(I just sneezed 5 times in between writing that title and writing this sentence, no joke.)
Allergies. Allllllleeerrrrggiiiiis! Quite frankly, I don’t even know why the scientists make them.
I really can’t tell if this is the worst allergy season ever, if my allergies are gradually getting worse, or if I just forget from year to year how bad allergies are. All I know is that, right now? I want to crawl in a hole and die. My head hurts. I can’t stop sneezing. I’ve gone through half a box of kleenexes. My eyes are red and raw. It is impossible to escape the very air you breathe.
And I’m on allergy meds!
During the day I’m experiencing these things on a low grade and thinking I feel miserable. Then I go outside. All of a sudden it hits me like a ton of bricks, and I experience true misery. Sometimes I have to drive without my glasses so the tears can stream freely down my face. Sometimes I have to pull over because my allergies are too much for me to handle while driving. No joke, my allergies hit me so bad just from the parking lot into work, my coworkers actually asked me if it would be better for someone to drop me close to the door, to save me the few extra feet of walking outside.
I’m starting to develop a pavlovian fear response to sunlight, hearing birds chirping, or the smell of freshly cut grass. Instead of being good things, they make me think of pain and suffering.
The worst part is, when you have a terrible cold, you can at least go to bed and hope you will feel better in the morning. In this case, there is no hope. You can go to sleep, but you’re not going to feel better. For weeks.
This all makes me think of the worlds most famous allergy sufferer:
Think about it. Why do you think he has that air-filtration apparatus on his face 24/7? Why do you think he’s ready to choke a dude at a moment’s notice? Alderaan looked pretty green, no wonder he wanted to blow it up. I’m really starting to be on Mr. Vader’s side in all of this; allergies make me want to turn to the dark side too. And when did he really turn to the dark side in the first place? Apparently in the middle of a hellacious allergy attack, because this is exactly how my eyes look right now:
I have very small sinuses. Because of this, any cold or illness always, always, always ends up being a sinus issue. Combined with my terrible allergies, I probably spend 25% of my life with some combination of a sinus headache, a stuffed nose, and irritated, watery eyes.
“You should get a neti pot!”, said everybody everywhere all the time. “It’s great! When your sinuses feel bad, you just shoot boiling hot salt water directly into your brain cavity, and then you’ll feel better, because when you’re done you’ll be thinking ‘I might have a sinus headache, but at least I don’t have boiling hot salt water in my brain cavity anymore!’”
Everybody swears by these things, and they sound like a classic case of the cure is worse than the disease to me. Sara has been trying to get me to do this since forever, in fact, just this weekend I had multiple people urging me to try it out next time my allergies were acting up. Just the thought of warm water wooshing around my sinuses makes me want to kill myself. “I would rather die then try a neti pot,” I swore.
The next day I bought a neti pot.
It was only about $12, so Sara talked me into it. IF I was ever going to try one of these torture devices (and that’s a big IF), it would only happen if I happened to have one on hand at the exact minute that I needed it. Otherwise, my sinus-induced moment of weakness would pass, and there’d be no second chance. It turns out, that sinus-induced moment of weakness came sooner than I expected.
The VERY NEXT DAY I came down with some sort of sinus-superflu that got worse and worse throughout the day until I couldn’t take it anymore. I was actually looking forward to using the neti pot when I got home. (that’s how bad it was!)
In short, in the span of two days I went from, “I’d rather die than use a neti pot!” to “lets put a picture of me using the neti pot on the Internet!”
Me: “I can’t believe I’m putting this picture on the Internet.”
Sara: “I know, look at how little hair you have.”
Okay, so the neti pot wasn’t pleasant, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared. It certainly cleaned out a ton of gunk from up there (something you really should be prepared for, like with a kleenex or something, the way I wasn’t). However, it was very salty, went in my mouth and down my shirt, and only lasted for about 5 minutes before my sinuses filled back up again. Was it worth it? I really don’t know. I guess some days I go the entire day without my sinuses clearing a single time, so I guess having them clear for 5 minutes would be a plus. On the other hand, it seemed like a lot of effort and general unpleasantness for only 5 minutes in the clear.
So it might be worth it, however, I’m not sure it would be worth it just to clear out the allergens if my sinuses weren’t completely blocked. I guess it was okay enough that I’ll give it another shot if the situation called for it.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, my sinuses are about to explode.
My allergies are already starting up for the season, but it turns out there is an easy solution. All I need is a parasite. How hard can it be to find a parasite?
Jasper Lawrence so desperately wanted to be infected with a hookworm that he traveled to Africa and walked barefoot alongside open latrines in Cameroon to get one.
So you might think to yourself, how in the world could having a parasite help me with my allergies? There’s actual science:
…humans historically developed an immune designed to account for parasites in the body.
But in the last 150 years, the industrialized world’s clean food supply and plumbing suddenly removed parasites from people’s bodies. In response, researchers now widely think that people’s immune systems stopped developing properly.
…As a result some people’s immune systems go off kilter and misfire against their own bodies creating autoimmune disorders such as allergies, asthma, or inflammatory bowel disease.
Well, thanks but no thanks. Parasites are about the most disgusting, scariest thing I can think of. Waaay worse than allergies (at least my level of allergies).
Link via Sara
Sara overheard an immunologist at work talking about the link between pollution (specifically diesel particulate emissions) and allergies. This would partially explain why allergies are on the rise in the developed world, and specifically in cities and along highways. After a little research of my own, it seems that these types of pollutants stimulate our Immunoglobulin E (IgE) production, which in turn causes us to have a quicker biological response to allergens (an allergen “memory”). You can read more here.
So between this and the increase of allergies due to global warming, I am positively doomed.
I have to say, this makes me feel better about my work. Reducing dependence on foreign oil is a worthy crusade to begin with, but it’s sort of esoteric for me personally. Until now! Now it suddenly has a direct impact on my life.
In fact, I didn’t have allergies at all until I went to college. Since then, my allergies have been worse every year. And now, dealing with the kids’ eczema, which is essentially a hyper-sensitivity to allergens, I have to wonder if this has all somehow been caused by our polluting lifestyle. I always assumed it was just sort of destined, genetic-wise, but maybe that’s not true.
In any event, how about you get your pollution out of my nose?
I mentioned that Oliver has developed a really bad rash all over his body. Despite our best efforts, we just couldn’t beat the thing, it was a monster rash. Finally we did some Internet searching, and eventually our doctor confirmed that he had a textbook case of eczema.
I always thought that eczema was just like really bad dry skin. It certainly looks like it, and it’s certainly itchy like dry skin is. However, since I have been learning about eczema, it actually has nothing to do with that. Well, I shouldn’t say nothing to do with it, since dry skin can bring on a bout of eczema. But really, eczema is about allergies.
Regular allergies are when your body overreacts to something. Eczema is no different. However, not everybody who has eczema is necessarily allergic to the same thing. So eczema is something of a mystery, since there’s no root cause and everybody’s body is a little bit different.
We were already doing some things, like slathering on the Vaseline every night and using some hydrocortisone cream on the bad patches now and again, but that didn’t seem to be enough. So Sara hit the books, looking for anything that could help. Many people recommend eliminating dairy, but there doesn’t seem to be much scientific evidence supporting that theory. However, one study stood out: bleach baths.
It turns out that bathing twice a week in a bathtub of water and diluted bleach significantly helps reduce eczema. It sounds pretty crazy, especially since bleach is so caustic, but the study was pretty clear: it works. The doctor gave us the go ahead, and we gave it a try.
The results weren’t as dramatic as we were hoping (or as the results of the study implied). The eczema certainly wasn’t worse, and it may have been a bit better. But certainly there was no miraculous recovery. We’ve only been doing it for a week and a half or so, so we’ll continue for a while and see what happens. However, our hopes for a quick cure have been dashed.
Lately our efforts have been focused on detergent. It has been theorized that a lot more kids are allergic to detergent than is generally thought, and that is to blame for more than just eczema. However, the research does seem to show that detergent allergies absolutely can cause eczema. So we are currently trying to keep anything that has been washed with detergent from touching Oliver’s skin. This is more difficult than it sounds, or at least it is at first, until we manage to get everything re-washed with different soap that does not have detergent.
This has only been going on for a few days, so it is too soon to tell, but it seems like it is having a positive effect so far. However, we need to wait and see. At this point there is a lot of, “But it looks better on his chest, right?” or “Don’t you think his neck looks better tonight?” So we don’t want to declare victory before victory is to be had.
As long as I am doing an Ollie Update, I might as well throw in a few other things:
- He is rolling all over the place like a maniac. He hasn’t really been crawling yet, but he looks like he’s ready to at any moment. However, he doesn’t really need to crawl, because he can get where ever he needs to by rolling, pivoting, and rolling some more.
- He likes to “talk” which mostly includes “Da da da da!”s. He just looks so serious when he’s saying it, and he proclaims it so loudly, it really seems like he’s trying to say something.
- He really likes the idea of eating solids, but he gets tired of actually doing it pretty quick. He will still try to grab anything in sight, and he may even try to eat food out of your mouth.
I knew that my allergies were really really bad this year, worse than I ever remembered. I would start to question whether my allergy medicine was working or not, but then I would read somewhere else about how bad allergies were in general this year. It does make me feel a little better to think that it’s not just me, it’s everyone.
It turns out that there is a reason for all of this. I’m allergic to global warming. No joke. Basically, rising global temperatures and changing climates are resulting in warmer springs, which leads to higher pollen counts.
This article reads like the script of a horror story. We have some choice quotes like, “Pollen from ragweed, which triggers most cases of spring hay fever, is projected to increase up to 100% between now and 2085″, “ragweed pollen could become up to 70% more allergenic”, and “climate change, it turns out, is likely to favor trees that give off pollen as opposed to those that don’t”.
Now, all of a sudden, it’s personal. That’s certainly something I didn’t think about when looking at those lush scenes with dinosaurs….dinosaur sized ragweed spewing dinosaur sized pollen year round.
No thank you, my friend. Me and my scratchy red eyes are voting for an ice age.
Spring is in the air, quite literally since I woke up this morning with itchy eyes and a vague tingling in my allergy sense.
And with all this nice weather comes another attempt at gardening! Our garden received a stay of execution for another year. We still don’t know if they are planning to build a building on top of it, but I think with the economy as it is, it is safe to assume it will be some time before the University gets around to breaking ground on a multi-million dollar new building.
We were out on Sunday cleaning out the leftovers from last year and even a few new things that had already taken root. Last year we didn’t get our garden until pretty late since we were on the waiting list and everything, so hopefully getting started earlier on it this year will mean less weeding, etc. We even plan to plant some lettuce and other things that come up early to maximize the gardening potential. Did you know there is something called Grand Rapids Lettuce? Well, there is.
We haven’t got the layout planned yet, but we did buy all the seeds over the weekend. I am also going to attempt to grow cucumbers on the back porch to start my own pickle supply. I have my grandma’s recipie which I am on record as saying is the food of the gods. Hopefully they will grow better than the porch tomatoes did last year. Does anybody know if cucumbers need a lot of sun? I don’t need big ones. They are supposedly a kind that is conducive to growing in small spaces. Ah, who am I kidding I only bought them because they were called “Spacemaster Cucumbers” and I’m hoping they float or grow in the dark or something.
Wow, hello allergies! Rough couple of days.
Evie is crawling like a maniac now. She can move a lot faster than you think and she has been giving us a preview of how difficult this next period is going to be. She isn’t happy sitting still and she gets into stuff that you didn’t even know was there. She can also go from lying down to sitting up no problem now. The only problem she has is that she crawls over to something but then when she sits up she is really far away from whatever she was interested in. She’s still working on that one.
I realized that in her 8 months of life she has never actually touched grass (sure is different growing up in the city!) so last weekend we took her over to the Midway. She was NOT thrilled! I thought she would be very interested since it would be a new experience, but she did not like touching the grass. She tried to hold herself up on her hands and toes and then just froze so she would be touching the grass as little as possible. She wouldn’t move or in any way let her legs come in contact with the ground. When Sara tried to help her stand she just picked up her feet so they wouldn’t touch! I think she would have liked it, but she was just shocked at how different it was. At the end she was kind of running her fingers through the grass a little bit. I gave her a flower and she wouldn’t let go of it for anything, but on the way home she broke the head off and then she was done with it. Maybe next time it won’t be so alien and she can crawl around some.
Okay, here‘s an old link I’ve been saving since Jan. ’07. Maybe you’ve already seen it. Maybe you saw it so long ago its retro. I had to try it out before posting it and then once I did I never got around to actually linking to it. Supposedly you are can listen to this special sound which is supposed to adjust your brainwaves to wake you up. I tried it with an open mind, but I don’t think it really works. I felt maybe a little more awake at the end of it, but it was most likely due to a placebo effect and/or the fact that I might have felt more awake after 20 minutes even if I had done nothing. But let me know if you think it works, maybe I’ll have to give it another try.
Went to MI this weekend for Sara’s sister’s birthday. Pretty low key, we didn’t really do much. Actually I feel like I slept the whole weekend! Must be the allergy medicine or something. We went to bunch of baby stores. I’m kind of baby-stored out, I have to tell you. They’re all pretty much the same with the same brands and items for about the same prices. We did eat some good food though, including a trip to Olive Garden. I don’t think I’ve been there for about 6 years! Too bad too because I love that place. I ate 7 bread sticks. We played 1 game of Acquire and I came in 3rd out of 5. So not very good, but I beat Sara so that’s all that counts!
In unrelated news, I have had nothing but headaches with my new laptop ever since I bought it. Vista is so terrible. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. To be fair, I don’t think it is really Vista’s fault, I think it is the fact that there are no good drivers available for most of my hardware. I’ve tried everything under the sun to keep the thing from locking up constantly until Thursday I actually re-flashed my BIOS. But the good news is that so far it hasn’t locked up since then! So keep your fingers crossed and maybe everything is okay now!
I probably have other things to say, but I just couldn’t be bothered.
‘Discontent’ was the closest mood to ‘Disgruntled’
An update on the allergy medicine saga…
I called my doc today for the pre-approval of my allergy medicine and he said no problem. I get a call back about an hour later from the nurse and she explains the situation in her best “wait until you get a load of this” voice. Aparently, the HMO rejected my request for preapproval because, despite the fact that I’ve been taking the same allergy medicine for 5 years or so, I have not sufficiently proven that I must have Zyrtec. As far as they’re concerned, I should be able to get along just fine with the over the counter Claritin (which of course I just have to pay out of pocket, with no reimbursement from them). Damn Claritin for going over the counter. So listen to this, this is what I have to do according to the doctor. I have to go buy Claritin, save the receipt and take it for 2 weeks. At the end of that 2 weeks I have to fax the doctor a copy of the reciept and tell him that the Claritin doesn’t work. After that they can forward the reciept on to the insurance company and say, “See! He needs Zyrtec!” What a rediculous waste of my time.
And for the record, my allergy medicine is the ONLY benifit I get from the money I pay every week for health insurance.
Okay, here we go
Okay, first I played guitar with Tony Vegas for like 2 hours and I had a blast. I’m really getting back into the whole guitar thing and I love to play with Tony. He’s definitely better than me, but not so much better that I feel like a dumb ass. We also like the same kind of music. It’s more fun to play with someone else than to play by myself. All in all, a great time.
After that we went and got Dairy Queen. Another fantastic idea! I had a mocha chip blizzard.
After that we met Renee and her friends and saw Hellboy. Good movie (despite what Sara might think). I know it’s not Citizen Kane or anything, but what are you really expecting here? A comic book action movie? Alright then. It was actually better than I thought it would be.
As far as the circumstances, doing something with Renee might have been a very bad idea. I have no intentions of hanging out with her, as I can’t stand her, but now she thinks we’re best buds. Today (Monday) she mentioned about 5 different times she ‘wished she had my number’ so she could have called me and invited me to things between when I saw her Friday night and when I saw her Monday morning. Seriously. That’s almost psycho.
Her husband and friends were all very goth. Now normally I get along pretty well with the goth crowd. We have a lot in common. Also, in my experience, they are mostly pretty nice normal people. They’d hate me for saying that. Anyway, in this case though, I felt a little out of place. The sad thing is, the whole time I felt like I was the parent. They all acted like they were about 18 and they just got done hanging out at the mall all day (for the sake of argument, let’s say at Hot Topic) and now they were going to raise some hell across the street at the movie theater. Actually, come to think of it, they’re all unemployed so maybe that is what they did. Did I mention that they’re all about 5 years older than me?
One other thing of note, Renee’s husband and another guy were pretending they were gay for a while, just to get a few laughs. It was kind of funny, I didn’t really think twice about it. Since that time, Tony has brought it up a bunch of times. I think he’s a bit of a homophobe. That’s a shame.
Come to think of it, after spending all night playing guitar with me, Tony paid for my ice cream at Dairy Queen before we went to a movie together. For a homophobe he sure participated in a near gay date there!
I didn’t get to bed until 2 a.m. on Friday which is probably the latest I’ve stayed up in at least 2 years.
On Saturday morning, every freaking person in the world called. I finally got up at 10:30 and checked my messages. Well it turns out my friend John had called Friday night begging me to help them move on Saturday because some people had backed out, and I had offered to help last week. Well, I felt super awful that I had just gotten the message, but they said they would be moving between 9 and 12 and it was only 10:30 so I called them really fast. Turns out they were almost done. I felt pretty bad that I didn’t help, but on the other hand, if they were almost done by 10:30 I guess they didn’t need any help.
Next I fell back asleep for 2 more hours until the phone rang yet AGAIN. This time I answered and it was Dawna. We were supposed to go look at apartments but we had never set a time. Well they were on their way to KOP so they were going to go to the mall and then come over in about an hour. I was all, “Yeah no problem.” cool as ice, as if to say “I’ve been up for hours.” Then I had to jump up, shower, clean up the apartment, eat and do dishes. Luckily they weren’t on time (what’s new) so I got all that done and Tony came over too.
We went to the apartment that looked really good on the north side of the city and the location was AWFUL. It was on all these back, twisty roads and it was probably 30 minutes from the highway (with no traffic), which would then take another 30 minutes to get to KOP from there. The apartments were really nasty on the outside too, so I didn’t even bother to look inside.
Next we were going to try to find this furniture outlet called “The Dump”. Sounds classy, I know. It took us a really long time to find it, but meanwhile we found some little Italian bakery that we stopped at. Truthfully, it wasn’t really all that great. We also found a chi-chi’s which we ended up eating at. THANK GOD FOR MEXICAN FOOD!! Chi-chi’s might not be the hight of cuisine, but it was still great. This place is devoid of mexican food, which is a crime against humanity.
So we finally went back to KOP with no apartment or funiture to show for it. We had been talking about guitar though, so Tony was like, “hey you want to come over and play?” So I did, and it was a blast again. Between Friday and Saturday we played like every song I’ve ever learned how to play. After another marathon session my fingers were ragged. In fact, I tried to play on Sunday and I couldn’t because my fingers hurt too bad.
I ended up getting to bed late Saturday night because when I got home I spent a couple hours trying to find the Michael Jackson Thriller video online, because I want to memorize the zombie dance sequence. Finally, I broke down and re-installed kazaa and found it in like 5 seconds. The exhaustive online search was not for naught though, because I found Michael Jackson’s Thriller done stop action photography style with legos. Enter the site then go to filme and then Michael Jackson’s Thriller. It is literally a frame by frame duplicate of the original.
Still haven’t learned the dance though.
Sunday was paper day. I was so unmotivated…god damn I hate this class. Only 5 more class periods! It took me all day to do maybe 2 hours worth of work because it was so awful. I did watch some pretty strange things on tv though. Couple episodes of trading spaces, monster house, a monster garage where they made a cop car that could make doughnuts, a show on discovery about how you would build a bridge from Alaska to Siberia, a biography of Andre the Giant (FANTASTIC might I add) and god knows what else.
Oh, also on Sunday we had daylight savings time!!!!!!! SUPER exciting. Hey peeps in Indiana, you just jumped out of my time zone! I’m now in the future by 1 hour!! Bow to my power.
Okay, so I’ve been sick with a cold for awhile now. Because of this I didn’t take my allergy medicine Saturday or Sunday. Because of this and because of staring at a computer screen all day Sunday, it all came down on me with a vengence, most notably the worst sinus headache I’ve ever had in my life. By about 11 on Sunday night I felt possibly the worst I ever have in my life. Ugh! Awful!
First thing I thought when I woke up Monday morning was “Wow! I feel like a million god damn bucks!” I’m actually still sick and allergy ridden, but compared to last night, I’m fantastic.
Worked part time downstairs on my new job for the first time today. Exciting! I can’t wait to get away from all the nut jobs upstairs! Probably a whole new crowd downstairs.
Worked 10 hours today since I’m planning on going to NC to see my baby this weekend! Hoo ray! It’s been like 5 or 6 weeks!
Sara and I have both been really stressed out about her getting a job. We can’t live on my salary alone (which is pathetic because I make a shit load of money…but not compared to the cost of living out here) and she just can’t find a job by me. We had some back up ideas, such as some research jobs and some retail jobs she really didn’t want, but today Sara came up with a great idea. Temporarily she could teach at a community college or something since she’ll have a masters and all. Not perfect, but better than the previous ideas!
Here’s the big event of today:
I need to get a refill on my allergy meds, but I’ve switched insurance since I got the perscription. I called the pharmacy to see if this would be a problem and they said “No.” I didn’t believe them. I went in to pick up my prescription. They said, “Problem!” What a surprise. Aparently, I need to be “pre-approved” for my Zyrtec now, so my doctor needs to call the insurance company and then its going to take them 6 days to approve me, after which I can get my medicine. The big problem is that my pills aren’t going to last that long! I’m going to call my doc tomorrow, hopefully he can give me some samples or something.
Alright, I think that’s it.
My brother just called…it sounds like his computer is royally screwed. Sounds like his hard drive went kaput. I guess there are worse things that could happen to a person. Luckily this was a few days after he turned in two big papers!
I took my allergy pill today…wow! What a difference! Yesterday I felt like dying and today, nada. Just a tad sleepy. That could either be from the pills or from not eating, hard to say.
Speaking of, last night I had this dream where I was walking down this huge buffet table that was covered in cookies and doughnuts and other sweets. I tried resisting for awhile but eventually I would break down and take something and put it on my plate. I even remember thinking, “if I eat this cookie before I get to the end of the table, it doesn’t count!” Yeah, this weight loss thing has got to stop! Yesterday I also did something I said I would never do…I bought skim milk. Blech! Sara berated me today for eating less than 1000 calories a day. She says it’s not healthy, but it sounded like the worst thing that would happen would be your metabolism would slow down. Less than two weeks left in the contest!
Now that I never eat anything, I can understand why fat people are jolly. I sure was feeling a lot more jolly back when I stuffed myself with delicious food every day! Now I’m always irritable.
In fact, I’m irritable right now.
Leave me alone.
Stop looking at me.
My allergies kicked in today with a VENGENCE. Usual symptoms, watery eyes, runny nose, headache, sinus pressure…in short, I’m a mess. I’m going to bed right now even though it’s about 2 1/2 hours before I normally do. I’m not tired but my headache is pounding and I need to close my eyes for awhile. The worst part of the day was trying to get groceries while feeling like this. I have to remember to start taking my medicine tomorrow. I worked out but it was quite lackluster.
Sara met with the mean cake lady and the florist today. Sounds like it went pretty well. Just another thing to mark off the checklist.
I think I had other things to write but I’m too sick to think or type.