still be hungry for more.
I have tried so many different treatments over the years, but none seem to be effective. I have been tested, shot full of 126 different allergens and concentrations in one test. My arms looked like those old candy dots that used to come in pastel colors and were deposited in rows of tiny sugary turds on paper. I got a shot once a week for 4-5 years, finally ending it while I was in college because it never seemed to do anything except give me a knot in my upper arm for a few days. I have taken Benadryl, Claritin, Allegra, Clarinex, Nasacort, you name it, I have taken it. The most interesting treatment has to have been the Neti Pot, or as I like to think of it, drowning on salt water while you perform a nasal douche. It worked once and every subsequent time, just made everything worse.
Zyrtec is my current daily fix, 1) because it seems to be effective in calming my day to day symptoms and 2) because I can buy it in bottles of 300 from BJs. BJs is also where I buy my tissues, in packs of eight boxes, each box containing 300 2-ply unscented, un-lotioned tissues. On a bad day, I will blow through (pun intended) almost an entire box.
Attacks always seems to happen at the worse possible moment. I thought they were going to kick me out of the church at my daughter’s baptism because I looked like I was infected with Ebola and high at the same time. I look like a zombie in the last family portrait we had taken. I will save my wisdom teeth extraction story for another day.
In 30+ years of dealing with this, I have failed to come up with any benefit of this condition. The one slightly cool thing I have learned is how to sleep with my eyes open. Yes it is weird, but it is cool when you get the chance to freak someone out with it. When it hurts to close your eyes, sleeping with your eyes open affords you some much needed rest. The trick is to start in a dark room, close your eyes half-way, blur your vision, and make sure you are not looking at anything that might shed light, i.e. a digital clock, window, DVD, etc. (ha ha – I shocked myself by writing VCR first and then realized we haven’t had a working VCR in the house in at least 7 years).
I think I may have found something today that may change my entire life. It is not a new medication or treatment, it may be my true calling in life. I found out (while trying to find the proper spelling of Gesundheit. Yes, 2 years of German and I don’t know how to spell it.) there are people in this world that have a sneeze fetish. I could be a God to these people. They could worship me as I drive them to ecstasy with every boisterous blast from my nose. They would build temples of hay and straw in my honor and lay bouquets of ragweed and goldenrod at my feet and sacrifice dust mites in my name. The most pious would wear Tommy Hilfiger cologne, burn Yankee candles, and mow their grass on my Sabbath. I could bestow upon my loyal subjects sodden tissues as tokens of godly appreciation. I could become the incarnation of Arkleseizure.
If you don’t hear from me for a few days, I may be heralding my existence to my new followers or I may be recovering from trying to shove a burning hot poker up my nose in an attempt to cauterize my sinuses.
I bless you.