Waiting For The Frost


Because you've been asking for it, here's some fun-filled facts about my allergies:


         I am big-time allergic to ragweed; a nasty, ugly weed that pollinates from mid-August until the first frost. Now you know why my first collection of award-winning essays will be titled Waiting For The Frost.


         A ragweed allergy is also known as "hay fever."


         I am mildly allergic to some of the grasses that first come to life in the spring. They typically don't bother me much beyond sniffles.


         I get monthly shots at my allergist. The shot is an injection of a serum containing a mild dose of what I am allergic to. I am not being given a shot to "cure" my allergies. Shots are needed throughout the year to maintain resistance to what I'm allergic to. That is why I am getting a shot in January when ragweed is dead. The area of my arm where I am injected reacts to the serum and swells. The size of the swelling tells the allergist nurse how to accordingly adjust my next dosage. After my shot, I have to wait in the office for thirty minutes in case I have a reaction. I always bring the book I'm currently reading, but usually end up reading the issues of People or Newsweek that are in the waiting room. And needles no longer bother me.


         I have been getting shots for eleven years now, and the improvement since 1990 is remarkable. I generally only take one or two antihistamines during an entire allergy season. I have a Beconase (a corticosteroid) inhaler that I snort from in the morning to rid me of sniffles. A few drops of Visine AC generally rids me of itchy eyes. Prior to getting shots, I was on a regimen of twice-a-day drowsiness-causing antihistamines (see below) during allergy season. Plus my eyes were aggravated by constant itching and swelling. Occasionally one of my eyelids would swell shut during an allergic reaction. That hasn't happened in over ten years. So don't try to convince me that chiropractic work or any other alternative medicine is going to rid me of my allergies. You may want to smoke another bowl though.


         I am not allergic to cats, I just dislike them. So keep them away from me. Same goes for children.


         Antihistamines are bad news, and I'm glad I rarely have to take them these days. Back before allergy shots, antihistamines were the last resort when constantly-clogged sinuses and ever-runny eyes got to me. Basically, it was preferable to be drugged, stupid, and groggy instead of sneezing, wheezing, and rubbing my eyes. Since my first trip to see a physician about my allergies in 1980, I have taken assorted prescribed antihistamines. They are as follows:





Band Association

Notable Memory






Kelly Green

Blue Oyster Cult

The first week I was on this stuff and finally giving up fighting drowsiness and damn near collapsing at the lunch table in the high school cafeteria. My friends thought I was just bored with them.


Baby Blue

Rolling Stones

On summer vacation, reading the warning label about alcohol and drowsiness; drinking Schmidt in cans and giggling before passing out.


Baby Blue


At my parents' cabin: popping one, then getting ready for a nap when the neighbor girls stopped by saying they'd pull me waterskiing. On the dock loudly improvising words to the 'Mats "Talent Show" about feeling good from the pills I took, the girls looking at me strangely.



Guns 'n Roses

Giving some of these to a girl I liked. It was late at night, her allergies were bothering her, and she was out of her medication. Hoping to have a damaged, pill-popping love affair with her; but it was not to be.


Hot Pink

Nine Inch Nails

The only pill I ever had to schedule around I felt like a junkie because I always had to nod out for an hour-plus nap after taking one.




Taking one after an allergic reaction, staying up until two a.m. sipping beers that wouldn't buzz me, waking up at six a.m. roaring and ready to go. Working my temp job and pounding coffee thinking that with Claritin-D I could conquer the world within a year. Hitting the wall at one o'clock and the last four hours of work being sheer hell trying to stay awake.



Each of the above was said by the physician or nurse to be improved over the previous prescribed medication. Most have made me extremely drowsy, especially Nolamine which damn near knocked me out. (Except if I had a crushing hangover. The Nolamine would counteract the headache and put my mind into a state of almost-blank cruise control. I believe this drug is now off the market as it was found to cause some sort of heart trouble.) Sleep-causing antihistamines are primarily what prompted me to start drinking coffee as a bid to stay awake at work. My current antihistamine, Claritin-D, is a change: instead of causing drowsiness, it acts like how I am told speed does. After taking one, I am wide awake, not at all hungry, and the consumption of a few alcoholic drinks does not affect me in the least. Plus, "Claritin-D" sounds like the name of a rapper.



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