Tag Archives: allergies

Humor Fail

A friend on FB tagged me in an article she linked. At first glance it is a humorous satire, but only on the surface.

Let’s look at a few assumptions the article makes:

  1.  Whole Foods is insanely expensive.– Yep, it is. So is the hospital, and healthcare, and higher education, and taxes. Cheap crap is so abundant that we’ve been sold the lie it’ll do just fine and anyone willing to pay more is a sucker. I don’t go to the hospital daily, and neither do most people go to Whole Foods daily. Usually it’s for specific items that are hard to find at the local grocery or pharmacy.
  2. The employees are asses trying to rob you blind.– So is the IRS, that dude on Craigslist, and the used car salesman, but we expect that it seems. The author describes hypocritical people, proclaiming hippie peace, but acting like thieving snakes. Clearly the store I go to was invaded by body double aliens who are polite, helpful, and don’t push me to buy anything I don’t want.
  3. The clientele are also hypocritical asses.- She mentions a dude in a Prius who nearly runs down a mother and child in the parking lot. I’m fairly certain the local grocery store has an equal number of jerkwads.
  4. Poor people don’t have food intolerance.- Tell that to the kid who attended daycare with my daughter as an infant. Tell that to the kids with milk and peanut allergies, the kids with psoriasis, the African American lady I met at the store whose grandson was diagnosed with Celiacs. I’ve met people in all walks of life with food allergies and intolerances. The poor simply have a harder time dealing with it. I’m living on a graduate student stipend and loans to feed the kiddos. I’m by no means rich, which means when my grocery bill doubled I felt it, and had to cut costs elsewhere. It’s that or be ill every day. To dismiss the concept as hypochondriac conditions made up by yuppies undercuts the struggles of all those people out there.
  5. The beauty isle will tell you how ugly you are and that you need to buy ten gazillion products to fix it. This is different from other stores how?

I could probably tear apart that article paragraph by paragraph. It comes down to the author possessing a highly judgmental attitude toward those she perceives as “hippies” and that it’s all a bunch of BS designed to drain your bank account. Nevermind that TV, internet and other stores hit you with ads convincing you, yes, you really do need another Swiffer product or the latest greatest cell phone, or a new car, etc. No, since Whole Foods sells organic food and specialty foods, clearly they are worse. She seems to miss the point that maybe not everyone fits in her picture, that perhaps some people are not gullible fools willing to buy anything, and that many of the products sold are available for a reason.

It’s taken three years for my local grocery store to carry most of the flours I require to bake gluten free, but they still don’t carry them all. Of all the doctors I saw, not one could prescribe or suggest anything to make me feel better. I read research articles and tried various supplements until I found ones that work.

Did you know, that the vast majority of modern medicine comes from natural products? Things like curcumin (tumeric) and quercetin are being heavily researched because they DO work, but the bio-availability is low, and of course they can’t make money off of it unless they come up with a patentable semi-synthetic version. NIH is stingy with funds these days. They wouldn’t fund it if the studies were lying about the natural products doing things like slowing cancer and killing microbes.

Sure, some of it is BS, but some isn’t. Maybe the author should wonder whether something is wrong with our general diet and healthcare approach if people have to turn to high priced supplements. Then again, I’m just a medicinal chemist. What would I know?


The Mold Wars

Day 1

All quiet on the pollen front, but unexplained itching and sneezing have occurred. Counter-attacked unseen assailants with vitamin C.

Days 2-5

Repeated pressure attacks have occurred in the cranial region. Again, the pollen front is quiet, no rain in sight, but further surveillance has spotted steadily increasing mold activity.

Day 6

Carried out a preemptive strike with benadryl, allegra, and psuedophed. Ventured outside for an hour with the canine crew. By evening mold countered with intense itching, cranial pressure, and post-nasal drip.

Day 7

Preemptive strikes are failing to contain the enemy. Broke out the WMD: Nyquil. The collateral damage was thirteen hours of sleep, followed by lingering drowsiness.

Day 8

Avoided outdoors as much as possible and continued the preemptive strikes. Considering acquiring a human-sized hamster ball as a countermeasure. Countermeasure, however, lacks practicality.

Intel reports a vicious battle for approximately the next two months, after which, due to the cold, we’ll be restricted to indoors where dust mites will likely see a resurgence of activity. It appears that no end to the conflict is in sight.


While I joke about my allergies,  it often does feel as if my body is raging a pointless war, as mold, pollen, and dust are just about every freaking where, and my body insists on fighting them.

With our country on verge of carrying out more violence to supposedly curb another party’s violence, it is not my intent to make light of war and violence. It’s a nightmarish thing and I fear that we’ve set events into motion that will ultimately cost more lives than it will save. Whether soldier or civilian, my thoughts and hopes for safety go out to you.

From the Gulf Stream Waters…

My boss started to sing “This Land is Your Land” the other day as he talked about how much he enjoyed the July 4th holiday. I managed not to wince. At least it wasn’t as bad as when he played the recorder at Christmas. (Yes, that really annoying instrument that kids learn to play in elementary school….and he played worse than the average elementary school student.) The patriotic song brought back memories of my elementary school music classes and was rather apropos, seeing as how I embarked on a last minute road trip the  following  day.

My sister, Ms. Music, celebrated the start of graduate school in Michigan with an unscheduled trip to the E.R., followed by five different doctors arguing over what to do with her. Four days later, after they finally arrived at a consensus, she got released, minus her gallbladder and a piece of liver. I arrived in time to ferry her to the place she’s renting and act as cook and errand girl for a day or two.

I got mono the first semester of college and a semester into my grad school I had stomach flu for a week, which triggered the onset switch from occasional intestinal issues to a chronic condition.

We girls know how to party! In fact we’re in full party mode right now.

How so? I woke up today with a splitting sinus headache. Two doses of ibuprofen later, a dose of phenyephrine, and two mugs of coffee, I’m almost back to normal, and by normal I mean stuffy and sneezy. In the spirit of American equality, I can proudly say I’m just as allergic to the north as I am the south.

My sis is having quality time in comatose land. It used to be that like me she could sleep through anything. Even doped up, she sleeps rather lightly now. I startled her out of sleep on accident last night merely by opening the door. The lamp from the other room was enough to wake her. Me? Unless you pry open my eyelids and blind me with the light, I’m out cold.

Our July 4th will be a rollicking good time, what with her being doped up and me feeling like the fireworks are going off in my head and both of us trying to catch up on graduate study stuff.

So Happy Independence Day everyone, but I don’t suggest sinus headaches or surgery as ideal celebratory activities!


Breathing vs. Job Security

Along with my current exercise kick, I’ve decided to take steroids.

Uhm...wrong kind

No, not THOSE kind.

And by “decide”, I mean the doctor prescribed it.

Let me explain:

Today I went back to the allergy and asthma doctor for a follow up visit. No, I’m not killing a small forest with my tissue use, the three little pigs are safe from any huff-puff-achooing, and the new allergy meds haven’t made me grow another head.

The first thing the nurse made me do is blow into this doohickey- (yes, that is totally the technical term. Okay, fine. The real term is spirometer.) Then the nurse practitioner came in to review the results and discuss my meds.

After I reported what medicines I’d taken and how often, along with side effects, she looked at my chart.

Whenever a doctor or nurse says, “Hmm.” It is never a good sign.


“I’m looking at your lung capacity test.”

“Is it better? Worse? Indifferent?”

“It dropped by ten percent.” She looked at me then. “How long have you been coughing?

I try not to scowl at her. “Since I had to blow into that doohickey and ran out of air.”

She laughed and informed me that she wanted me to have an albuterol breathing treatment, then she’d listen to my lungs again after I repeated the annoying doohickey test.

After all was said and done, my lungs quit being spastic and scored 99%. It seems I have underachieving lungs which require a kick in the alveoli to perform properly. It seems I could totally benefit from science’s latest breakthrough. It’s an injection that oxygenates cells for 20 minutes regardless of lung function. Of course, that means the other twenty-three hours and forty-minutes I’m stuck with my lazy alveoli.

Until they come up with the controlled-release twenty-four hour dose, I’m stuck with doping: an inhaled corticosteroid (anti-inflammatory agent), a short acting beta agonist “rescue inhaler” (relaxes airways), and the three different meds I take for the allergies, not including allergy eye drops.

I’m keeping big pharma in business. Given my field of research, I guess one could say I’m my own future job security.







Dummy’s Guide to Pissing off Your Body

Welcome to the Dummy’s Guide to Pissing of Your Body. Tired of being ache free? Can’t figure out how to get rid of all that energy? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Follow this easy step-by-step plan and you’ll be aching and exhausted in no time.

  1. Wear the least comfortable shoes for walking imaginable.
  2. “Accidentally” leave your keys in a building two blocks from your current location.
  3. Have an appointment, leave in a timely manner and then “discover” keys are missing.
  4. Sprint two blocks. Extra points if your shoes attempt to fly off your feet every step.
  5. Retrieve keys and sprint the two and half blocks to your car.
  6. Park another two blocks from your appointment. Paid parking lots are for sissies.
  7. Lose your shoe and twist your foot.
  8. Sprint/limp two blocks to your appointment, up two flights of stairs and arrive on time. At this point breathing should be problematic. If you are not winded, try more couch sitting and less work outs. Extra points if you’ve read Dummy’s Guide to Pissing Off  Your Allergies and Asthma, and the temperature is below 55 F, as this should ensure wheezing and coughing.
  9. Forget which street you parked on and walk four extra blocks.
  10. Return to work and park in the garage and walk the three blocks to your place of employment.

Congratulations. If you aren’t tired and achy by now, you’re too dang smart for this post.

We’re all good at something

What am I good at? Being allergic.

After twenty-seven or twenty-eight years of suffering from allergic rhinitis I decided to get tested to see what I’m allergic to.

The first test was a skin-prick. The nurse poked both forearms sixty-one times total, including the positive and negative controls. I had to sit there and not move or scratch for ten minutes. Having once had the chicken-pox, I was well prepped for this activity. I actually got excited when only some of the spots didn’t swell, although due to sensitive skin, my arms turned an interesting shade of angry red.

I hummed and whistled and tapped my feet and blew on the itchiest spots. So what was I MOST allergic to for that test?

  1. One type of dust mite
  2. All grasses
  3. Pecan trees…. rather strongly. I’m blaming my stint in Deer Park for this one.
  4. Several molds- not a surprise

I was thrilled that “cat” and “dog” and “weeds” didn’t do anything, but then the nurse dashed my hopes. “Oh, no, we’re not done. You might still be allergic to them.”

Next, she took vials with higher concentrations of allergens and injected them under my skin on my upper arm. Again I had to sit there and not touch it for ten more minutes. It took seconds for the dust mite spot to start itching and it quickly surpassed the histamine positive control. All my claims that I lack willpower have now been stricken down. I didn’t scratch the giant itchy bubbles on my arm. So we now know I have at least ten minutes worth of self-control. Good to know. Right?

By the time I was done, the nurse came back to check. “Wow. I haven’t seen a welt that large in quite some time! We only grade them on a scale of one to four, and that one is at least a ten. Sorry, dear. You are allergic to everything. Highly allergic.”

Grass, trees, mold, dust, cockroaches, weeds, cats, dogs…. I got ’em covered. There’s likely things they didn’t test for which I kick out histamine. I’m a walking histamine factory. I could possibly supply a small country with histamine, if histamine was something people actually wanted. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be a much desired commodity. 

Oh well, there goes my shot of making millions off my allergies.




Alacazam! Alaca-choo!

It’s amazing! It’s mesmerizing! It’s magic! Take a pill and Alacazam your allergies disappear!

Kind of…

Sort of…

Okay, not really.

What’s even worse? I made an appointment with an allergist next week and was told not to take any antihistamines for the three days leading up to the appointment. Okay. So I went ahead and skipped taking them for three days. Three, six, what’s the difference? I used to go months without antihistamines. It’s frigid and wet outside. I shouldn’t have too many issues.

Day One: Suffering from a cold, and maybe my eyes itch now and then, but nothing too bad.

Day TwoStill managing okay. Maybe some of those sneezes are less the cold and more allergies, but I’m trucking along.

Day Three: What the heck did I touch? My hand itches. [I wash my hand and it eventually subsides.] What is with my face? By the end of the day my face is sporting a red, irritated “mask” where I had applied my combo tinted moisturizer/sun screen. I wash my face, apply grape seed oil as a non-chemical moisturizer, and a thin layer of cortisone cream (Yes, I know cortisone is not suggested for the face because it can cause white spots, but I don’t think anyone would notice. It’s hard to get much paler than I am. It can also cause skin to thin. One or two days is deemed okay if used with caution.)

Day Four: Repeat day three’s treatment. Mask is now a faint splotchy rash that intermittently itches. Screw this. [Takes a Zyrtec. Appointment isn’t until Tuesday anyhow.]

Take away magic anti-histamines and I get contact irritation dermatitis from something I’ve been using for months. I suppose on the bright side, now I know not to use it anymore. I suspect it’s the UVA/UVB blocking chemicals. Sunscreens have always irritated my face badly. I can’t use products with retinol either. I thought the lower concentrations were fine…guess not.

So summing up:

  1. Fair skin
  2. Turns into lobster after about 20-30 min of direct sun.
  3. Allergic to sunscreen chemicals

The universe is laughing.