Wednesday, February 21, 2007

all hail the allergy queen

this morning i went to the allergy doctor to see if i too had fallen victim to austin's claim to fame as the "allergy capital of the world" (you thought it was all about the live music - ha! you were wrong, friend, it's all about the cedar trees and juniper count down here). i was told to expect a fairly lengthy visit and instructed to wear short sleeves, because they were going to do a skin test.

you guys. have you ever done an allergy skin test before? it is simultaneously FASCINATING and comPLETEly freaky. basically they inject your skin with a million different types of substances that people in this area are allergic to, set the timer for 15 long, excruciating minutes, and then come back to see which injections have turned into angry little welts. i mean, doesn't that sound like fun? who wouldn't want to be subjected to such torture on a brilliantly sunny 80-degree day?

the procedure itself is two-part deal. they start on your back, so you basically lie on your stomach while the nurse takes a pen, marks the injection sites all over your back (so she knows which substance was injected where), pricks you ten million times with ten million different things, and then leaves you there to suffer for 15 minutes before coming back in to see which ones caused a reaction (she rates the bumps based on their size, and the higher the number, the stronger your allergy to that substance). rub entire back off with alcohol to remove ink and then move to part two: arms. they use a higher dose on your arms, so things that cause a reaction on your back are severe allergies whereas reactions to arm injections are more moderate.

i watched the entire arm procedure in complete awe. she had a tray of bottles with the various injections, a tray of needles, and was incredibly efficient. once she had written all the different numbers on my arms to mark the injection sites, she would deftly insert the needle into the bottle, suction up the mold/pollen/grass/tree/dust/dander solution, poke my arm and then inject the liquid until it caused a little white puddle beneath my skin. she was also very nice, and apologized over and over again for causing me pain/discomfort (the needles didn't hurt much but the puddling part was an incredibly bizarre feeling of wtf? and ouch!) while trying to make small talk to distract me from the million needles (when i told her i worked in advertising for a living, she asked me if i was a model in commercials. awwwwww. i felt bad when i had to tell her that actually no, i'm just another working stiff behind a desk). when she finally came back to assess the damage, what with all the numbers up and down my arms and the various little lumps i swear i looked like i had elevator buttons on my skin.

anyway, so it turns out that i am allergic to everything! (did i mention that i'm writing this blog entry in my newfound home of a plastic, hypo-allergenic dust-free bubble?) i have a severe allergy to cedar/juniper trees and a mild allergy to just about everything else you can think of. cats, dogs, cockroaches (oh darn, there goes that cockroach farm i had been planning on starting), all kinds of molds, tree pollens, grass pollens and weed pollens. the good news is that he said mild allergies really aren't that big of a deal (meaning that my dreams of someday owning a dog aren't completely dead! hurray) and won't cause many problems in my everyday life. the bad news is that i feel like a dork. allergies are so not cool. nasal sprays are not bad ass. clarinex does not a sexy party drug make.

oh well. good thing i'm such a natural beauty that people mistake me for a model instead of your average corporate whore. maybe i should pull an izzy stephens and become a model to fund my next academic adventure.

although i somehow doubt that the somewhat dubious title of "allergy dork" would do much for my career as supermodel extraordinaire.




At 4:37 PM, Anonymous erica said...

ahhh... welcome to my world. i have all the allergies (ooh! plus asthma!) and have thus been termed the "genetic runt" of the family. hope you feel better :)


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