I have all kinds of stupid allergies and I seem to get more of them as I get older. I asked my doctor about it and he said that “as you get older your immune system gets weaker . . .” I have to admit that when he started off with “as you get older” I didn’t really want to hear anything else he had to say. I know we are getting older all the time, but at what age does it become a negative thing instead of a positive thing?
Anyway – my allergies started off at puberty with hay fever, which gradually evolved into anything green and growing. I could deal with that – just take my allergy medicine during the growing season and I was fine. But then the stupid stuff started. I was not only allergic to green and growing, I was allergic to the oils in anything that grows. Then anything that was scented with the oils of anything that grows. Do you know how many things use grass oil or rose oil? A friend anointed me with a scented oil and I had a red, swollen cross on my forehead for three days. I can’t stand next to anyone wearing perfume or aftershave. The cleaning solution they used at Chickamauga Visitors Center bothered me so much I got bad headaches on days they mopped the floors. I can’t use anything scented for cleaning or washing clothes. I’ve learned to deal with all of this by getting very good at spotting unscented, hypoallergenic products. I’m fortunate that these products are easy to find.
A couple of years ago I picked up a sensitivity to latex. I bought non-latex bandages and moved on. The problem is I keep forgetting this is a new allergy so when I got my flu shot they used a bandage with latex. I didn’t think about it until the next day when I took off the bandage and some of the swollen and rashy skin underneath came with it.
But recently my stupid allergies took a new turn. You may remember that Tom bought me a Native American Flute for my birthday. It isn’t the world’s most expensive Native American Flute but it is very nice and has a pretty tone. It is made out of Eastern Cedar, a soft, aromatic wood. I started playing it half an hour every day. A few days after I started, I got what I thought was a cold sore. Yuck, but no biggy. Then the cold sore spread all the way across my upper and lower lips. Then my gums and lips swelled up and I figured out – I am allergic to my Native American Flute! Argh!
I took a break of a couple of weeks for my lips to heal up and then I resumed practicing the Native American Flute with saran wrap on the mouthpiece. It looks silly and I feel ridiculous, but I can practice without my lips taking on a zombie-esque appearance. The Native American Flute is one of the easiest instruments to learn how to play but my stupid allergies are making it more of a challenge.
I am very fortunate that a simple allergy pill keeps most of my allergies under control. I am also fortunate that my usual reaction to allergies is contact dermatitis. Many people have allergies that threaten their lives. My allergies aren’t life-threatening – just stupid.