There is virtually no airborne substance to which I am not allergic: pollen, ragweed, grass, mold, dust, mites, down, cat, dog and guinea pig. If it can be inhaled, it will make me sneeze. Aside from a two-week period in January, there is always something in the air to aggravate my immune system. If I don't start taking medicine well in advance of spring allergy season, I spend a few weeks wishing I could scrape the backs of my eyeballs clean. And so last summer I began immunotherapy. For the first few months everything was fine. I even felt optimistic enough to get a cat, thinking I would soon be impervious to its danderous effluvium.
Despite the fact that I was getting jabbed repeatedly, I looked forward to my weekly appointment. The doctor’s office was pleasant and sunny, and after getting my shots I sat in the waiting room pleasantly frittering some time away.
A few weeks ago though, I had a mild allergic reaction. It was more annoying than alarming, a sudden onset of sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes. The doctor decided to step down my dose for a few weeks, instead of continuing with weekly increases. The following two weeks I had similar reactions.
I had a more severe reaction last week, this time with Sacha in tow. I began sneezing, and my nose and throat began itching. The doctor kept me for observation. A few minutes later I started having trouble breathing. Although an allergist’s office is a great place to have an allergic reaction, it did not make the sensation of my throat constricting any more bearable. With the doctor and nurses fussing over me Sacha began getting nervous, pinging around the room and hanging on my legs with more than his usual verve. So not only did I need to remain calm with my lungs in brochospasm, but for Sacha’s sake make a good show of how very relaxing decreased small airway function was.
When my symptoms began to subside the doctor checked me one last time and departed for lunch. Did he have a nooner? My symptoms were improving, and I was in the care of extremely competent nurses, but couldn’t he have delayed his lunch assignation by ten minutes?
I spent the rest of the afternoon in a pleasantly abstracted state, thanks to a combination of Benadryl and Albuterol which left me feeling like a narcoleptic hamster on speed.
And thus ended my brief flirtation with an allergy-free existence, thanks to which I gained the somewhat rare distinction of flunking out of allergy shots.