Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Now Who Am I?



For a long time I refused to admit that I had terrible allergies, even though every spring during tree and grass pollinating season, I was a miserable mess of sneezes, congestion and a terrible itchiness all over. When I finally came to understand my environmental sensitivities, I became obstreperous,* tried to carry on with all my outdoor explorations in spite of the fact that at times I was practically in a state of anaphylaxis.

Finally, don't even remember why, I broke denial (or more likely, the allergies broke it) and I took it on, not just as a condition but as a part of my core identity. I am a person with terrible springtime allergies. I created a philosophy around it, i.e. My only health challenge is allergies. I began staying inside with the windows closed while the green dust flew around outdoors, and though I did feel sorry for myself for missing out on the prettiest moments in spring, I was finally resolved to my fate. I might as well have said I AM my springtime allergies. For heaven's sake.

This year (just like last year) I'm having a surprising, happy identity crisis because all around me people are sneezing while I am not. Yes I'm seeing the Sufi acupuncturist regularly and I'm sipping my Chinese medicinal tea and too when it's really bad out there I am retreating to hermetically sealed spaces for an hour or two until the worst of it blows over. Even so, I'm not reacting to the pollen like I once did. I'll sneeze here and there, blow my nose, but then that's it. The histaminic reaction to pollen that once upon a time brought me to my knees at this time of year can no longer get itself fully organized.

My new identity: I am a person with MILD seasonal allergies, as long as I address them with Chinese medicine. It's a whole new me.

*Obstreperous is one of the many words I learned in Miss Benny Searcy's high school English class. She was red-faced, cross, funny, and always smelled like metabolizing alcohol, but she was a great teacher. She died recently, so she's been on my mind more than usual, though I always think of her when I use the words I learned in her class - ascerbic, recalcitrant, obstreperous. Hail and farewell Miss Searcy. May you rest in peace.


34 comments:

mary said...

That rose knocked me over - so did the word....I am so happy your rituals have altered your allergic state of being.....I am the only one(and my father - must have his genes) w/out the allergies and have always been thankful. Stay well and on course.
And Happy weekend

kathi said...

So glad you can get out and snap photos of your allergies, now controlled! Beautiful rose! I can almost smell its perfume! Love that you remember the teacher with the big words. She must have had a great influence on you! :)

Natalie said...

I love the way you think and write, Reya. I empathise with the nose and the itching, and I LOVED that rose!
Love to you, mild allergy girlxx♥

Reya Mellicker said...

Chinese medicine is really a lot more than ritualistic, Mary. Have you ever tried it? It's so powerful and so complete! Blows my mind.

Siobhán said...

Glad to hear your allergies have improved. You've certainly convince me to try Chinese medicine.

Miss Searcy was clearly a great English teacher.

John Hayes said...

Eberle got great relief from a severe cat allergy attack by seeing an accupuncturist-- it definitely works. She also had some tea to drink, but I don't remember what it was. Glad you've experienced this improvement.

& hurrah for good English teachers!

Rain said...

You're so clever with your words. I only recently developped springtime allergies, but those over the counter allergy meds make my heart race so I've been suffering through it as "I am a person with itchy nose syndrome"...

R.L. Bourges said...

It's a strange thing with allergies. I went through a period where just about everything - pollen, perfumes, heat, cold, woolens, specific foods - touched off the sneezing, itchiness, welts - all the way to anaphylactic shock twice (scary? very.)

Since then, they've tapered off to almost nothing - except when I get myself into some kind of heavy-duty sensory and/or emotional overload. I've come to consider the sneezes as an early-warning device where my body is telling me I'm trying too hard. Ever since the anaphylaxis, I take the early warning signals seriously, believe me.

Glad to hear you've found relief, Reya. That rose is gorgeous, btw.

Meri Arnett-Kremian said...

The acupuncture sounds like it's just the trick. I know a board-certified allergy & environmental medicine guy who also can concoct drops that are calibrated perfectly to your body to neutralize an allergic reaction -- I had a general one for things like seasonal allergies but also specialized ones for my chemical sensitivities (auto exhaust and diesel fumes). A couple of drops and my body would quit pumping out histamine.

willow said...

Glad to hear they're mild for you now! I remember mine being terrible in Kansas City. We at at the Classic Cup Sidewalk Cafe on 47th St., by the way. I think it's where that coffee shop used to be in the 1970's. You know the one I mean?

globaltoll said...

Thanks for capturing and sharing another beautiful image with us. That photo made my mouth hang open in awe at its beauty.

Mrs. E said...

The rose is beautiful...and so are the sun rays coming through the first pic. As a HS English teacher, I always hope my students will remember what they learned. You give me hope. (You also make me wonder what they are going to remember about the way I look and smell!!)
Sounds like you have figured out the allergies--and a much better solution than staying inside all the time.

Reya Mellicker said...

Willow - yes! Can't remember the name of the old one but yes, YES! How cool.

Reya Mellicker said...

Globalatoll? THANK YOU!

Joanne said...

The shades of color on that rose are beautiful. I also enjoyed your teacher tribute, it's interesting how certain people stay with us always, in some small way.

Sandra Leigh said...

Particularly lovely photos today, Reya. As for the acupuncture, I'll be checking into that. Either this is a particularly bad year for allergies, or mine are getting worse.

deborah said...

I remember your teacher's vocab lists which we all incorporated--Bless her!

I take an asthma preventer and an Allegra every day and have since the day I realized a love affair was over for me because I was unwilling to walk through the weeds to a private spot with my, then, lover.

I've been all good since and glad to hear that your's are abating.

Love and more love!

Lover of Life said...

Glad you are feeling better. My family suffers from allergies, but I don't have that particular problem. Watching them makes me knock on wood, though.

That rose is really something!

Steve said...

What a happy discovery!

Ronda Laveen said...

Illuminating post on identification and actualization. The power of words is often over looked. Mrs. Searcy's inculsion is the explantion point of this post. After all these years, her words are still remembered and used.

In the image of your godly rose, I see you've housed her soul.

Going to look up "obstreperous" now. It was not one of my HS vocabulary words. I wasn't lucky enough to have had Mrs. Searcy. She would be proud of you. Nice tribute.

Reya Mellicker said...

I think she would be proud to know I remember lots of the vocab words. I'm not only one of her students who remembers her so fondly though.

Also must say it was MISS Searcy, definitely Miss. She would be wagging a finger at you right now Ronda! Lol!

dell said...

I remember so well how awful your allergies were in the spring when we were kids. It made grateful to be able to breathe, my friend! dell

Verily I go. said...

Reya you are such a blessing, always. I don't suffer but I can have bouts when I vist other places. I went to Oklahoma and wanted someone to shoot me. Chinese Medicine...some material you could suggest? Please?
Thank you for keeping tabs on me, I will 'detail' in full when I can breathe again. Admiration and Joy to you.

Ronda Laveen said...

Okay. I'm back from looking up "obstreperous." That and giving the toilet and bathroom sink a scrub. I like that word. I shall use it for the next couple of days.

I seem to get the finger waggle A LOT! Off to vacuum dog hair.

Jeninacide said...

I sort of go back and forth between having spring allergies and not having them... So strange!

poietes said...

That is a beautiful picture of a rose, awesome.

I love the word obstreperous. My 12the grade English teacher loved to use behoove. Here's to our mentors.

Reya Mellicker said...

Cheers to our mentors!

Elizabeth said...

Such a rose!
So glad your allergies are somewhat improved.
Yes, as another retired English teacher I would be sort of thrilled if anyone ever remembered a thing I taught them (or nowadays him/her.....)

Delwyn said...

Obstreperous - such a lovely word.
It was also the name of a recalcitrant, obnoxious kite in my kids' childhood book collection.

May your obstreperous, obnoxious allergies pale...

I swear this word verif thing is psychic!

mine is

ROSES

Happy Days

Merle Sneed said...

If the Chinese medicine doesn't work, try Claritin. :)

Washington Cube said...

No one mentioned it, but you do know that is the Peace rose, don't you, Reya? And if you didn't then I think we are due for another freak out.

analogman said...

I used to have terrible spring allergies until I started consuming LOCAL honey. They since have been completely elinimated by my local favorite here in the Florida panhandle, Tupelo honey...nectar of the Gods.

And here's to MISS Searcy!

A Cuban In London said...

Like you I suffer from hayfever in the spring and summer, a condition I never had when I lived in Cuba. My only guess is that there are so many more chemicals here in London than the ones with which I had to deal in Havana that my skin is reacting. All I can add to the comments above is good luck, because I don't think that the situation will be getting any better for us allergies sufferers in the near future.

Re that Bach biography, it's turning out to be a great read. It is the second one of two books I borrowed from my local library. I'm enjoying it immensely.

Greetings from London.

Reya Mellicker said...

No Cube I did NOT know it's a peace rose.

Whoa!! Freakout!!!