My garbage cans are so full of tissues. The one at work. The one in my office. The bedroom. The bathroom. The kitchen. All filled to the brim, waiting for my poodle to notice they’re stacked high enough for her to reach one so she can stand on her back legs, slowly pull it out with the tip of her teeth, destroy it on the living room rug, then try to murder me if I clean it up in her presence. BECAUSE THAT’S HERS NOW AND I NEED TO APPRECIATE WHAT SHE DID WITH IT. That’s what I figure she’s thinking when she makes her mean face, shriek-barks and attempts to draw blood from my hand.
I also have many pseudo-garbage cans all stuffed with stiff booger paper constructs. The floor of my car. The empty paint can in the garage. The pockets of the jeans I wore last Sunday and will forget to empty so the tissues shred into 15,000 pieces in the laundry. The end of April is a privilege all allergy sufferers get to endure annually. It kicks off a season of thorough snot-soaked living. Folks like me are never without a season where our allergies suck, but springtime offers a special kind of suck. Especially when it’s 74 outside one day and 31 the next, as has been the case in Pittsburgh.
I started getting allergy shots at the ripe age of 3. The only effect they had making me look like I had incredible triceps for a preschooler as my arms were continually swollen from being poked with an allergen needle. When I finally punched someone and they thought they had been graced by a gentle breeze, my secret was out and everyone realized my muscles were nothing but inflamed body parts. I got the shots for two years and we decided they were proving ineffective. I had amassed a pretty good collection of stickers and lollipops by then, but that was all the trips were good for.
Move forward 22 years to winter 2010. I’d taken every medicine available, used every nosespray, tried every herbal remedy and magic potion. Benny Hinn hit me on the forehead and Miss Cleo told me to become one with the plants. Nothing worked. I decided to try allergy shots again. An appointment was made with a doctor who looks like a sloppy Joe Manganiello.
“I figured it’s been over 20 years, there must be some advancements in allergy shot technology by now,” I said to him.
“Not really. They’re still pretty much the same idea,” he said. “But you may be more responsive to them now.”
Oh good. They did the prick test for 36 different allergens. I responded to 34 of them. Everything but dogs and one variety of mold. And the dog thing isn’t even true, because I have a real hard time asthma-wise in the presence of dogs aside from the few breeds on the allergy-friendly list, like my poodle and schnauzer.
Obviously it didn’t work this time either. I started coming for injections twice a week. They had to do two vials since they can’t fit all the things I’m allergic to into one. I did this through the end of July (about 8 months) and only felt worse. I didn’t receive a single sticker or lollipop. The summer was horrendous. The day I stopped coming was the best I’d felt in 2011.
I think what they inject you with is just pee. Then the doctor giggles in his office and eats lunch with your co-pay.
I just realized I don’t really have an ending for all this. The point is that there’s not much I can do about it, and I’m filled with boogers. You probably are too, so maybe I’m hoping you read this as you sneeze or wipe your nose on the underside of your t-shirt when you think nobody is looking.
Because you do that. I know you do.
Keep on blowin’.