Tuesday, May 10, 2005

More proof that I am a lemon

So I've mentioned this before, but I have allergies. Really, really bad allergies. I've had them since I was a kid. Here is a-sadly incomplete-list of things I am allergic to:

grass, trees, weeds, flowers, bushes, mold, dust, dust mites, ragweed, hay, cats, smoke, eye makeup remover, some perfumes, some colognes, potpourri, certain body soaps and lotions, some cleaning products, PABA, the sun, sulfa drugs, mango, canteloupe

I've been on allergy medication since I was 12. Five years ago I went to an allergist and had some tests done. They poke you with 36 little needles*. Each one contains a different allergen. Then they wait 15 minutes and examine your reaction to each one to determine which ones you're allergic to and to what degree. About 10 seconds after I was poked (get your mind out of the gutter), I walked past a nurse, and she said, "Oh my God-come here for a second." I walked over, and she started examining my arms. Then she started calling people over. "Betty, come look at this. I've never seen anything like it. Dr. L, come here! You have to see this!" A minute later the entire office staff was around me examining my arms and saying things like, "Wow-I've never seen a reaction this fast." I was about to pass out from the anxiety. What the hell is going on? What does this mean? Am I going to die?

Then without any explanation, they told me to have a seat in the waiting room, and they'd call me back up later. Oh okay-thanks for basically calling me a scientific anomaly and then not telling me what is going on. No that's cool, I'll just sit over here and crap my pants and smell up your waiting room.

Not only was I pretty sure I was dying, but my arms itched like crazy. They said that whatever I did, I could NOT scratch my arms. They watched me to make sure I didn't. I'm not kidding. They sat there and watched me, and if I put my hand up there my mom would swat it away. It was pure torture. If you'd like to experience it for yourself go find some poison ivy, roll around in it and then force yourself not to scratch it. If you can't find any poison ivy, John knows where to find some...on his skin...about twice a year...for real.

Finally the doctor called me up. He told me that I was allergic to almost every single thing they did tests on, and that I was one of the most severe allergy sufferers he had ever seen in his career. Nice. I win.

It was then that I began on my journey of allergy shots. Basically the way it works is every week they shoot you in both arms with all the things you're allergic to so you can build up a tolerance to them. They start out with really small levels of all of them increasing them slowly until all the allergens reach their natural state, and your body no longer reacts to them. The doctor said for most people it takes 6 months to get to that point, but for me it would probably take 18 months since I was so severe.

Once you reach Natural State (I'm giving it a proper name), you can start to come every other week then once a month, etc., until you're finally free. The process usually takes about 3 years. For me, it ended up taking 3 years just to get to Natural State, and even then they still made me come every single week for another year. Finally last year I got the news that I could come every other week. That is until last night when my doctor told me that it is grass season, and that my allergy to grass is as bad as it can possibly get for a human. As bad as it can get for a human! Score! I am a freak of nature! Whoo-hoo!

The point of this whole stupid post is that I am really effing pissed that I have to start going every week again. Dammit. I think I am going to live in a bubble.

*This is Scott's worst nightmare. He is scared of shots. And eating alone, but that is entirely unrelated.

21 comments:

Charlotte said...

That really freakin' sucks! I have a severe allergy to poison Ivy.. When I was about 10 I had it so bad my eyes were swollen shut for 2 days. It's no fun to be blind let me tell you. Especially when everyone around you is acting like nothing is wrong. It's very hard to find your way-I guess my parents were hoping for a head injury as well.

I'm also allergic to any men colognes.. so dudes, stay the hell away from me if you wear 'em. My eyes swell up and I start to choke-My husband however *conveniently* forgets this almost everyday. I think he's trying to kill me...

(sorry for the long comment-*I babble when I'm on drugs)
*No, not those kind! Well, atleast not for recreational use! heh..

Erik with a K said...

I hear you Sarah - when i was 2 or so, they strapped me down and stuck me with all those needles. It didn't take long, once they literally straitjacketed me, screaming and squealing, into Dr. Frankenstein's chair. I was allergic to everything - up came the rugs at my house, out went the dog, on went the ohsocool plastic mattress pads, and out went my self esteem. I finally quit sometime in HS, and as soon as i did, my allergies were gone. Imagine that.

Good luck with yours! :-(

Anonymous said...

I hear moving to Arizona helps!

Sarah said...

Charlotte, twice when I tried using eye makeup remover my eyes swelled shut for 2 days so I totally know what you are talking about. It is horrible. I looked like some kind of alien!

Erik, yeah I am an absolutely new person after these shots. They are amazing. I'm trying to convince John to go get them. Maybe I am addicted?

stewbie2 said...

My daughter is allergic to water. WATER makes her skin break out.

Diane said...

The allergies run in the family. I don't have them as bad as you, but I slept with my window open the past couple of nights and now I'm sick which is awesome. I mean, I should have known better, but I think it should be normal to be able to sleep with your window open when it is 70 degrees out and you live in an un-airconditioned house. What the eff!

BTW- I think it is cruel that it is possible for humans to be allergic to some of the basic survival needs like Water. Sarah and I are allergic to the sun. Normal.

Violet said...

Hey Sarah,

Do air purifiers help with allergies to pollen? My boyfriend's allergic to dandelions and I can't weed my neighbors' yards so I was thinking maybe an air purifier would work. What do you think? Thanks!

Okapi said...

I have this strange vision of you running along the street inside a giant hamster ball.

Although obviously I have no idea what you look like, my brain is using your illustrations for your scar placement as a reference point. I'm scared now, make it stop....

~jess~ said...

Oooh... I hate shots too so I don't know how you can handle it.

And my allergies aren't even close to being as bad as yours... I totally feel for you, though. They suck.

ARM said...

I'm allergic to pretty much everything you have listed as well. But since I'm scared of shots, too, I will suffer and keep trying different allergy pills. It sucks monkey balls.

Scott said...

I developed spring allergies about 3 years ago, which I hate because I used to love throwing the window open for some sunny, 60 degree breezes. It's strange to me how many people have such severe allergies. Did people have peanut and water allergies 100 years ago? Did they just die?

Sarah said...

Stewbie, allergic to water! What? How is that even possible? Aren't our bodies like 96% water or something? Your poor daughter. I feel for her!

Violet, I'm told that air purifiers do help, but I've honestly never tried one. Maybe I should!

Diane, we are really weird.

Okapi, I was drinking pop when I read your comment, and I spit it all over my monitor. It made me laugh so hard.

Scott, I think back in the day I definitely would've died off pretty fast due to my allergies and vision problems. I'm only nearsighted, but Drew told me that back in the hunting and gathering period I wouldn't have lived very long.

John said...

since you obviously can't get poison ivy from another person, the fact that I get it twice a year isn't helping anyone that wants to contract it.

BTExpress said...

I'm not allergic to anything.

Just thought I'd throw that in so you could redirect your anger away from your allergies.

Charlotte said...

Actually, you can get poison ivy from another person.. you can even get it if say.. you got it on a jacket, didn't wash it for 6 months then wore it again.. And needles really suck! I feel for you, I have steroid injections once a week where they stick a 10 inch needle in my spine.. oh no fun.

Sarah said...

Thank you, Charlotte! Scott and I argue with John about this poison ivy thing ALL THE TIME. It's our ongoing joke. In your face, John!

Sorry to hear about your steroid shots, Charlotte. Those do not sound fun at all!

John said...

Charlotte I'm going to need you to SHUT YOUR YAPPER! I said you couldn't get it from someone else but I meant you can't "Catch" it from someone else. If the person is just a transfer vehicle for Urushiol then yes you can GET it from another person or a cat or a dog or whatever or a double ender that you rub in the ivy and then on your pryvies. But when you actually see it on a person, at that point it has been absorbed and is not contagious by any stretch of the imagination. YOU CAN ALL EAT A PEENER!

Charlotte said...

John, I have to disagree with you.. If you have poison ivy on your finger and you touch someone they will get it too.. So there.. and I've already had my peener intake for the day thank you very much :P

Charlotte said...

just to shove my point home a little deeper..(because i'm obviously bored out of my ass)

Urushiol even stays stable in the necrotic blister and continues to irritate the skin and can initiate new lesions.

Boo-Yah

Sarah said...

I heart you, Charlotte.

Charlotte said...

I just calls 'em as I see's 'em...;)