I am firmly entrenched in the belief that snot is stored in a dehydrated, highly-concentrated state and that, if removed wholly from the average human being, could fill a suburban swimming pool with only the most modest amounts of water.
This belief does me no good in the war against allergies and their attendant woes. In fact, the belief is more than a little bit the child of despair and frustration. Long-suffering and Chapped nose are its godparents, and it has been raised alongside Fuzzy Head and Itchy Eyes, learning from its older siblings the ins and outs of how to survive in the world. Namely, to make other people suffer while suffering you, O suffering succotash!
When I was just a wee babe in arms of eight and nine, I remember being tested for allergies. No questions were asked and I received no grade (or maybe my parents withheld it from me out of shame). My arms were marked out with a grid and in the center of each square a tiny injection of an allergen was gifted to me, snug beneath my skin. Each pinprick that raised itself into a furious bump was praised with attention, praised, its named noted down in my permanent record.
I have that record. It sits in a red file folder, bulky and mysterious, all the secrets of my medical history laid down in code. Fat lot of good it does me now. Its red skin irritates my eyes, promising relief, an understanding that never comes.
And how often I have thought that if I could just get my allergies to understand, either through direct appeal or through the red-clothed intermediary, then surely, surely this torment would end!
But instead, needles. Needles needles needles.
Needles. That was the way it was back then, when belief in the all-powerful properties of needles was king, queen, the jester, the entire court! But especially the jester. Reason had it that all things avoided pain, and no animal, human or otherwise, enjoyed a fierce jab with a sharp stick. Starting with this assumption, what does science do but perfect it. What’s worse than a sharp stick? A sharp piece of metal. And, hey, why not, when the metal’s inside let’s shoot some chemicals down its core to, I don’t know, do something?
We know now that allergies (and their attendant allergens) are not afraid of needles. Nor are they afraid of pill. My allergies, at least, survived both and were no worse for the wear. In fact, they made so much money selling their tale to various presses that they can now afford long vacation. But, as you surely realize, no matter how many houses you own, you only have one home. In this case, that home is me. And I now experience the joy of spring cleaning.
In all seriousness – and this has all been serious – some days, I want to cut off my nose and curl into a ball wrapped tightly in a blanket and pillows. Instead, I lay down with rolled-up tissues stopping up my nose, because, otherwise, it’s not stopping.