Archive for June, 2010

Allergies? Allergies? You don’t have no stinking allergies.

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

I have a very very bad habit of starting things and not finishing them — oh look!  Something shiny!  Where was I?  Right.  Unfinished tasks.  I also have a motivation problem.  I can think about something so much that I am exhausted before I’ve even moved and it never even gets started.

Why start my post this way?  Well, for years I have suspected I have allergies.  I don’t get sneezy (except this year) and I haven’t noticed a consistant “seasonal” onset, but I have post nasal drip.  ALL THE TIME.  And after I eat (not every meal, but MOST) I get very phlegmy and have to clear my throat for about 30 minutes.  In addition to these minor things I SWEAR I can tell when I have eaten a walnut because my mouth hurts and sometimes I throw up.

So…  A few years ago I had a nasty experience at my favorite Indian restaurant where I ordered something new that didn’t have walnuts in it, my mouth exploded as if I had had walnuts, and I threw up in our parking lot when I got home.  When I spoke to the owner he said there were only cashews in the dish, and only cashew powder for that matter.  No matter…because I used to snack on cashews by the pound so I’m pretty sure I am not allergic to cashews.  To this day they insist there was nothing other than cashew dust in the dish, but my mouth is usually pretty specific with the walnuts so…who the heck knows.

This prompted me to finally go to an allergist.  He was a nice guy.  He listened to my story.  He got his assistant to bring in a few huge trays of pokey allergens that they smooshed into my back, and afterwards, after NOTHING happened on my back (aside from me feeling like someone had turned me into a pin cushion) said, “I’ll bet you think you’re done.”  Well, actually I didn’t…but I was wondering what the next step would be.  Turns out it’s blood.  They take your blood and test it for all the things they just stuck into your back.  Good times.  Unfortunately, that blood work required me to find a place to take my blood, make a time to go (with no end time since you know how long you can end up waiting at those walk-in blood places!) and *sigh* actually go.  That never happened.

Fast forward a year or so (sad how I used to be so specific with my timeline memory) and put me in front of my favorite steak house/fancy drink restaurant with a couple vendors.  Business meeting.  Talking shop.  Had some garlic bread, a couple drinks, and all three of us split a shrimp cocktail – but they were huge so that means it was a prawn cocktail, right?  Anyhow, one vendor left and I was sitting with Rick whom I have worked with for a decade when suddenly my blood pressure took a large dive and it was all I could do to keep from fainting.  As I fought the darkness shoving its way forward from my periphery, I managed to say something like “I think I’m going to pass out” before VIOLENTLY THROWING UP…TWICE…on the table.   Mmmmm.  Good times.  This led me to believe I am allergic to shrimp, or prawns, a theory which I have not tested since (repeat? no thank you!) since immediately after “the incident” I felt better.  But did I get around to that blood test?  Did I follow up with the allergist?  Of course not.  Fast forward a couple of years to, oh, say, 2 weeks ago.

This allergy season was killing me!  Feeling like I had to sneeze for hours at a time.  Watering eyes (accompanying the feeling that I was just about to sneeze), runny nose, and that darned post nasal drip!  I was getting tired during the day again, so of course suspected my sleep apnea was rearing it’s Supposed-to-be-gone-now hideous head and began to despair.  For some, their hours of darkness find them calling out to the heavens.  I cry out (on email, so he doesn’t have to hear my sniffly whine) to Dr. Li.  And Dr. Li always answers.  This time he said, “Get thee to an allergist.” (I may have paraphrased a little).

Made the appointment.  Since it’s a new doctor and I didn’t  have records transferred (I did think about it!  But you know how that goes)  she didn’t take my word that someone else’s 3 trays of needles smooshed into my epidermis had no reaction and so she ordered her own.  I think her tech was way too into making each one hurt.  Whereas the 1st allergist had been able to smoosh one tray at a time (each tray housing some couple dozen allergen stick points) for a total of 3 moments of discomfort, this one had each allergen administered individually underneath my skin…and she had ordered many many allergens tested.  Unfortunately the burning I felt was not a reaction anywhere on my back and so the tech came back with the big guns.  Real needles.  None of these little prick your skin things.  These 8 needles had larger doses of certain allergens that were then INJECTED under my skin.  Those burned too, but according to whatever chart they had, none of them reacted (though it sure did look red and welty when I got home and stung until I got up in the middle of the night and exfoliated my back in the shower).

Turns out, the only thing you can do with the sticking and the pricking and the injecting of allergens into someone’s body is the existence of an allergy.  You cannot prove one doesn’t exist this way.  So what next?  Yes.  Blood.  I now have another blood work form to take to some blood work center.  I’m pretty sure I’ll do this one since my post nasal drip has turned into the feeling that something is caught in the mucus that has taken up residence at the back of my throat and I am tired during the day, especially while driving in traffic.  Boo Hoo.

I am going to stop writing now to go take an allerclear, drink a gallon of water, and forage for a salty snack that I hope doesn’t turn me into more of a phlegm monster than I am presently.  Hasta!

Oh…here’s a picture of my back that night.  Yes.  I have a lot of dots.  I know this.  What I am trying to show you are the “non-reactive” needle sticks.  Primarily I’m talking about the ones on the left that look like flea bites, though you can still see the writing on my back where she labeled the ones on the right.

Yes, I know I have lots of dots.

Yes, I know I have lots of dots.