Sunday, May 23, 2010

Up Penny's Nose

I can’d breade.

I was so looking forward to the spring weather, after all that rain in our Valley. I couldn’t wait to go outside, enjoy the sunshine and smell the roses. Now I’m afraid to step foot out there for fear of breathing all that toxic air. I’ve never been this stuffed up. The culprit: Super Pollen.

Right now I’m living on Mucinex, Flonase, and Hall’s cherry menthol throat lozenges. My eyes are as red as a demon’s and they itch as if I have poison oak. My nose glows like Rudolph’s and drips faster than a leaky faucet.

My throat is so scratchy, I want to shove a back-scratcher down my craw. Every time I sneeze, the sound scares young children and cats, and the spray soaks my “Life is Good” t-shirt so much, I have to change it each time I have a blow out. I’m on my fourth shirt today.

Apparently this is just the beginning. Allergy season is supposed to be worse than ever this year, especially in our lush, green valley. The experts say we’re dealing with more pollen because of that seemingly endless wet winter.

I recently learned that a simple oak tree produces up to 6,000 particles of pollen per cubic meter – whatever that means. But I can do the math when I hear it only takes ten particles to trigger an allergic reaction. Since all the plants held off blooming this year, they decided to pop out all at once, sending the pollen count into the stratosphere – literally and figuratively. When the wind comes along, it blows that pollen right up my nose.

These days I read “Pollen Reports” in the newspaper before I read the front page. Right now the pollen count is “Level Orange” and the pollen alert is for “trees, grass, dirt, mud, flowers, weeds and dust bunnies.” No doubt tomorrow they’ll have added “streets, buildings, land masses, and the planet in general.”

I’m glued to the TV news so I can watch “Pollen-Tracker Devastation.” As soon as the show is over, I close the windows, bolt the doors, and hide under the bed, since I don’t have a basement to escape to.

Someone said I could take steroids to cope with the symptoms, but I’m afraid of bulking up my arms too much and trying to explain the stuff when it’s found in my urine at airline checkpoints and Olympic events. Besides, I don’t want to go through all those skin pinpricks, only to find I’m allergic to everything from my cats to my husband. (Which I already knew.)

If I go out to the pharmacy to restock my meds, I’m supposed to wear sunglasses to protect my eyes, a bandit handkerchief over my nose and mouth to block out air, and a haz-mat jumpsuit over my shorts and tank top. It’s also recommended that I vacuum the rugs, wash the bedding, and clean the house frequently to suck up the varmints in their hiding places.

Like I’m going to do that. I’d rather sneeze to death.

Luckily there are still lots of meds I can try—Zyrtec, Claritin, Sudafed, Allegra, Chocolate. Meanwhile, I’ll put on my burka when I go outside, try not to breathe too much while I’m under the bed, and just be thankful spring has finally sprung.

Could be worse. Could be raining.

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