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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Allergies and the Acorn Tree

oak "flowers"
After going to the allergist twice, I am now the proud owner of an antihistamine, two allergy pills, a squirt nasal antihistamine, four inhalers, and an epi-pen. One of the inhalers is also for swallowing six times each day. But, it is July now, so this is old news about the early spring allergies. I have reactions to heat and to my own sweat! However, this has been the best spring of my life. Only once did I feel the "sand in the eyes" feeling.
I sweat lots. When it dries on my skin, it feels like nettles all over me. Hives appear and torment me. I can easily claw myself bloody. Today, I have been in the yard ten times for a total of four minutes each time. Lopping has been my chore today. I never dry off before I go out again. I use a wet washcloth to get the sweat off me, cool me, and refresh me. 
One day back in the spring, I was riding the electric cart in the grocery store. A woman of about 30 leaned over me and asked, "Sweetie, do you mind if I get these things off your back and out of your hair?"  Alarmed, I asked what was on me. I thought "bugs."  She picked several oak flowers from my hair and shoulders. I laughed and commented that I had to walk under two oak trees to get into the car and that I wore the flowers all the time in the spring. She said, "Oh, that's okay" as though I had been caught naked. "I don't have an oak tree but I have an acorn tree that has these same flowers on them."
Of course, I was stunned that a grown woman with two elementary-aged children did not know the name "oak" and was under the impression there was a tree called "acorn tree." It was as though she were less than two and just learning to name things. How does this happen?  
This spring was the most pleasant spring, allergy wise, that I have spent in my life. I had a low-grade fever for three months solid and then on and off this last winter, all caused by allergies.
I was in a store with a pharmacy. As soon as I entered the door, I started coughing. By the time I got to the department I wanted, I was coughing and losing my breath completely, getting really dizzy and weak. I headed for the pharmacy and motioned the pharmacist frantically. I asked her if I had an inhaler prescription I could pick up, that I could barely breathe. She rushed to the computer and rushed back with the box with the inhaler. I could not remove it from the box because my hands were shaking. She asked if I needed help; I could only nod and give it to her. She opened the box, ripped open the strong plastic containing the inhaler, primed it and handed it back. After using it, I was ready to pay for it even though I felt too weak to do anything.
As it turns out, she just gave it to me because I got that rescue inhaler prescription at Urgent Care with no refills for the rescue inhaler. "I can stand here until you pass out and call an ambulance, or I can just give it to you." When I told the allergist, he nodded and said, "She did the right thing." Thankfully, she was compassionate and not rule-bound.
This regimen of inhalers is making me feel better so far. At least every allergen does not do me in as was the case before. This is a new world for me. Maybe I have posted about this before.
Your turn
Do you use an inhaler or four for breathing problems? Or, maybe it is a child. Do you have an inhaler for swallowing instead of inhaling? 


  1. Spring and summer used to be a misery for me. More than thirty years ago I went through a course of desensitising injections - and these days I am (mostly) fine. Of the ten most common allergens here I wasn't allergic to only two. Dog and cat hair. The rest? Oh yes. Grasses, pollen, dust...

    1. Menopause cut my allergies by 2/3, but I still had devastating allergic problems. I'm glad you got some relief. It seems I am allergic to common and uncommon allergens. I am allergic to beef. At least it is not something I have often, mostly, of course, because I avoid beef to avoid problems.

    2. I have sensitivities to not only beef, but to all meat. I had migraine after migraine after migraine until I became a vegetarian. Now? A few a year. I suspect it is not the meat but what we do to it, but when I discovered the link organic produce wasn't readily available. These days I am quite happy to live without meat.

  2. Sounds like you have eosinophilic esophagitis. Thats what I thought the swallowing type of inhaler was for. It is still an allergy, but you swallow the mist to get the med to your esophagus.

  3. Kristine,
    Yes, that is what I have and why I swallow instead of inhale. The lesions are from an allergy. That is why they are trying to ascertain my allergies. The swallowed inhaler is to make the lesions go away so they won't become cancerous. I am not sure how they handle cancer in the esophagus.

  4. I used an inhaler throughout my childhood for asthma, but I've been fortunate enough not to need one as an adult so far.

    I'm glad the pharmacist was allowed to be compassionate. Our school system was ridiculous when it came to inhalers, requiring them to be kept in the nurse's office. I remember having an asthma attack in 9th grade and having to stumble downstairs, coughing so hard that I could barely see, making it into the office, only to find out that the nurse was out. A secretary had to get the vice-principal out of his office to get my inhaler for me. Obviously, I made it through okay, but I heard the school was forced to change its policy a few years after I graduated.

    Anyone who has never stopped breathing has no idea how long those few minutes can seem!

    1. Oh, it was scary that day, about the third time I could feel myself not being able to get air and getting worse. She did this all on her own. I asked her if she would get into trouble. She shrugged her shoulders. "We just lost it. I don't know where it went." I would have gone to bat for her if she had gotten in trouble.

  5. Back when I smoked I used an inhaler Since quitting I am all good ...but I still maintain the inhaler RX. I keep one by the bed and one in my purse but haven't needed to use them in just ages. I remember how it felt to gasp for air. I hope you are under the care of a Dr who can help you to conquer your symptoms.

    1. This was just a doctor in Urgent Care who had horrible bedside manners! But, he gave me what I needed.

      Yes, gasping for air is awful. I never knew how it felt until this last year. I am glad you quit smoking and got relief.


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