Thursday, November 12, 2009

Supergreat allergy announcement

I went to the doctor for allergy testing yesterday.

I am 5 feet, one and three-fourths inches tall.

I weigh....enough.

My blood pressure was surprisingly low--98/62. I should have had breakfast.

And my pulse was 64. I think I was trying to remain calm and it worked a little too well.

So. Here's how allergy testing works:

You do all the stuff I mentioned up there and then you sit with a nurse she asks you what medications you take, whether you wake up in the night with asthma, blah, blah, blah.

When I told her I'd gone off my maintenance medications last summer, she looked at me nervously.
Do you have insurance?

Yes. I just have an intense dislike of prescription maintenance medications. And going to the pharmacy once or twice a month. And co-pays. And so on and so on. My doctor knew about it.

Then you test your lung function by blowing into little contraptions as hard as you can, and then another one where you blow as hard and as long as you can and then inhale. That one makes me want to pass out.

But my lung function is awesome, in case you were wondering.

Then, we get to the fun part. The nurse leaves, you take off your shirt, and put on what appears to be a halter top made out of burlap or shoe canvas or something. It's like if you took the material from surgical blankets and made a carpenter's apron with it.


Then, the nurse comes back. She writes numbers on your back and proceeds to poke your back with various needles several, several times.

Don't wiggle. Don't scratch.

Then you hang out for 20 minutes reading magazines about the economic destruction of the country and try to not think about scratching your back.

A nurse comes in and looks. She makes some marks on a clipboard.

Then your doctor comes in and looks. She makes some marks on the clipboard.

And in my case yesterday, she says

I think you can go off of shots. How does that sound?

Seriously, I've never seen her smile like that before. This is looking really possible.

Unfortunately, to be really, really, really sure.....more allergy testing is involved.

On my arms.

My upper arms.

My upper arms, which are alternatively sensitive and numb from thousands of shots over the years.

Um, okay.

So they do the same thing....but not quite.

The nurse was trying to explain it to me and asked,

Have you ever had a skin TB test?

Um, no.

I think she was going to say it was like that.

Bonus: I know how skin TB tests work now.

I pretty much had a skin TB test, but with allergens.

20 times.

10 on each arm.

Including in the middle of my arm.

I do not want you to touch the middle of my arm with your hands*, but here I was getting small amounts of allergen injected just under my skin.

Stick, wiggle the needle, inject the stuff.


It hurt.

I squirmed.

I exhaled.

I sweated.

I waited another 20 minutes while my injection sites swelled up like 20 mosquitoes had attacked me. Kind of. At first, everything was all gross and red and swollen up. But then, before my 20 minutes was up, things were subsiding and returning to normal.

So my doctor came in, looked at my arms happily, marked some things on her clipboard, and mercifully rubbed some cortisone cream on my arms for me.

Then she left so I could change, and wouldn't have to discuss my medical future while wearing the world's frumpiest halter top because that just can't be good for the thought process.

So. I was testing negative for allergens where I'd previously tested positive. I had gone off prescription maintenance medications like Advair with no problems. I had scaled back to getting shots once a month, down from every other week.

They are not ordering me new serum.
I am not getting allergy shots.
The sanctity of my upper arm space will be respected.

If I start having problems--and we are talking big problems, like from when I was little, or a teenager, or a college student (Oh man. I stayed sick for 4 years, I'm telling you)--we may reconsider the shots.

But for now, I'm a healthy person.

For now, I am allergy shot free for the first time in 22 years.

Yeah. Two decades.

I have been taking allergy shots longer than Levi has been in existence.


My parents are stunned, but very happy.

My siblings are excited.

Cody is happy and relieved. He always has the poor timing to try and warm me up by rubbing my upper arms briskly just after I get a shot and then I become very grouchy and he is horrified. This happens, even in the summer, almost every time.

I am moody all the time, so I'm enjoying the full range of reactions: guardedly optimistic, relieved, incredulous, super excited, and mostly just really happy.

I even feel healthy.

Look at me! I don't need shots! Ha ha!

Can healthy be a feeling? I think that's what I feel most of all.

It's a great way to feel.

*Seriously. Please stay away from my upper arms. When you tap, squeeze, or grab them, it makes me hate you so much. Ugly and irrational, but very true.

No comments: