i take an antihistamine religiously every single day, and use my dear, dear friend the netipot regularly. i can't take most decongestants (sudafed and the ilk) because i'm allergic to them, HA HA OH THE IRONY. (ok, technically i'm not allergic to them, but psuedoephedrine - aka sudafed - gives me heart palpitations. so, you know, not something i should take daily.)
anyway. things had been getting Even Worse lately. terrible, crippling sinus headaches that were affecting not just my ability to do fun stuff, but my ability to work. sinus infections all. the. time. i finally decided that i would go see an ENT and see if they had any advice or suggestions.
WELL. that was a sort of hilarious visit, starting with the doctor not really taking my vague complaints very seriously... until she took a look into the ol' schnoz, and, no shit, gasped.
"oh my GOD," she exclaimed. "can you breathe? like, right now?"
"i.. um.. yes?" i answered, confused.
"i mean, i've seen some pretty big turbinates before, but yours are, like, OUT THERE. IN MY FACE."
i had no idea what that meant, but she sounded impressed. i told her uncertainly that i didn't actually feel congested right then, that i'd consider this a good day on the breathing scale. her eyebrows shot up, and she ordered a ct scan for my face. she also prescribed me a nasal steroid spray and suggested i get allergy tested.
the ct scan revealed pretty much the same thing she had already said: i have GIGANTOR turbinates on the right side of my face. turbinates are bony protrusions in your nose & sinus passages that are covered with helpful tissue that lets you filter & humidify the air you breathe through your nose. i looked up what normal ct scans look like, and... yeah. i'm not sure how i can breathe through the right side of my face, either. i've also got bone spurs on my septum, which is partially deviated. the doctor suggested surgery to get rid of the bone spurs & reduce the size of the mutant turbinate - although it's completely up to me if i want to go ahead with that.
next up! the allergist. i've "had allergies" since college, but never knew to what, exactly. when asked, i just sort of shrugged and explained they were "seasonal." i couldn't explain why i seemed to have them in ALL seasons, but whatever. i'm not a doctor.
so off to the allergist i went. and in short order found myself injected with the preliminary (!) 40 shots to see how i reacted to a slew of pollens, molds, and animals.
"by the way," the allergist had explained as she was administering those first 40 shots, "some people occasionally find their symptoms might get worse during the testing."
within minutes of being injected, i had several welts developing on my forearms. very, very itchy welts. "wow!" she exclaimed while measuring the size of them a little while later to record on her clipboard, "we sure won't have to retest you for a bunch of these, huh!"
all the shots that didn't initially react - or had smallish reactions - were retested on my upper arms. where they pretty much all turned into itchy bumps, to go along with the still agonizingly itchy welts on my forearms. i think i ended up with a total of 75 shots in the end.
the itching, however, was certainly not RESTRICTED to my arms. one hour into the testing, i couldn't stop scratching my face, scalp, neck, legs - anything i could reach, basically. i also started sneezing and quite suddenly sounded as if i'd developed a cold.
by the time the testing was concluded, she was rubbing cortisone cream on my arms and urging me to take an antihistamine ("i keep these on hand for people who react like you!" she explained cheerfully) to try and reduce my leper-like appearance before i headed into work for the day.
and at the end, she pulled out my results sheet for me. "i'll just highlight the ones you're allergic to," she explained as she uncapped a marker.
ah. so... all of them, pretty much.
"i guess i should have just highlighted the ones you WEREN'T allergic to," she admitted. "...you're DEFINITELY a candidate for allergy shots."
(she did explain that i actually AM allergic to all seasons, interestingly enough. seeing as i'm allergic to what appears to be every pollen on the planet, that covers plants that pollenate during the spring, summer, AND fall. and in the winter, i'm covered by dust mites and the two furballs i live with. i win! ..no, wait. i don't think that's right.)
so! to sum up, i am allergic to ALL THE THINGS.
i also need to decide if i want to get sinus surgery, try allergy shots (or drops - has anyone done these? they're the same serum as the shots, but taken sublingually at home?), try both, or just continue to do nothing, which is obviously the most attractive option.
except that i'm home sick today because my sinuses currently have me resembling a leper with consumption. so. yeah.