TT: Ah-Choo!

JANE: So, Alan. We’ve been very literary of late. What high-brow topic shall we discuss next?

A Little Hoarse

ALAN: I have no idea. I’m currently having a massive sneezing fit from an allergy attack and my brain has turned to tomato soup

JANE:  Wow, to tomato soup?  That’s amazing.  I have allergies, too, but I’ve missed the bonus tomato soup element.

It just occurred to me that I’m dealing with autumn allergies, and you’re dealing with spring allergies.  Mine include tumbleweed, amaranth, and the omnipresent juniper.  What’s getting you?

ALAN: I don’t really know. My doctor calls it Non-Specific Rhinitis, which means that I sneeze a lot, nobody knows why, and every so often I turn into a rhinoceros. Now that he has given it a name, he feels that his job is done.

You seem to know exactly what causes your allergies to flare up. How did you find out?

JANE: I had a test – or perhaps what should be termed several tests, since what they did was draw a grid on my back and then poke me with tiny bits of various allergens to see where I reacted.  I still remember the nurse coming in, examining my back, and saying “Well, your pets are safe.  No reaction to any animal allergens.”

I was actually a little angry, since merely being allergic would not be reason for me to get rid of my animals – not if I could find a way (short of death) to manage the allergies, at least.

I’m also very attached to where I live.  Much of what I’m allergic to is common west of the Mississippi, uncommon “back East,” so I suppose I could try moving.  However, I really love living in New Mexico.  So, as long as I can manage my allergies, I’ll stay in the land of tumbleweed, amaranth, and much, much juniper.

Have you ever been tested for your allergies?

ALAN: Yes, I have. The test was similar to yours but on my arm rather than on my back. The nurse was very nervous. I was her first ever allergy test patient and she was worried in case she made a mistake. She carefully painted my arm with various common allergens and then scratched each stripe with a needle. After about five minutes, various of the scratches came up in itchy red lumps. The nurse was ecstatic. “I’m doing it right!” she yelled, her face wreathed in smiles. I was very pleased for her, but much less pleased to have an itchy right arm. The nurse measured the size of my lumps, smothered me with soothing cream, and wrote a report for my doctor.

JANE: That sounds as if you should have received definite results.  Why was the diagnosis “Non-Specific”?

ALAN: The tests were actually a little inconclusive because the allergens were spread across such a broad spectrum that it was hard to be precise about exactly what was affecting me. The pollen stripe, for example, was a mixture of common pollens, so goodness knows exactly what it was that I was reacting to. The only positive thing that came out of it was that I definitely wasn’t allergic to the cats.

Springtime pollen is the worst culprit, as you might expect, but I get attacks all year round, so obviously there is something else going on though nobody is quite sure what.

When I get a bad reaction, Robin is always very sympathetic, but she herself does not suffer from allergies at all, so while she realises that an attack is very debilitating, she doesn’t really understand just how it feels.

What about Jim? Does he have allergies?

JANE: Yes, he does, both plant and animal.  When we started dating, several of our mutual friends informed me that Jim was allergic to cats.  At that point, I had six cats.  I decided that, no matter how appealing I found Jim, I wasn’t going to give up my cats – and he’d better know that.  So, one day when he was visiting, we had the following exchange:

Jane: “I’ve heard from several people that you’re allergic to cats.  I feel it’s only fair to make clear that my cats are a non-negotiable element.”

Jim: “I was allergic but, maybe because so many of my friends have cats, I seem to have gotten better over the years.  Still, if I start having problems, well – I hate needles, but I’d get shots.”

ALAN: I’d certainly do the same as Jim. Fortunately I’ve never had to. Whatever it is that sets me off, it isn’t connected with the balls of fur that I wait on hand and foot.

JANE: I will admit, that exchange was when I started thinking Jim might be more than another pretty face.  And Bast, Goddess of Cats, was kind to him.  In the twenty-some years we’ve been together, he’s never had a bad reaction (even though a couple of our cats have decided that they must sleep on his pillow) and so he’s been able to avoid shots.

ALAN: It has been suggested to me that I might save myself a lot of misery by embarking on a course of injections to de-sensitise me to whatever it is that sets me off, but I’ve never bothered. My allergy attacks aren’t very frequent – perhaps once every month or so if I’m going through a bad period. So even though they do tend to knock me out and dehydrate me (I once used up six boxes of tissues in a single day; at least I think I did. My tomato soup brain was losing the ability to count…), I’ve never taken the suggestion any further.

Have you ever considered a course of de-sensitising injections?

JANE: Oh, that’s a complicated answer.  Can I save the response for next time?

ALAN: That’s probably a good idea – I’ve just come to the end of a box of tissues, and I need a cup of tea…


4 Responses to “TT: Ah-Choo!”

  1. King Ben's Grandma Says:

    Tomato soup brain is a good one. I often refer to my memory as Swiss cheese.
    Great caption on the picture. I love puns!

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