Tag Archives: allergies

Spring is Coming

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Last night, we got about two inches of new snow here on Beaver Island. It has covered the landscape – and my car – in a blanket of white. Snow is still falling, in big fluffy flakes wafting gently to the ground.

Yesterday after work, I went out in the yard with my camera.

I took pictures of the area where the big Scotch Pine tree has branches growing right around the wires where electrical service comes into my house. Last week, on a particularly windy day, my electricity went out and back on four times in a half hour. That reminded me to call the electric company, to remind them that I had called to request that the pine tree be trimmed or removed. I have tried, in other years, to hire the job out, but can’t get someone to risk electrocution for the amount I will pay to have the tree cut down. I had to go through the electric company. Their records indicate that the job was already done. I assured them, it was not. I took photos, just in case the subject comes up again.

I took photos of the condition of my roof, and the many shingles that blew off in that last wind storm. It’s a fairly new roof. It doesn’t show any wear at all, but there are whole rows and patches where the old shingles are visible, for loss of the new ones. I don’t know why the shingles are falling off. I have twice hired someone to climb up there to repair the roof. Once again, with winter’s end, there is more to do.

I wandered the yard, then, and took photos of early signs of spring. There were areas where the snow had melted to reveal some remainders of last year’s growth or even – now and then – a bit of green. All of that is, of course, hidden today under two inches of new snow.

Still, I know spring is on the way.

Allergies are one sign. My little dog has been going crazy with her ears itching. Every day I have to torture here with the ear drops; her allergy medicine offers only slight relief in the springtime. My allergies are making me miserable, too: I have fits of sneezing; my eyes have been itching and watering; my throat is scratchy. What is waking up out there, under all the ice and snow, that is causing allergic symptoms?

Longer days tell me the seasons are changing. The fact that I could go out after work to take pictures, and that I was not walking around in the dark, is a welcome sign of spring. For much of the year, including most of the winter months, I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. As the seasons change, daylight brightens my mornings and my evenings.

Spring fever seems to have arrived, at my house, well ahead of the weather. I seem tired all the time. I have to force myself to get to the simplest of tasks. I feel like I could sleep all the time.

Though the white landscape might suggest otherwise, I know spring is coming!

Bruises

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I have a black eye. Sort of. There is a gash over my left eye, and some bruising around it. Purplish bruising, not black. Minimal swelling. A little tender.

Some people ask about it. Many don’t. I wonder about that.

I definitely have a discolored eye. It is very noticeable. Even I, with my poor vision, notice it. It makes me consider wearing eye make-up again. Maybe a little liner, a touch of mascara. Definitely eye shadow at least, I think, when I see how much more noticeable that eye is than the other one.

My cousin Greg had an eye that looked like this a few weeks ago. It turned out, he had been in a fight. A real boys-in-the-schoolyard, rolling around on the ground fistfight. I gave him quite a lecture about it.

“You’re too old for that,” I told him.

He tried to defend his actions by telling me events leading up to it.

“Nonsense,” I said. “That and more could happen to me, and I guarantee you, I would never end up in a fistfight! I’m too old for that, and so are you!”

He was a little sheepish (as he well should have been!) and I felt a little guilty for giving him hell. I’m his cousin, not his mother, and it’s not up to me to tell him when he does something stupid.

I thought that if I ran into him, and he asked me about my black eye, I could tell him that I got in a fistfight…so he could have the opportunity to lecture me back. He didn’t notice.

Maybe it’s not as noticeable as I think. Certainly a lot of people have seen it, and asked me what happened. I’ve been thinking the rest of them saw the black eye, politely did not mention it, and then later asked others, “Did you notice that shiner Cindy has? Wonder what happened to her!”

Well, just in case some folks have been thinking I finally aggravated someone enough so that they clocked me, or wondering if I’ve been getting in fistfights (at my age!), let me explain.

When my little dog, Rosa Parks, first comes to bed, she likes to burrow way under the covers, and sleep down near my feet. Then, at some point in the night she gets too warm, and makes her way out from under the covers. Then she’ll usually settle in behind my knees. Sometimes, though, she likes to stretch out on my pillow, between the top of my head and the headboard.

Pertinent to this story is the fact that I had not had Rosa Parks in for a nail trim in quite a while. Also, she has allergies. When they flare up – which they have been lately – they make her ears sore and itchy, so neither of us have been sleeping well.

A few nights ago, we started the night in the normal way. I was restless. I rolled over a time or two; I tucked an edge of blanket between my knees to keep them from rubbing together; I swaddled my feet in the covers to keep them warm. By the time Rosa Parks decided to make her way out from under the covers, she had quite a maze to wind her way through.

I woke up a little bit as she flung herself over my legs and nosed her way upward through tangled covers to get to fresh air. I felt her step heavily onto my shoulder. I was just about to move, to make it easier for her to get where she was going, when she stepped on my eye. Ouch! Of course I didn’t say that out loud, not wanting to make her feel bad, or do anything to cause her to not want to go right back to sleep. So, I suffered silently while Rosa Parks found a more suitable location, and soon we were both sound asleep again.

In the morning, I noticed the gash. And the purplish color.

Nothing too exciting…just an accidental nighttime altercation with my little dog!

Poison

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I take a little pink pill each morning, to regulate my thyroid.

I’m not much for taking pills, generally.

I take aspirin for headache. If I start getting leg cramps, I’ll take magnesium for a while. I’ve learned to take 600 milligrams of ibuprofen the minute I feel my back go out. Now and then I start a daily vitamin and baby aspirin regimen, but I forget, and neglect to form a regular habit of it.

The pink pill, I remember.

Without it, my skin dries out and my hair and nails become brittle. Without it, my cholesterol levels go all out of control. My energy level drops. Depression blankets me.

The pill does exactly what it is supposed to do.

It also strips my body of calcium. That’s a well known side-effect of the prescription drug, and I knew it going in.

I come from a family of strong-boned women…yet I have osteoporosis.

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My little dog, Rosa Parks, has severe allergies.

I inject her, every ten days, with a serum made specifically for her. It contains the essence of the many things she is allergic to, so that her body will build up defenses against them. It’s a lifetime commitment, but her little life is worth it.

Usually in about 24 hours after receiving her dose, she starts to get uncomfortable. Her ears get yeasty and itchy; her eyes water. They are the same symptoms, but in smaller measure, that she would exhibit all the time, without the treatment. If she becomes too miserable, there are other things I can give her to counteract the discomfort.

They come with their own side-effects.

It’s a balance we strike.

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My little sister Nita – my cute little sister who can make me laugh like nobody else in the whole world – starts chemotherapy today.

Her prospects are dire. Knowing it wouldn’t save her, she didn’t want treatment.

She knows what a challenge it would be!

The doctors spoke to her about time, and quality of life, and comfort.

They assured her she could stop at any time.

They convinced her to try.

Yesterday – a long day for her – she had a port put in, for administering the chemicals. She went for her first radiation treatment after that.

Today, she will receive her first chemotherapy.

I’m not thinking of Nita in the hospital bed.

I’m thinking of Nita, standing strong like a warrior, in her raggedy wide-leg bell-bottom jeans with her long dark hair showing glints of red highlights in the sunshine and a big smile on her freckly face.

I’m not thinking of the toxins being introduced into her system. I am thinking of those chemicals as soldiers, every one, dressed in white with silver swords blazing, marching in to fight the disease.

We find the balance.

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