I Can’t Walk A Straight Line, But I’m Not Drunk; Just Zapped With Pollen

Dear Followers,

Have you seen the commercial where people are trying to get change from their pockets and all they pull out are tissues? That’s me. You know it’s been several days since I posted anything. That’s because my brain is stuck in my head and my head feels like there is a Dune sand worm trying to get out. There is no room for actual coherent thoughts in there. They evacuated.

But all levity aside, I want to speak out for those of us who do not have a choice in this matter of what goes on in our heads when they are held captive in a torture chamber. Why? Because we get a bad rap from people who don’t understand. Even doctors. We are looked at like we’re stupid. Let me tell you what happens to those of us with allergies. It can bring on vertigo. So . . . not everyone who can’t walk a straight line is drunk or on drugs.

I often stutter when my sinuses are acting up. It’s totally embarrassing since, normally, I’ve never had a problem with public speaking, or speaking with confidence. One of the reasons I stutter is because my thoughts will not come together. They fly off in different directions, leaving me befuddled. I’m often taken for being scatter-brained, and that’s probably true, since my head won’t cooperate while being attacked by pollen.

I often have to clear my throat, which is annoying not only to myself, but to everyone around me. I’ve learned that Musinex will stop the throat-clearing so I keep a bottle in my purse. At the worst times the pressure behind my eyes feels like there is a thumb behind them pushing out, and sometimes the sinus pain makes my teeth hurt. My throat gets tight and my voice gets deep and raspy.

As a child, I had to sleep propped up on pillows because the drainage choked me. Of course, I didn’t really know what it was then and I don’t think mom or dad did, either. Neither one of them had sinus problems. I didn’t get diagnosed till I was in my late twenties. My husband and I met in Alabama, where he was working at the time. But his hometown was in Georgia. So we married in Georgia and lived there for many years. My throat stayed sore and raspy for so long after I moved there, I was afraid I had throat cancer or something.

I went to several doctors, who found nothing wrong and summarily dismissed me. One, however, sent me to an ENT, a Scotsman in a nearby town. He was probably in his sixties at the time and from what I learned later, had the patience of a chihuahua, and the bedside manner of Robert De Niro in his mad mode. On my second visit, he told me there was nothing wrong with me, to “talk right”, and not to bother him again. He told the nurse to charge me half price. I was so mad and humiliated it made me cry. My mad cry is when I reach a boiling point without a release valve, like knocking him on his rear. The tears are actually steam.

It was a little old lady at church who diagnosed me. In my frustration, I bent her ear one morning after church. When I told her the doctors thought I was either malingering or a hypochondriac, she looked at me with big eyes and said, “Honey, they’re crazy. You have allergies.” Then she told me about a specialist in Thomasville, GA, who had helped her, and then gave me his phone number. I made an appointment. In the meantime, I had an earlier appointment with a local doctor and told him about what the woman had said. I also told him I thought the drainage was making me sick to my stomach. He made a sound of disgust and told me shortly that sinus drainage doesn’t go to your stomach.

When I saw the specialist, I told him that the local doctor had said drainage didn’t go to the stomach. He paused momentarily in his examination and said, “Where the hell does he think it goes?” Yo. Man, I LOVED this doctor. He did numerous scratch tests (which are supposed to be out of favor now) and pronounced I was allergic to several things, but the main one was pecan trees. And wouldn’t you know it. I had moved to the pecan capital of the world. Georgia. For a long time I had weekly shots, administered locally, which left huge bruises on my arms, but my throat got clear and I could breathe, not to mention the vertigo and headaches went away. I took the shots for about a year and I did well for a long time after. Then we moved to South Carolina and it started all over again.

My sister Katie also has terrible allergy problems. She saw an ENT who didn’t believe in the scratch tests. Said it could be diagnosed with blood work. He pronounced her “borderline?” Katie has so many allergy symptoms she’s a walking encyclopedia. So the ENT, to relieve these “borderline” problems, did that nose surgery where they pack the cavities and leaves you in a lot of pain until the body heals. Didn’t do a bit of good.

I was sent to an ENT. He didn’t believe in the scratch tests. I was also having lots of ear infections. Sometimes when I moved my head it felt like water sloshing around. Loud noises, loud music, or laughing loudly caused a rattling, tinny sound inside my ear. I went several times only to hear the ENT say he didn’t know what was wrong and acted like he’d never heard of those sensations before.

I have just learned of a doctor who still believes in allergy testing the old-fashioned way. I will be making an appointment.



4 thoughts on “I Can’t Walk A Straight Line, But I’m Not Drunk; Just Zapped With Pollen

  1. Good Luck, dear one. Hope there are no new allergies. There is an old remedy that says get local honey and take one tablespoon daily to help with allergies. This supposedly gradually builds your immunity to local pollens. It has to be local raw honey to be effective.

    • We have a spoonful of local honey in our hot tea every morning. Have been doing it about a year. Hasn’t helped yet. Thanks for your input. Always nice to hear from you. Maybe we can have that honey and hot tea together soon. Oh, by the way. Loved the kitten. Ours is too grown up now. I’ll bet he’s entertaining you and Walt to no end. Love ya.

  2. Holy cow! You definitely win the top prize…prize??…for having the worst allergies I’ve ever heard of — other than someone dying from an insect sting or eating a peanut. Allergies are SO common that I can’t believe you encountered so many duds as doctors. I really don’t know what to suggest other than prescription strength dosages of anti-histamines, but I’m sure you’ve already been down that route. Are you still in touch with the doctor who said, “Where the hell does he think it goes?” Sounds like he at least has a little bit of sense. If he’s too far away to visit now, perhaps he could recommend someone.

    I am so very sorry you have gone through so much….and STILL are.

    We’ve lived in NH for 24 years and for the past 22, Frank has been given three allergy shots a month, one each for cats, pollen and dust. He felt they helped, but he was laid low every month for two days after the shots. When he was in the hospital and rehab after his fall on February 1st, he didn’t get the shots. He’s been home now for over two months and hasn’t had a bit of trouble with allergies so, needless to say, he’s not going for the shots anymore. I guess even at 80 you can outgrow allergies.

    ION, I had my first complete physical in four years on May 15th. I was dumbfounded to be told I had COPD and stage 4 kidney disease. Kidney disease??? That was a bolt out of the blue. Every time I have a chest X-ray I half expect to be told I have lung cancer or emphysema because of smoking for so many years (stopped in 2007.) But kidney disease?

    I don’t have diabetes or even high blood sugar, my slightly high blood pressure is under control with meds, liver and heart are perfect, mammogram was clear. I even had another urine and blood test a week later because I could NOT believe the kidney diagnosis. Yesterday I had a renal ultrasound and June 10th I have an appointment downstate with a nephrologist at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center….a top-rated medical facility.

    I’ll do whatever I need to because stage 5 kidney disease means a transplant or dialysis. Yikes!

    • My goodness, Jo Ann!!! I can hardly believe it. Kidney disease! Did you not even suspect? Any symptoms? My gosh. I will be praying steadily for you.

      As for the allergy doctor, that was 40 years ago. He would be retired or dead by now. As I said, I’ve learned of a good one here that I will be making an appointment with. I think I have to get a referral first, though, so will have to go to my family doctor here. Katie will, too. She is as bad as me and is still working. I don’t know how she does it. I shut down.

      So good to hear from you, but so sorry for your health problems. It is good to hear that Frank will not have to take the shots anymore.

      Montana is spending the weekend with me. She says to tell you hi and that she will be praying for you, too, and will put you on her church prayer list.

      She and I have been watching older movies today. She enjoyed the adventuresome “Congo” from Michael Criton’s book. It wasn’t a movie for the ages but it was fun to watch and she had never seen it. Then we watched the 1983 movie “War Games” with Matthew Broderick and ? Sheely. I enjoyed them both all over again watching them with her.

      I didn’t get to watch the full dance show the first night, but did get to see a few really good ones. Is it only going to be coming on once a week?

      Have a good evening. Thumbs up for you!


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