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A Hostage to My Nose

I’ve dealt with allergies since kindergarten

I can remember the first time they happened. I was rubbing my eyes because they were itchy, and then I rubbed them more because they had somehow gotten itchier and I wasn’t quite at that age where cause-and-effect were working at full capacity in my brainspace.

Oh how little I knew.

A normal person may see a lovely photograph of a field. I see…  the enemy .

A normal person may see a lovely photograph of a field. I see… the enemy.

It would eventually turn out that I am allergic to: pollen, grass, dust, dust mites, dogs, and cats. Also a few more, but those are the ones I remember. Upon my high school friends learning of this, I was promptly saddled with the nickname “Bubble Boy,” the implication being that my allergies were so bad that I lived inside a sterile plastic bubble as to avoid coming into contact with my omnipresent allergens.

Ha ha.

Allergies primarily affect my nose. When my allergies are bad, I go through tissue boxes the same way a wood chipper goes through woodchucks.

Also, laying in grass gives me horrid rashes. But the last time I lay in the grace without a shirt on was probably during a really intense game of Duck Duck Goose from a summer when I was, I dunno, seven.

The reason I bring this up is because they’ve become a problem for the first time in ages.

In high school, I was getting regular allergy shots, which did a huge part in containing the problem. Then I went to college and the California climate was a lot kinder in general to my sensitivities. So during college and my first two years of post-graduation, allergies would flare up right around the start of spring, but it usually wouldn’t be anything serious and I’d still be able to go about my life.

However, over the last few months I’ve been intermittently floored by my allergies for entire days.

I’ve had to cancel multiple social engagements (including Valentine’s day plans) because of it, as well as put off projects even more, as though I needed another excuse to not do any goddamn work.

This is debilitating congestion. Near constant sneezing and stuffiness. I can’t go more than a minute before needing to do something to get this criminal amount of snot out of my nose. It’s hard to think straight. Can’t focus on a thing, and my focus in my healthy moments has been bad enough already.

What makes this extra frustrating is that it’s basically just the sniffles, albeit increased to a degree that only the likes of Ionesco would inflict on one of his hapless absurdist characters.

There’s a constant dull pressure in my nose. And then I feel it strengthen, can feel the fluids in my sinuses gathering and clotting. Then the tickle comes. It’s a vicious tickle, like when your dad used to tickle your feet, only its isolated to a few square inches on the inside of my face. Every facial muscle scrunches in preparation. Sometimes the sneeze comes and it’s a relief. For a second. But then I feel the liquids do their buildup again. If I can’t get myself to sneeze, I grab the nearest tissue and trombone away. My nose blowing sound is incredibly loud and annoying. It’s a wonder that I still have a girlfriend, let alone that my family didn’t conspire to sneak into my room at night and DIY amputate my nose when I was keeping them up with HONK HONK HONK.

No matter what, it’s only a moment’s respite before I’m inflicted with more irritation.

I can hardly do anything when this is happening. And this will last a whole day. I’ve tried going for walks, going elsewhere, triple dosing medicine, Sudafed, and nasal spray (you know I’m desperate when I break out the nasal spray. I hate that shit).

I realize that I am ultimately lucky that this is the worst chronic health condition of mine. My allergies are annoying rather than deadly. Even so, it sucks. It’s forever been a part of my life. It will forever continue to be a part of my life.

How much time and energy have I had to give this stupid thing? How much of my life, my identity, my neuroses are wrapped up in my allergies? I’ve had to sacrifice doing things outside for long stretches of time. When my friend asked for help fixing his parent’s yard, I had to bow out after thirty minutes. I’ve had to wait around in the doctors office while my arm swole to the size of an avocado from an allergy shot. I’ve gone through countless tissues, taken countless pills, and endured a near constant stuffy nose for most of my childhood. My whole life, I’ve been a hostage to my nose and it’s unreasonable demands. I have no negotiator. It knows it can do whatever it wants.

At time of writing, I’m in the throes of allergies something terrible. I can’t even figure out the source of it. It could be dust? Maybe? I haven’t a fucking clue. Maybe the rain has something to do with it? Could it be that homeless woman I ignored the other week was a witch and she hexed me to die via an endless nasal drainage? Who’s to say?

Is it the worst thing in the world? God no. But it is my affliction all the same.

Overdramatic? Nah, you must be thinking of a different Drew.

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