You’re eating breakfast when you look outside the window. The flowers have bloomed, the sun is shining, and the grass is as green as Kermit the Frog. You sprint outside, drop to your knees, and roll your body around in the tulip beds, aggressively snorting the pollen that sits inside the obnoxiously colourful petals. Spring has sprung.
Or at least that’s how I’d imagine it if I didn’t have seasonal allergies.
Instead, I spend my spring inside with the windows sealed shut, pretending I’m not missing out on anything, ‘cause who wants to spend their day in the sunshine after months of darkness? No, I’d rather spend my time indoors, where I’m protected from the big bad, scary pollen.
Even with modern allergy medicine, my springs are a living hell. I can’t even imagine if I had to live a hundred years ago. I would’ve had to hope that I was wealthy enough to marry a rich man who could seal me up in an allergy-proof, concrete mansion where flowers are banned, ‘cause there’s no way that I could live as a peasant. I couldn’t tend to crops or horses or be a milkmaid, I would probably drop dead three days after Papa put me to work.
I’m totally cool with it though. My allergist prescribed me a shot program where I spend an itty-bitty 3 years of my life regularly getting poked with a needle full of things I’m allergic to in order to cure myself of them and icing the hell out of the bump that swells up around the injection for the three days following, ballooning my arm to three times its normal width. Despite the possible anaphylactic side effects, they’ve been pretty effective. Don’t let that fool you though, I’ve still gotta remember to take my Reactine every morning, and whip out one of those magical, neon-pink, fast-acting Benadryls every day or so. Man, those things are everywhere in my house. Kitchen counter? Gottem’, not even worth putting away in our medicine basket. Wallet? Those bad boys are as good as toonies. School bag? In a little Ziplock that make some people think I’m a drug dealer.
Too many times in my fifteen years on this planet have I found myself pathetically puffing on my inhaler like a Juul, popping so many allergy pills that I may as well try crushing them up and snorting them to make it a little more exciting. I’m honestly considering getting purposefully conned by a naturopathic doctor so they can “prescribe” me some stupid vegan smoothie that’ll “cure” me, because I’m willing to entertain anything at this point.
My already barely-there social life has nearly been ruined by the universe being an absolute prick. The past two years, I’ve repeatedly missed school because I couldn’t comfortably exist, basically. Too many Girl Guide camps have been missed because someone decided it was a “great idea!” to go camping in the middle of blooming season (“It’ll be so pretty!”) and too many softball games have been sat-out because my immune system couldn’t keep its shit together. To those of you out there who pray, would y’all mind talking to whomever or whatever you believe in and ask them to give those of us suffering a frickin’ break? I mean, world peace and stuff too, but I really don’t need God destining me to be a wuss on top of all the crappy things going on in the world.
Even as I’m typing this, I’m trying not to claw my eyes out as I can feel the allergens in my waterline wreaking havoc. My tongue is slithering back and forth, trying to provide some impossible relief to the itch that seems to be hiding either in my throat or in my ear, just when I think it’s in one place it moves to another. Really not the best way to enjoy what will eventually add up to years of my life.
I imagine what I’ll have to deal with as an adult, calling my boss one day to say, “Sorry, person who pays my bills, but today I got the sniffles. From a tree.” Not the most mature or professional look. My wedding? Won’t do it in the winter, already afraid of getting cold feet. Fall is too rainy and cold, and honestly, I hate the colour palette (Brown? Brown-based red? Disgusting.) That leaves us with spring or summer, the devil’s seasons. My bouquet will be made of pill bottles, my dress of tissues, and my veil of damp washcloths. To top it off, I’ll marry someone who has a peanut allergy. Our centrepieces will be Epipens sticking out of a glass vase filled with allergy pills. Instead of taking shots at the bar, take a shot of epinephrine straight to the thigh.
Every time I walk past someone mowing the lawn, trimming weeds, I need to cross the street or plug my nose and hope for the best. That’s right, some might cross the street to avoid someone sketchy or threatening, but no, I cross the street to avoid fresh cut grass.
School is often a write-off. It’s hard to conjugate French verbs or work through linear equations while sneezing, sniffling, and coughing your way through a Benadryl-induced fugue state.
Allergies can sometimes have their benefits, though. Don’t want to do the run in P.E.? Sorry, my allergies make my asthma go crazy. Don’t feel like going out? “Hey, I’m so sorry. My allergies flared up, so I’ll be locked inside my room until fall!” Don’t want people to know that you go to the bathroom to cry because someone said you were a little “intense?” “I’m totally fine! Just allergies! Haha!” Is looking for any possible excuse good for getting me out of my comfort zone in the long run? Absolutely not. Will I keep making them so I can go home and take a nap? One-hundred percent.
Spring allergies are by far the worst of the most mediocre and inconvenient medical conditions. Sure, my pain is nowhere near the level that my dad experienced after his triple-bypass surgery, but it’s not nothing. They’re two incomparable things, like apples and oranges, except that the apples are three weeks recovering in hospital and a lifetime of cholesterol pills, and the oranges are feeling like my body will explode from the tingly burning sensation everywhere inside.
All of this is to say that being allergic to the world surrounding you has had zero negative effects on my life! It’s absolutely no sweat to have to answer the question “What are you allergic to?” with “Nature. Everything outdoors, except the pavement,” countless times. Honestly though, I’m sick of it. I’ve met a couple of people who’ve told me to “get over it.” Really, Eugene? You want me to “get over” my immune system’s flaws? I mean, you could “get over” the fact that literally no refugees are going to “steal your job” or “take over,” ‘cause guess what? Your great-grandad already did that, while also aiding in the genocide and oppression of indigenous people! Did you think about that, Eugene?
Right, sorry. But I can’t just “get over” my allergies. They prevent me from doing the things I love, being with the people I love, and living the life I want to live. So the next time you see someone struggling with the woes of the spring season, offer them a Benadryl, or a tissue, and maybe a couple kind words of encouragement.
Image Credit: Anita Martinz/flickr