In terms of being sensitive to, or even aware of, those mostly invisible foreign irritants which float around in our atmosphere, I led an idyllic childhood. My brother suffered from recurring bouts of asthma and both my mother and father from seasonal allergies. I, on the other hand, seemed to be immune to all such maladies.
That is until one fateful Spring day during my freshman year in college. That was the day that Bobby Bumbles walked into my dorm room carrying a kitten. His real name was Robert, but due to his proclivity to spontaneously disrupt the general welfare of those with whom he came into contact, Robert became known to all as Bobby Bumbles. No doubt, he probably still is.
A perfect example of his impact on others was evidenced by his acquisition of the kitten. No good can come from attempting to discern why he thought that having a kitten in a college dorm would be practical, much less a good idea. There’s simply no reasonable explanation for that. Nor is there an acceptable reason for why he began playing with the feline as he sat on my bed; rolling the kitten around, bouncing it on my blanket, and in the process dislodging copious amounts of cat hair, fur, and dander.
Within an hour, I began to feel as if someone had sprinkled tiny particles of sand under my eyelids, my breathing became labored, and a vile and noxious fluid began draining down the back of my throat. That was the day that I learned that I was allergic to cats. And I remain so to this day.
Thank you Bobby Bumbles, wherever you are.
I’m fairly sure that the initiation of my cat allergy also served as my personal Pandora’s Box in terms of the advent of other allergies. Within a year or two, I found that I had become susceptible to various forms of pollen based hay fevers.
At first, my reactions to pollen seemed to occur on an every other year basis and were limited to short-term bouts of itchy and watering eyes, repetitious sneezing fits, and dull headaches. But within a few years, I also began to develop nasal congestion, a scratchy throat, and tiny but incredibly itchy bumps on my fingers and hands. A dermatologist told me that these bumps were known as vesicles, that they were related to hay fever, that they can develop within a very few minutes, last several weeks, and were essentially untreatable.
Did I mention that with my ever advancing age, my hay fever is no longer biennial, but now an annual affair?
As noted above, today’s pollen count is 10.1 – High. I have no idea how that assessment is derived, nor do I want to have it explained. I’m just glad that it’s less than the 11.0 – Extremely High levels that we’ve had here for the past three or four days.
I’ve tried using the common over-the-counter allergy medications with limited or no success. These days, I tend to just stay indoors until the pollen counts subside.
This has the added benefit of limiting my exposure to those other irritants in the environment such as urban sprawl, endless and unoccupied strip malls, traffic jams, and their basic root cause – people who have absolutely no clue how to drive a car!