Losing you's a sure way to set off my allergies

Yeah, so is having allergens shot right into my arm.

Today, I went to the ASAP clinic to get re-tested for allergies and other things in hopes of determining why I have so many sinus problems. I was last tested during my freshman or sophomore year of high school, and none of my allergies were severe or even moderate. The tests for dust, mold, mildew and grass were positive, but those are super-common and easily treated. I was put on a mild antihistamine and sent on my way.

Well, instead of becoming a NORMAL HUMAN BEING and growing out of my allergies, I've grown into them, and they're become pretty severe in the last year or so. During the fall and early spring — my worst allergy seasons — I get several sinus infections and can barely do anything between the massive itching that's going on and the fact that I'm getting too little oxygen.

During one of my many trips to Student Health this past April, I actually got to see a real doctor instead of a nurse practitioner, and she said I may have more serious problems than just allergies and recommended I go to ASAP for tests. It was the end of the school year: I had finals and other things to worry about, like what I was going to do with my life, so I just put it off. Of course I got sick again this summer and made yet another visit to Student Health, where I was quickly referred to ASAP for testing.

That testing finally happened today, after five loooooong days of not taking my beloved Zyrtec. I made it through the first two okay, with a little congestion and itchy eyes. By Saturday, however, I had urticaria, commonly known as hives (NOTE: That is not a picture of mine. They weren't quite that severe, and they were on my back and arms, but that gives you a good idea of how much I resembled a leper.) If you've never had hives, I hope you never do. Unless I don't like you.

Anyhow, they were not as I'd imagined they would be; they were just big clusters of mosquito bite-looking bumps that ITCHED. And scratching only makes them worse, FYI. Occasionally, I gave in and scratched and damn it felt good, but that just made them stick around longer. Luckily, I don't have severe ones, and they come and go rather quickly (the longest any stayed at one time was about an hour). Pretty much the only thing that made them not itch was, well, okay nothing. Bathing helped some, so did copious amounts of hydrocortisone, but last night I got in bed and cried for an hour because I itched beyond belief and there was nothing I could do about it.

So, after that misery, I "agreed," as my doctor kept saying, to let a nurse inject 15 different allergens under my skin to see what my reaction would be. These were just common allergens, such as grass, mold and various trees. Right away, the spot for dust got really red and swollen and ITCHY, and so did the ones for mold and some tree mix. There was another dot that was nearly as bad as the one for dust, but I didn't see the reference sheet in time to know what it would be.

Fifteen long minutes later, the nurse washes off my arm and makes some notes, and then announces to what I am allergic: mild reactions to grass and mold, moderate reaction to mildew and the tree mix, severe reactions to dust and (get this) COCKROACH.

BARF BARF BARF. I am allergic to cockroaches. That was the mystery allergen I didn't see in time on the sheet. I looked at the nurse incredulously and asked how I can be allergic to cockroaches; they don't bite or anything, so it's not the same as being allergic to bees or other insects. What contact do I have with cockroaches?

Well my friends, we as humans INHALE COCKROACH DROPPINGS, and some people (e.g., me) have an adverse reaction to it. I seriously almost puked all over the poor woman's desk. I was extremely grossed out by this revelation — I, who will clean the stuff out of a kitchen drain with my bare hand, which I have come to believe is the standard by which a person's gross-out threshold can be measured. Grooooooooossssssssssss.

The nurse told me it's pretty uncommon to be allergic to cockroaches. Well, yippee, look at me being a minority! They should put my name on a plaque somewhere for having to acknowledge that there is cockroach poop somewhere inside my body and it's making me sick. I have weird allergies: cockroach, bananas, nasal spray for allergies (Hey, Alanis, want irony? Are you allergic to allergy medicine?).

My parents produced a freak of nature. George doesn't have bad/freakish allergies; how did I get so screwed? I've decided that I'm allergic to everything that can be inhaled except for oxygen (and even that is probably questionable). Randy Travis is the singer of the song that is my title; maybe this will give him some new inspiration.

And for your viewing pleasure:
Those are my 15 dots of hell. They look worse now than they did when I was actually at ASAP, so that probably means I'm deathly allergic to something there that they weren't able to catch. At the same time, this picture doesn't do the cockroach spot a bit of justice.

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