October 2015 Column Winner

Battling the demon allergies

Brian Blansett, Tri-County Herald

Can I see a show of hands from everyone who’s been suffering from allergies?
Wow. That’s even more than I expected.
I share your pain.
Last week I thought I had picked up a new disease genetically engineered by terrorists. Off to the doc I went, only to find that it was just allergies, and I use 'just' in the same way that one might refer to Krakatoa as just a volcanic eruption.
It’s likely that some of you are reading this over lunch, so I’ll spare the description of symptoms. Just know that I felt bad and was reduced to croaking.
Many years ago, when we dwelled among the Texans, my doctor suggested I have tests to determine exactly what was causing my allergies.
The tests involved dotting drops of allergens on each arm and poking them with a little pin to ensure they penetrated the skin. There were drops for mold. dust, different tree pollens, grass, weeds.
I asked to be tested for rap music, but such was not available.
I seem to recall that each arm got two rows with maybe 10 drops in each row, for a total of 40 potential allergens.
After the drop-and-stick, the testing person was supposed to come back in a few minutes and measure the reaction to each drop, I knew the results were bad when she looked at my arms and flinched.
They looked like a snake had been eating an ear of corn.
There was a measurable reaction to every airborne allergen they tried and a smooth half-dozen were off the chart. I mean that literally. They had a chart to measure the reactions and six of them were more than the largest measurement on the chart.
Mold, ragweed and dust were three of the biggies, and the others were tree pollens, Cedar, pecan, ash.
For the other allergens, just imagine a speedometer needle fluttering between “nuisance" and “pretty bad.’’
Through the years, I have taken shots, used inhalers and swallowed antihistamines like Pez, all to little avail. Such is life when you are allergic to North America.
One of the few remaining options appears to be a head transplant.
As soon as I find a waiting list. I am putting my name on it.

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