Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Coming out of a fog

Allergies suck. I've had them most of my life and for the most part, I've grown pretty used to it. It's not like they're life threatening, or anything. (That I know of.) My head just gets really fuzzy on occasion and my nostrils turn into faucets. Not pleasant, but usually manageable with drugs.

But today I had one of those scratch tests for the first time since I was a teenager. To prepare for the test, I wasn't allowed to take any antihistamines for 3 days and let me tell you, I learned I'm more addicted to my Reactine than I thought I was. I swear I don't take one everyday, I don't. I only take them when I'm feeling like I need it or when I know I'm going to be gardening or visiting a cat infested household, but being off them for 3 summer days in a row, must be one of the stages of hell.

And then there was the scratch test. That must be a higher (lower?) level. They tested about 30 foods on my left arm, and nothing really happened, so I was just left with this bizarre pattern of pin prick marks... but my right arm was a whole other story. Within seconds of the nurse scratching each evil droplet of allergen laced poison, each scratch started to bleed (the other side didn't bleed). And then they stung and then itched and then swelled. By the time the 6 hours (okay, maybe it was 10-15 minutes) of waiting passed, my forearm was a nasty, bright-red, swollen angry mass of itchiness and burning. (That 15 minutes of waiting for the reaction really did feel like hours.)
The nurse didn't think my reaction to flax seed or feathers was too bad (2 of the twenty-odd scratches on that arm), but the doctor basically took a look at my right arm and said "let's just call it everything". (All trees, flowers, weeds, grasses, dogs, cats, dust, molds, etc. etc. etc.)

Imagine being bitten by 30 mosquitoes at the same time, all on the inside of your forearm -- all within a 7x1 inch rectangle -- and then have each bite welt up so much they meld into each other. That was my arm this morning.
After I got out of there, I double dosed on my reactine so I could slow the flow of my nostril faucets, dull the redness and burning to something more in the pink range and to shrink the welts, but I was left with a foggy head all day and barely got any work done. (So I went to the movies :-)

And now my arm looks like I'm some kind of cutter or something... A very precise one.


Kristen Painter said...

I can't believe you didn't provide us with pictures of this exciting experiment.

Sorry you're feeling crummy.

Maureen McGowan said...

Ha! I actually considered photos, Kristen.
I'm feeling better today, but my right forearm still looks as if I've got a little cutting myself problem.

Barrie said...

I put two of my kids through this hellish testing. It wasn't fun to watch, but definitely easier than being the arms (and back, in their cases). Have you considered allergy shots? Also, what movie did you see? I just saw Waitress (based on your recommendation) and loved it!

Maureen McGowan said...

I did allergy shots for about 10-15 years when I was a kid... And I guess I'm going back on them now. Hope they make more of a difference this time.

I had the test done on my back when I was a kid. And needles, not scratches. I have horrible memories of it. As bad as my angry red swollen arm was yesterday, it wasn't as bad as what I remember as a kid.

Sara Hantz said...

Yikes, Maureen that sounds awful. Glad you're feeling better today. Hope they can sort you out in the end.

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