You are not my friend

Careterra de cobre, originally uploaded by coming2cambodia.

I love nature. That being said, nature does not love me so much and as such she is not my friend. However, this weekend, I did discover that she was less of an enemy then previously pondered.

Such, in this case of “such she is not my friend” refers to the allergic reactions she causes, the way she froze me in Moldova, the way she melted my in Cambodia, and the way she creates things that give me rashes (be them from bites or simply from grass– which I guess brings us back to allergies).

I am allergic to a lot of things. Here, in the instance of me and allergies, we will limit the definition of “a lot of things” as all plants (trees, flowers, and grass) and all animals with fur or feathers except dogs. Harley is particularly thankful for the latter.

When I was in high school, I went to an allergist. I had been taking a lot of medicine but unable to control the allergies. He started by giving me a prick test where he first pricked me with a low level of 50 possible sources of my allergies and then if I didn’t react he pricked me with a higher dose. I reacted to 49 out of 50 substance. My allergist (who was not young or new to the profession) looked shocked and said that this doesn’t really happen. Well, apparently, to me it does.

I took allergy shots for 3 years (once a week) to help build up an immunity in my system. Most people think that I still have really bad allergies– I know that I am so much better. Need proof? At age 19 I smelled grass for the first time. I also walked around for a year sounding like an idiot as I asked what the most benign and everyday smells were.

I have never been stung by a bee, although I believe my sister and mother are allergic. Having inherited every other allergy in the family, I assumed I would have this one as well. Two weeks ago I was at a friends house and we talked about that and what kind of reaction it might be. While I have often thought about if I am allergic or not, I have never wanted to test it out. That said, now I know. I am not severely allergic to bee stings (although I suppose it might be a reaction that builds up over time). I did get stung this weekend on my left foot. It hurt. It got red and swollen. It continued to throb for several hours. It, however, did not make me cry or stop breathing. It also went away with a little cream and a pill.

Having now had this experience, I will redefine my take on nature. She is still not my friend, but I am thankful she didn’t kill me or make me completely miserable this weekend.

***PS This photo was taken right after this one which I put up for Photo Wednesday a couple weeks back (and like the perspective on more). They are similar and I debated it, but its right near where I got stung and really is very very pretty.

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5 comments

  1. The bee sting allergy has definitely gotton worse over time. How have you not gotten stung? I sat & stepped on any number of bees in my childhood. As for my prick test — I broke out in hives on parts of my body that weren’t even being tested. And you are right, all of my allergists have been quite impressed, esp. since they all seemed to think I was exaggerating prior to the test. Maybe there is some way we can market our hypersensitive selves?

  2. Dear Sister,

    I must have been a more careful child then you… or it was because we moved to WI in my childhood and all the bees were frozen. I guess I shouldn’t gloat yet about the bee allergy if it gets worse over time. Do you have the penicillin allergy? That is another one I have always just assumed and not wanted to mess with. Peace Corps didn’t want to mess with it either, so my medical chart just said I was allergic. And yes, if you can find a way to make money off this hypersensitivity without making me sick, I am more than happy for funds!

  3. love the vanishing point on this one! you are good with a camera Clare!

    I had to do the prick test too when I was a kid. I was only like 4 or 5 but I still remember getting stuck on my back 50 times like it was yesterday. Not my favorite childhood memory.

    I was only allergic to one thing, and that was dust. But I was pretty badly allergic because I had to go in for shots 3 times a week. Then when I got older I grew out of it.

    so maybe there’s still hope for you, you can continue growing out of your allergies 🙂

  4. Your mother has never been stung by a bee, so I don’t know if I am allergic. I am the one with the penicillan allergy and it is bad. So don’t piss off bees is what I say.

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