The Green Menace

My eyes are filled with hot sand. My throat is burning. There’s a constant tickle in my ears and my nose is leaking nonstop. I had about three hours of sleep last night and awoke again this gorgeous summer morning to realize the dreadful truth: my torment lives on. Day after miserable day.

I have severe seasonal allergies.

And by seasonal I mean that I am dying a slow death from about mid-March to the first frost in November.

Oh? You say you’re allergic to shrimp? And that if you eat one you will break out in hives? Yeah, that’s too bad.  I feel for you, I really do. So if you avoid shrimp, you’ll probably be fine and live a long happy life? Wonderful.

But I’m allergic to the world.

Grass and tree pollen, especially. Apparently, if I go outside, my body’s defense mechanisms kick in immediately: Danger, Will Robinson! Red alert! That innocent soft green grass you’re walking on? It’s gonna kill you! Those beautiful budding birch trees? Pure evil! Quick, activate the wheezing! Commence mucus-making! I will protect you from these threats! I will save you!

Every year, it seems to get worse. The mere act of opening a window is an invitation to disaster. Once my son left my bedroom window wide open and soon every square inch of my room was covered in this vile yellow-green powder. I panicked, threw every sheet and pillowcase in the washer on hot, vacuumed and dusted the room like the end of the world was coming–all the while muttering, “Calm down, Darla! It will all be okay! I will survive this!” I’m like one of the sad kids in the movie The Others with Nicole Kidman. Y’know, the ones who will die if so much as a ray of sunlight touches their skin.

Children, everything will be all right. Just. Never. Open. A. Window.

Last week I played badminton with my kids on our front lawn and ended up being carried away on a stretcher, an oxygen mask strapped to my face.

Not really. But it was close to happening, I swear.

My husband recently asked me if I wanted to mow the lawn. I peered out the window from the safe confines of my air-conditioned, air-purified prison and saw the mower was covered in this thick blanket of neon yellowish-green poisonous dust.

I think he’s trying to kill me.

But Darla, just take some allergy medicine, you’ll get some relief then, right?

I have taken every single allergy med ever made for the twenty years I’ve had allergies. Allegra, Claritin, Singulair, Zyrtec, Alavert. They all work for awhile. I happily float on a high of having a clear head for a few months and then they mysteriously stop working. The grass wins again. Always.

But, Darla, why haven’t you tried allergy shots? They work.

(I’ll pretend you didn’t ask me that. Moving on…)

My doctor prescribed two allergy meds last year. I was on Singulair and Alavert D at the same time. Ooh! Maybe this year I could be on three? I fear my next appointment she’ll throw some Tic Tacs in my face and say, “Y’know what? Nothing is gonna work at this point. Here, just take these and leave me the f— alone.”

The only thing that might work in my ongoing battle with allergies is death. I look forward to it.

But Darla, have you tried a neti pot?

Oh, yes, the neti pot. I see you’ve decided almost drowning yourself in your own mucus to be a reasonable option to having allergies. I understand. My husband is a neti pot expert. Not something you’d put on your resume, but he seems to have mastered the art. He showed me how to do it once. Once. I have never done it since and hope, by God, to never do it again.

“Okay, you fill it up with saline solution and then dump it into one nostril, tilt your head and it comes back out.”

“You mean…you pour the water into your head?”


“Through your nose?”


“But…where does the water go?”

“Your sinuses.”

“Will it come back out?”

“That’s the idea.”

“Are you sure it’s not going to cross my brain’s membrane and kill me? I swear I read somewhere there are amoebas swimming in the water and they will eat my brain, is that true?”

“I guess it could happen.”


Having your brain eaten vs. having allergies? Hmm…tough call.

What kind of torture device is the neti pot? Who came up with this? I know, let’s flush all the snot out of your head and have it go down your throat, out your mouth so you look and feel like a disgusting pig of a human being! And after you do it, you’ll still feel miserable!

There is nothing, save watching childbirth, that will cement your relationship with your partner quicker, than watching them gagging, choking and spitting mucus out of every orifice like some bizarre snot fountain.

But tonight, I know I’ll sleep soundly. Because there is one thing that helps temporarily relieve my misery:


Benadryl–perfectly legal valium. Those pretty pink pills are my savior. I sleep like a rock on those pills. My guess is because it plummets the body into a near-death coma. Basically I have a choice of being zoned out on Benadryl, or miserable and zoned out with allergies. Too bad if I take one pill, I end up a zombie the rest of the week.

“Hey, Darla, you seem so out of it, like you’re sleepwalking, babbling nonsense.  Your eyes are glassy and you’re drooling. Did you have a stroke?”

“Huh? Wha? Who? Where? Why? Oh no! Just popped one Benadryl 8 days ago.”

The zombie allergy apocalypse is coming, I can feel it.

66 thoughts on “The Green Menace

  1. Haha! You sound like me two years ago. Benadryl is some pretty awesome stuff. Zombie is right. Hate to sound like another mama, but you your husband is right too.

    I too lived in allergy hell from Feb thru Oct, unless I popped pills (those sucked!!). Then I started douching my face. (Yep. No Neti-pot for this girl, it was the PUSH-kind for me. If you’re gonna do it, DO IT, I say.) I know, it’s a weird thing, but you must overcome like changing newborn diapers, like cleaning stalagmah, like…you get the picture. I will agree with your husband that there are no brain-eating amoebas in sterile water. Coming from someone who spends half her life on a tractor mower (every 5 days in the growing season), the relief is undeniable. It is such a huge part of my life now, I even wrote about it.

    Of course, you might no longer be a snot-slingin’ zombie and be able to blog about it. But you could still pretend to be one sometimes, just for grins, you know. To freak out your kids.

    1. My husband swears by the neti pot. He’s more than welcome to it. I will never use it again, it’s just not my thang, man. I’d rather be miserable and complain all day, it’s what I do best.

      1. To be fair, I call the Neti-pot the “drowning method,” cause that’s what it feels like. The “push” forces you (as a reflex) to keep the nasal cavity shut off from your throat, and everything shoots out from your other nostril. No drowning.

        So sorry it didn’t work for you! Changed my life fer sure.

  2. you really expressed your malady in the most perfect way – with great humour
    I agree with you about the stupid neti pot thing – but I guess if we drown ourselves we will be out of our misery
    good luck – sorry you have to go through this

  3. Hahaha…oh my gosh…I could barely get past “Tic Tac’s”!
    I’m sorry. I have no idea what that might be like. Well, wait not personally but I kinda have an idea. My kid is allergic to hay and horses (works out perfectly here – ha). Benadryl is what he takes too.
    Happy Pill Popping!

    1. Oh your poor kid! My son has already inherited my allergies. He’s had asthma, severe allergies since he was very young. We’ve had him on Singulair but it was making him hyper and crazy. Or maybe that was the asthma meds…
      I would take Benadryl every day but I turn into a zombie, can’t really function.

  4. I related to nearly every single thing you wrote about! Allergies suck so bad. I woke up yesterday morning feeling like a train hit my face, and why that morning was worse I don’t know. I take Allegra-D, which seems to help a little. And I hate that Benadryl feeling. I took it once in college and woke up 12 hours later. I’d rather having a kleenex box glued to my hip than take that.

    1. Yes, like a train hit your face! That is exactly it. Last night I was waking up because of the constant scratchy/itchy feeling I have all through my entire head. Is it just me, or is every year feel worse? LIke the climate is getting suffocating? I used to take Allegra-D a few years back. I am thinking of switching back again to Zyrtec because that seems to work the best for me.

  5. Oh, you poor thing! I am laughing with you, but also not laughing because, because…you poor thing!! I wish I knew something that could help, especially since Babs works for an allergist and I work for a company that makes very popular allergy meds, but it sounds like you really have tried it all! Peppermeister has terrible allergies, too, and definitely goes the Benadryl route sometimes. “…plummets the body into a near-death coma” – ha! I really think that’s what happens. I hope we have some when the zombie allergy apocolypse comes.

    And what the heck is your husband doing asking you to mow the lawn?! You should tell him where to shove that netti pot… 😉

    1. Jules, I just went out and bought some Zyrtec to try a few months. And I have one pink pill waiting for me tonight. I suppose it doesn’t help I live smack dab in the middle of 100 acres of grassy cow fields, huh?

  6. Allergies are new for me. It wasn’t really looking to be invited to the allergy party, alas – here I am. I’ve been taking my son’s Zyertec syrup. It seems to help, but my allergies are not severe. Then again, as I am coughing, sneezing, sniffing at midnight, my husband may consider my allergies severe. Apparently, he can’t sleep.

    1. Mine are much worse than Jim’s. So I do tend to keep him up at night with my constant coughing, gasping, wheezing, sneezing…but it’s payback for his freighttrain snoring so it’s all good.

  7. Tar-Buns

    Too funny, too sad. I feel for you! I’ve developed some allergies but nothing like your misery. I’m more allergic to exercise and weight-loss. Staying in my lovely central AC home when it’s 95 degrees outside and 90% humidity contributes to my slogging-body.
    I hope you find some relief!

  8. Sounds horrible. Another great reason to live in the San Diego area. I suppose there are allergens everywhere, though.

    Kind of terrible that you can’t go outdoors during the season when everyone wants to go outdoors.

    Here’s to diminishing allergies! *he holds up glass of Benadryl for a toast*

  9. You poor baby! I’ve been spared a ride on the allergy express (knocking on wood here), but one of my kids has them. She’s been ten times better since she went to college and then moved to a city, away from our home which is nestled in a verdant pocket of woods and fields with every spore known to mankind.

    Hope you find a (legal) drug that can bring you some relief.

    1. Oh, you are so lucky, Peg. I’ve had them for so long, I can’t remember a time when I could breathe or had a clear head 8 months out of the year. I live in a 30 acre cow pasture, so that’s not helping matters any…

  10. I NEVER got allergies until I moved to Colorado and like you they have gotten worse every year. I don’t take anything, but they have only gotten bad for a day or two. Nothing like what you are going through. My son had severe grass allergies so when we built our house we put hardwood floors in his room.
    Okay so you can add these to your list:
    Clean air machine in your bedroom
    Change your pillow case everyday.
    Take a shower after being outside.
    Change your medications at least yearly since you get immune.
    Move to New Zealand during the summer months since this is their winter!

    1. Change my pillowcase every day?! I think I’d rather just move to New Zealand.

      Where did you live before Colorado? I always thought you were from there. Are you still recovering from FP? You were up there forever! woot woot!

      1. New Zealand would be a blast and I would love to learn the lingo. “Good on you mate!”
        I moved to Colorado almost 25 years ago when I married Danny! I am from Wisconsin and know all about the humidity and bird-sized mosquitoes!

        You are so cute to bring up the FP! Thanks again! Yes I got a lot of new followers. Getting it on a Friday was SPECTACULAR! I still need to go and check out all of the commenters blogs, but first I gotta go play a CTA Tennis match! Wish me luck!

  11. Oh allergies. What fun they are! I am so sorry for your plight. I am a mite bit congested myself, but I am lucky not to get the full blown attack as you do. Sorry for that.

    Maybe your hubs was just trying to put you out of your misery with his mowing the lawn suggestion. Speed up that whole death wish thing you’ve got going on there.

    Oh, and that movie. ((Shudder)). Just thinking about it still gives me the creeps.

    1. I think my husband was doing his normal teasing thing that drives me batty. you know…the kind of trying to kill your spouse teasing a couple develops after over 14 years of being together.

      Oh! That movie! I love that movie. I’ve seen it several times. One of my fave scary movies for sure. I’m not into the gory stuff but give me a psychological thriller with creepy English kids and I am sold!

  12. I’m sorry but I cannot relate to your pain…unless it really does compare to child birth then OH MY I feel your pain! If it’s any consolation…I’m laughing my butt off reading descriptions of “bizarre snot fountains”! What a visual THAT is. You should be proud you’ve done your civic duty and “taken one for the team” so we can all ride the miserable yet hilarious allergy train vicariously through you! Girl, you are a mess! (Literally AND figuratively!)

  13. I have a solution for you! Go to sea. Yup, no allergies out there. (I didn’t say it was a viable solution). Since we’ve come in from the deep seas, to living in the lush green woods of WA (my husband’s choice to live in the woods), my husband has been miserable with his alleriges. Finally got him tested a few years ago and, yup, he’s allergic to everything around here: trees, grasses, etc. I, however, am not allergic to a damn thing except housework.

    You have my deepest sympathies, as can relate on one front; Benadryl zonks me out too, for about 2 days. The last time I had to take it, I was just finishing a course of antibiotics and broke out in hives. Whoa! Just caught myself. I forgot that I am, indeed, allergic to something: two of the most popular antibiotics out there.

    1. Go to sea you say?? Well, as luck would have it, we got plenty of sea around these parts! Now I just need a big boat and the ability to sneak off and escape my family so I can sail away for the rest of the year and I am good as gold, baby!

      Yes, I also suffer the horrible housework allergy. And cooking allergy. And cleaning up the kitchen after cooking allergy.

      I hear you on the antibiotics thing. I am allergic to almost every single group out there. I am down to one bizarre, uncommon antibiotic my current doctor had never even heard of and she had to do research on it. Not a good sign.

  14. Deborah the Closet Monster

    Gah! I absolutely do not suffer from anything near what you’ve described above. I do, however, suffer from frequent bouts of insomnia. When that happens, I, too, bust out the ‘Dryl. I love getting up feeling like I’ve slept.

    I almost used the word “awakened” up there, but that’s just not right. Because the grogginess goes on all day.

    Like today. Still . . . am I doing it again tonight? You betcha!

    1. Oh, Deb, the insomnia is the worst! Jim and I both suffer from it. Getting older isn’t helping me any either. I hate to say I’ve broken out the pink pill for that reason,, too. Sucks to be groggy and have to function or go to work. I feel for you, I really do.

  15. My husband and I grew up with northern European heritage and thus spicy foods were not a common staple. A couple of years again, I found myself unemployed, bored and watching the food network. Began making all kinds of dishes outside our comfort zone. Started using jalapenos, red pepper flakes, cilantro, cumin, and lots and lots of garlic. The last two years our allergies are minimal. When they start to act up, we put thin slices of jalapenos on our burgers. Wow, sinuses open up real quick….clear head!

    Hope you find relief. I feel your pain. Loved your humerous post.

    1. Thank you! You are right about the peppers. Once I was so congested, my husband (who loves jalapenos) suggested I eat one and it helped a lot. The only problem is, I hate eating any kind of pepper. But if I’m suffering enough, I will eat one as fast as I can while holding my nose.

  16. I never had seasonal allergies until my son was born. Ugh! They’re the worst! I used to think allergy sufferers were big weanies. Sneeze it out, it’ll be okay. Get a grip! Allergies are worse than a cold. Something about an allergy attack makes me want to scratch my eyes out. With a cold I just sort of slump into bed in a relaxed fashion. With allergies I am completely tense and uptight about every sneeze.

    I do have one solution — move 😉 I hear Arizona, Colorado and other dry climates are the best for allergies.

    Neti pots suck. I must not be doing them right.

      1. I like my spelling of weanies better — sounds more like beanies that way, as it beanies babies as in big fat babies.

        Isn’t a neti pot basically water boarding?

      2. ahahha! oopsie. I guess I’m truly am nothing but a big fat weanie if I don’t know the correct spelling.

        My mom used to call beans and hot dogs on Saturday nights ‘beanie-weanies’ and it always made my skin crawl. Ew. No thanks, Mom. Can I go watch Lawrence Welk instead?

        By the way, I’m going on my big blog break tomorrow! yeah! I’m a wee bit excited! A little scared, but mostly excited! I’ll miss you and the beanie banter…

      3. I have stalkers?! Yeah!

        I am taking one whole month off from blogging. Yep. Four weeks. Yesiree. I won’t miss it at all. It won’t be hard to not check stats and make comments. Easy! It’ll be like giving up chocolate!

        (I am very very afraid, Peg! I hope the shakes go away after a few days…Please remember me fondly!)

  17. Darla, I am really sorry, but I laugh out loud on your pain. 🙂 Let me tell you, one day these WordPress people are going to scan your brain, to check the composition of it. Because it always end up making fun of anything and everything. 🙂
    I just checked, your readers list of advice for you. And I am feeling like, if you will ever try them; each advice will give birth to a post, and I do not need to say it will be funny. 🙂

    1. Oh, if WordPress ever did a scan of my brain, they’d be sorry, very sorry. There’s not much left of it, for one.
      I try to make fun of things in life I hate the most, helps take the edge off a bit…

  18. Hi,
    I am so sorry to hear about your allergies, I have no idea what that must be like, it certainly seems to restrict you a lot from doing a lot of things outside.
    I can’t believe your husband asked you to mow the lawn, it does sound a bit like a death sentence. 🙂
    I hope in the very near future they can come up with a medication that actually works for you, tell them to get a move on it’s already mid 2012, and science has come a long way, they are falling behind on this one.

  19. I never suffered from allergies until I moved to *THE SEA*. Now, because we live in a non-tropical rain forest, I am allergic to everything that blooms between May and August. 😦 I hate taking any sort of meds so have resorted to getting acupuncture IN MY EYES. Yes, you heard me: IN MY EYES. (Well, not actually the eyeballs, just in and around the lids.) At first I was mortified beyond belief with what I was doing, but now (a few years later) I crave the sweet relief that those tiny, painless needles bring. I phone my acupuncturist and scream, “CAN YOU PUT THOSE NEEDLES IN MY EYES AGAIN? I NEEEEEEEEED THEM!” Super classy!

    At least I’m not quite as bad as my younger sister. She is really, super allergic to the cold. Running through a sprinkler on a hot summer day would send her to the ER.

    1. Oh. My God. I had no idea. I mean, I know about acupuncture and I’ve no doubt that it works, but didn’t realize they would ever put needles in your eyes! Sure, it may not be in your eyeballs…but in and around the lids is bad enough! I can’t even use eye DROPS in my eyes, I freak out if anything touches them. You are very brave, Dana. I laughed at your ‘ I Neeeed them! Super Classy!’ Haha!

      I used to be allergic to the cold when I was little. Not severe. But I would break out in hives on my thighs in the winter if I wasn’t wearing three layers of long johns. I tell people this and they go, “You can’t be allergic to the COLD, that’s ridiculous!” But I’m here to say, if it exists, I can be allergic to it and probably am. I feel for your sister.

      1. My sister actually just discovered an actual medical term for the condition. Random suffering: validated! (It’s still suffering, but at least it’s been defined and recognized now.)

        Re: eye acupuncture. I was going for a regular, non-allergy acupuncture appt one time and happened to mention to my practitioner that my eyes were really itchy. I would NEVER have said anything if I knew what was coming next. When she said she was going to use some needles around my eyes, I panicked and immediately pictured these gigantic daggers scraping my eyeballs. (Sorry, but it’s true.) Turns out the needles for those particular points aren’t really needles at all. They are about the size of a sliver! You can totally open your eyes when they are in and nobody could even tell you had needles in if they looked at you. (Obviously, I still keep my eyes squeezed shut and picture unicorns and rainbows… anything to distract myself from the reality of NEEDLES in my EYES!)

  20. Darla, you make me feel good about my allergies. Pollen and rag weed mostly, but manageable. My husband had severe allergies to mold, feathers, and dust. He’s a farmer. We thought he might be looking for a new career. But he took the years of shots and is doing fine. I know you don’t sound thrilled about that, but it could make a huge difference. Benadryl knocks me out too. But it comes in handy at times.

    1. Your poor husband! Being a farmer sure is good incentive to getting those shots. I might actually consider that in the future. (the shots, not farming) It seems I’m running out of options now. So he doesn’t have to take the shots regularly anymore? Just a series of them? I should really google this now, hmm.

  21. Tar-Buns

    I just read that you are taking a vaca from blogging. For a whole month!?!?!?
    I will miss you. And here you were encouraging me to start my blog. Where will you be to support me? To mentor me and make my life complete??? Hmmm???
    Have a great time, whatever you do!
    Enjoy the summer and I’ll see you on the August side! 🙂

    1. Please start that blog while I’m gone! It’ll give me something to look forward to. I am taking a few weeks off. I have a short post about it scheduled for tomorrow morning…my husband gives me 2 weeks tops. I hope I can survive one week!

      1. Tar-Buns

        You can do it, sweet-pea! Get disconnected. Enjoy the sounds of silence, of course, you’ll have to find them first! 🙂 🙂

        Happy faces because I’m so glad I got to meet you, albeit via print, through my fabulous sista, Peg, who is equally discombobulated that you will be gone for a month.

        She’s going to help me over the 4th week when they travel here. Now I have to write something worthy of printing and find an avatar and all that funky stuff you guys always talk about.

        I go on….and on…and on… and,
        Guess I’ll go off and say See Ya Later (Alligator :)!
        AuntGuiTarsLife (or something like that)


      2. Ooh yeah, I am more than giddy to find that sweet disconnected space in my life again! It’s been a long time coming. Just feel the need to step away from all technology and just play with my kids. (If I can pry them away from all the technology…)

        Soooo excited about your blog and your avatar and first post! And now I’ll have another place where Peg and I can post hijack. It’ll be oh so ah-some. Tell Peg she can email me to see if I’m alive and kicking the bloggy habit in a few weeks but I can’t promise much.

  22. Darla – I suffered hideous seasonal allergies when I lived in Michigan – and worried when I moved to Florida that it would continue (because it is perpetual summer) but I have been spared. I used to dread spring – suffered through summer, and prayed for a good solid freeze because it would be the only thing that would bring relief. And the allergies would trigger endless migraines – it was misery. I feel for you. If you want to try it, I’ll clean (mostly) the guest room and you can come on down.

    I know otherwise sane people who swear by the Neti pot, but I think I would rather drown in snot that force something up my nose. And yes, there are bacteria, especially in tap water, that can enter your brain. I read it on the interwebz so it must be true.

    I’m not sure you should take a month off – what will we do??? Take care of yourself…

    1. Oh, I would come down and stay with you in a heartbeat! Par-tay at Katy’s!
      You’re right about the migraine connection. Mine are worse this year as well. Gah!

      I told my husband about the tap water but he didn’t seem to care. He’s really just flirting with disaster every time he uses the damned thing.

      Yes, I will miss all of you guys, I’m posting about my hiatus tomorrow morning. If you don’t mind, please, watch my blog while I’m gone–pick up the mail, newspapers, chase away burglars, etc. thanks, Katy!

      1. Seriously, there have been reported deaths of people using tap water and Neti pots. Buy him a gallon of distilled water. Frankly, I’ve never tried the pot (at least I didn’t inhale it – HAHA) because I can’t stand water going up my nose.

        I’ll be happy to watch over your blog…

        Would it be cheating if you entered my contest still?

      2. I will get him some distilled water for sure now. He’s crazy!

        I’ll have to pass on your contest this round. I’d be happy to help judge if you need someone. Email me and let me know.

      3. Tar-Buns

        I’ll pick up the newspapers and check the windows. Be sure you have your timed lights ready for any burglars looking for a lonely, empty, blog. Sniff…

        I know you, you are hoping for ANYTHING tonight while you are still legally oK to be online. I f I wasn’t on summer break, I couldn’t chat with you.

        Look forward to reading your sad “see ya later” post tomorrow.

        Now have some ice cream and benadryl and go to bed. Good Night, Ms. Maineiac!

        1. Wish me luck, Tar, I suspect the shakes and nightsweats to kick in sometime tomorrow…. and I am about to pop a pink pill…how did you know? damn, you’re good! Now if I could just have the strength to turn off this damned laptop finally….

  23. Tar-Buns

    I’ll miss you, maniac woman. but you’ll do fine.
    This too shall pass and you’ll be better for the break…or something like that 🙂
    Go to sleep….go to sleep…. (lulling you to put the laptop down)
    Thank God I don’t have a laptop … yet….
    To be continued … on the other side….

  24. Hey, I’ve been missing you. Not that you’ve gone anywhere, but I’ve been eyeball deep in getting a book out. Now I’m free and I return to find you’re drugged. Curse you, Pfizer. Curse you pollen and mold! More bags of frozen peas for the eye socket swelling. Yeah…I hate to admit the neti pot works, but it’s torture. I use a baby snot syringe to gently squirt it up the nostrils. And for sure on the distilled water. Hope it rains and clears the air for you soon. Here’s a hug.

  25. singleworkingmomswm

    I feel for you, Darla…my boyfriend suffers from some sort of sinus allergy that hits when he he least expects it, and it seems that it never goes away! Benedryl, a life saver, agreed! (or life blacker-outer…LOL!)

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