Is it a peak allergy season in North Carolina right now? I ask because I honestly don’t know. Two nights ago, while sitting at the bar of 6th and Vine splitting date night between my husband and my girlfriend Molly, I started to feel a tickle in my throat.
As I outlined in my last post, I don’t knock on wood for good health, and I’m telling you right now, pregnancy cured a disease in me. No. I’m totally serious. From the time I was very young (it started in Mississippi, which was second and third grades) I have suffered from what I would consider severe asthma, and not the kind doctor’s call “sports induced.” In Mississippi, I was allergic to everything, and could count on getting sick for at least two full weeks of every year, once in the Fall and once in the Spring. In fact, I spent my second grade Spring Break, the entire week, in the ICU, hooked up to IV’s and breathing machines. I remember very little of it, outside of my dad sneaking in popcorn and Pepsi for the night shift, and watching Johnny Carson with me on a television that resembled a green microwave with a screen that was slightly bigger than an iPhone.
When we moved to Washington State, my parents starting taking me to an actual allergist, where I began a long relationship with allergy shots. I have to admit, getting tested for allergy shots was actually one of my favorite parts of childhood. Twice they did it on my back, and it was a little like a Chinese torture/pleasure experience. Twice they did it on my arms, and again, the needle pricks relaxed me into a state of malaise, which was immediately interrupted by instantaneous itching, and the fight not to scratch. Sadistic? A little.
In high school, I missed our Fall retreat every year because I was sick. My senior year, I prepared in advance, got on a steroid the week before and even brought my breathing machine (also about the size of a small microwave) with me. My dad now admits to driving 120 miles an hour in my mother’s Volvo to pick me up in the middle of the night and take me to the emergency room. He didn’t get pulled over, but he was pretty sure he could have convinced any cop of the emergency and talked himself out of the ticket. (My attorney husband is rolling his eyes right now.)
I have been on four different oral medications throughout my life, and whenever I so much as had a sniffle or a scratch in my throat, my parents rushed me to the Minute Clinic to get antibiotics and a steroid. In college, I bought Z-Packs on the black market, in order to be ready for the inevitable final’s week sickness. I have always relied on a rescue inhaler, which is probably why, for most of my life, I was a weak athlete and hated running, even though my body would have suggested otherwise.
And people wonder why I never had a boyfriend.
Asthma is a wimpy kid disease, and not the kind you want to admit you suffer from.
When I got pregnant with Eliott, everything changed. I had to go off Allegra-D, because it is on the “we don’t know if this messes with a fetus so avoid using it” list. But aside from my weekly and progressive allergy to– said fetus, I was otherwise in the best health of my life. I mean, yes, I lost 7lbs in the first trimester due to all-day morning sickness that had me constantly feeling like the room was spinning. Yes, I was mildly addicted to Tums Smoothies from month four until delievery. And yes, I did break out in all-over hives for the last six weeks of pregnancy, causing 3 a.m. scalding hot baths in oatmeal or Aveeno, just so I could go back to bed. (They call it PUPS?) But I never had to use my inhaler.
And I haven’t really ever had to use it since.
And I no longer take allergy meds. At all.
And I ran my 2nd marathon when Eliott was 8 months old.
So, today, I awoke with gunk in the back of my throat and that foggy headache that is clearly not just a caffeine withdrawal. And I’m wondering, is it allergy season in North Carolina? We’re flying to Michigan in two days to stay on John’s farm. I have an inclination to bring along my breathing machine (which is now roughly the size of my iPhone), but I’m not even sure if I have any medication to put in it.