Monday, September 15, 2014

Eyes of Satan

That's me.

I don't mean I've suddenly become the Prince of Darkness. I mean I look like him--or maybe Voldemort. Anyway, it's the eyes: mine are swollen, chapped, and bright, crimson red. They have been since Friday, and they're only getting worse.

For today, there's not a thing in the world I can do about it. It's allergies, and I would guess that the ragweed is in bloom. The house isn't as pollen-tight as usual, what with the workmen opening windows upstairs, and I'd also guess they've stirred up a fair bit of dust ripping the carpet out, and I'm allergic to dust as well as pollen.

Yes, my husband is an eye doctor, and yes, he gives me drops: two kinds of antihistamines and an anti-inflammatory. They don't see to help at all, or if they do, sheesh. Steroid drops would help--they got me through a bad patch last spring--but they also raised my eye pressure to incipient-glaucoma levels, so I can't take them anymore.

Not only am I returning to my allergy doctor and going back on immunotherapy, I have an appointment for repeat allergy testing tomorrow. Which is part of the problem: I can't take antihistamine pills for three days before the testing.This morning my asthma has decided to kick in, for the first time in weeks, and I'm left wondering if I dare go to yoga class or if anything at all will be too much for me. It's a pathetic way to live, but it's only until tomorrow.

This morning as I was moping about the kitchen, feeling sorry for myself, I remembered how bad my allergies used to be. When I was a child I used to wake up with my eyelids crusted together, stuck. My nose ran so much during ragweed season that I'd get a crack along the side of my nose where the chapped skin broke open, and it would stay there for weeks. I overused most of the medicine available at the time, to the point where it either made my nose run worse, or it knocked me unconscious. (I slept through my high school Baccalaureate Mass.)

I carried a purse in high school, mostly to hold my lunch money and the day's supply of Kleenex. I remember a boy in sophomore biology grabbing my purse in a teasing way, saying he was going to see what was inside. "Don't," I said, but of course he did. It was stuffed full of Kleenex, new and used. "Oh, gross," he said, slapping the purse shut.

"It's not gross," the boy behind him said. "It's just Kleenex. She can't help having allergies."

That was a good little memory for a kind of crummy day. It made me smile. Still does. I don't remember the name of the boy who grabbed my purse, but I do remember the name of the boy who stood up for me, even though, at the time, we were enemies more than friends.

I married him.

He still stands up for me, Satanic eyes and all. Thanks, darling.