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I literally have tears in my eyes as I write this.
Why? Because spring has arrived in Oklahoma! After the drabness of the winter months, we are rewarded with all the beautiful colors of reemergent life all around us.
The Bradford Pear trees are already in full bloom. The forsythia and redbud trees are just about ready, another week perhaps. By Easter, we should be awash in the whites, pinks, and reds of azaleas.
As long as you’re good at dodging tornadoes, this is truly the best time to be in Oklahoma and I do so look forward to it.
Except for one thing.
You see the tears in my eyes are not only for the joy of spring. I have allergies.
My life has not been the same since one clearly remembered day when I was 15 years old. That day, in late summer of my sophomore year of high school, my body decided to add something new to the experience of being a teenager.
Sneezing, itching, tearing eyes, and a running nose became irresistible parts of my spring ritual.
It isn’t me, but it could have been. This is the “scratch test” allergists do to see what pollens, danders, molds, or foods you might be allergic to.
I’ve had this test done several times, all with the same result.
I have been known to set a clinic’s record for the number of things reacted to. I think the last test showed reactions to 120 different things, mostly tree and grass pollens. Yay! (Note: don’t let your big sister, the nurse, administer the “scratch test.” Let’s just say she took compensation for any little brother annoyances I might have caused her.)
Meet my arch-nemesis. This is Juniperus virginiana, more commonly known as red cedar. This little devil, is not only invading Oklahoma at an alarming rate, it’s a prolific generator of pollen that is carried on the wind to my vicinity from all directions, mostly from Texas. It’s the precursor of things to come, usually arriving in mid-February. It’s awful awful stuff.
My only defense against this spring onslaught, only to be repeated by its corollary in the fall, is medication.
The price I pay for the beauty of spring is the self-induced fog of antihistamines. Flonase, Zyrtec, and sinus blasting nasal pepper spray are my weapons of choice. I’ve experimented with them all. I even gave myself allergy shots back in high school (they don’t let you self administer them now – too much liability).
These particular medications work for me, but occasionally, I find myself staring into space, my mind-clutch slipped into neutral by the combined effect of the antihistamines. It also keeps me indoors on beautiful days, especially when the wind is up.
It’s the price I have to pay to enjoy the beauty of spring, but bring it on! Summer beckons and I’ll only have to deal with ticks, chiggers, and mosquitos!