“I tried to find out what sort of allergy I had but finally came to the conclusion that it must be an allergy to consciousness.”
Hey, guess what I did yesterday? I put a big, fat checkmark next to my one and only New Year’s resolution: I went to see an allergist.
(You can all still scream “FUCKING GOLF!” and backhand me if you want, for not doing this YEARS ago.)
“Okay!” the cheery receptionist had said in a sing-song voice. “We’ll see you at 8:00 on Monday morning!”
“Great!” I said.
And as soon as I hung up I wanted to backhand myself, because what in the world was I thinking?
- I don’t live near the office.
- I have to take one highway and several busy roads to get there.
- During rush hour.
- On a Monday morning.
I called back.
“Listen,” I said. “Can I reschedule my appointment for later in the morning?”
“Oh,” the receptionist said. “Well, the doctor really likes to see patients with your symptoms first thing in the morning.”
“How about 9:00?” I asked. “Even one hour later would be better.”
“She’s really pretty adamant about having you here at 8:00,” she said apologetically.
“Um, okay!” I said. “See you at 8:00!”
I was there by 7:45, with all my New Patient forms already completed. I’m such a model patient.
I saw a nurse and the doctor. I answered many questions, blew into some contraption until I was light-headed and seeing small, sparkly stars, and sat patiently as I was poked, prodded, and evaluated. I tried to describe my allergy woes without sounding like a complete wuss. The doctor was great, I have to say. I was there for three hours and she didn’t once make me feel rushed.
Then it was time for the prick test. They wrote numbers on my forearms, one through thirty-five.
“Sometimes we don’t get good results from the prick test,” the doctor warned. “If that’s the case, we may want to discuss doing intradermal testing.”
Turns out that she needn’t have worried. Within seconds of being punctured, huge welts were rising on my arms and my skin went fiery red from palms to elbows. The waiting period was almost unbearable, so badly did I want to claw at my arms and plunge them into a bucket of ice water.
“Don’t scratch!” the nurse warned. “Hang in there just a few more minutes!”
I tried to pretend that I was in labor and took some deep breaths.
The doctor furrowed her brow. “You poor thing. We haven’t had anyone with such a severe reaction in a long time!”
Other nurses were called in to observe the freak of nature in Exam Room #2. The moment the timer went off, they wiped my arms down and measured the welts. A spackle-like layer of cortisone cream was applied to my arms and they brought me an Allegra & Benadryl cocktail.
I sat sniffling at the table with my cortisone-caked arms extended, palms up, a human sacrifice to the allergy gods.
“Well,” the doctor said, “You’re allergic to pretty much everything known to man.”
“Look!” I said hopefully, pointing to a tiny area that was not inflamed. “I didn’t react to the dog test!”
She peered at my arm. “Actually, that’s cockroach.”
Hallelujah! I’m allergic to everything but cockroaches!
My follow-up appointment is in three weeks. In the meantime, I have a variety of medications to test and a strange apparatus that I’m supposed to breathe into twice a day so I can chart the results. Special dust mite-proof covers for our pillows are on order.
Oh, and it looks like I should never, ever leave the air-conditioned house during the seasons of spring, summer, or fall. That’s only eight months out of the year, right?
I could be a professional hermit!
Either that or move to the desert and start a cockroach farm.
Labels: Inside My Head