I am sick. In fact, last night I felt like I was dying and it’s all because of this:_______. That’s right, you cannot even see what has me so sick because it’s pollen. Tree pollen to be more precise. I’m not sure which kind though I suspect it’s either birch, maple, or oak since those are the ones in full production and blitzkrieging my town right now. If it’s oak, I am going to be crushed because I LOVE oaks. I’ve fought with family members who wanted to chop down oaks. I’ve talked to oaks. No lie. Seriously, I’ve talked to oak trees. Why? Because big ones are so old and it amazes me that something that was grown when my grandfather was a child could still stand. I LOVE them. There is an amazing oak tree near Lovingston that I’ve actually driven 20 minutes out of my way just to see. Do you get that I love oak trees? Yeah, I do. So if it turns out that they are the things hell bent on destroying me, then I’m going to die of a broken heart…then I am going to torch every one I see. Hahaha! Actually, every allergy season when I start to feel like trees are slowly trying to choke the life out of me, I start to think of that M. Night Shyamalan movie about plants that want to destroy the human race. I think it was called The Happening. It was a pretty stupid movie and the scariest thing about it were Zooey Deschanel’s gigantic eyes blinking from behind those bangs. Nonetheless, I always think of it and wonder if trees aren’t trying to destroy me to avenge their kinsman I used as a Christmas tree last December. Am I over thinking this? Blame it on the antihistamines.
Allergies are no joke. I never really understood the agony of people who suffered them until I developed them myself, which was just a few years ago. Oddly, I don’t really get the sneezing, sniffly thing. Instead, at the first hint of an allergen, my immune system immediately jumps to the nuclear option. I start running low grade fevers, get body aches, wretched headaches, fatigue. It’s awful.
To try to combat the evil sex dust, I’ve been taking a cocktail of Zyrtek, Claritin, and Patanase. Zyrtek used to work like a charm but not so much these days. The Patanase seems to be working but I think it’s a steroid and it dries my sinus cavities out so badly. Last night I felt so horrible that I decided to start using surgical face makes while I am outside or in the car to avoid inhaling as much pollen as possible. I think it has helped!
So all of this brings me to running. The weather is GORGEOUS! Last Thursday it snowed so for it to be 80 degrees outside is wonderful; however, I feel so torn because the beautiful weather means horrible allergies due to the increase in pollen production. Therefore I feel like my choices were as follows: A. Live like Bubble Boy and stay indoors until May when the trees quit spreading their seed all over town, B. Run on the treadmill at the gym, which sucks and isn’t good training in my opinion, C. Run outside in the pollen then die a slow death or D. Run but look like a fool by wearing surgical mask. I opted for option D. Not only did it allow me to run and limit pollen intake, it also seemed like it might simulate some low oxygen Kilimanjaro conditions (haha).
At first I felt pretty stupid as I took off down the trail. I chose to run in Greenfield because it’s a rural area and though there are usually people there, there are generally fewer than in more populated areas. I decided to run 4 miles. I was pretty slow because I was so tired and run down by the allergies. Also, I always forget how tired my legs feel after wearing heels to work. I need to stop doing that!
Luckily I only encountered a handful of humans. I am certain I got some weird looks but since I refused to look up, I can’t say for sure. But judging from the hush that fell across people as I passed, I’d say I confused the day lights out of many of them. I’m pretty sure I looked like Luke when he was riding a Taun Taun on the ice planet Hoth. Normally when I run out there around sundown I worry about crazy rapists. There was one time in particular that I felt I was being stalked as I ran. Today one car did drive by twice and at first, I started to get that “Uh oh, Ted Bundy!” alert in my head but then I realized that they were probably just trying to figure out what the heck I was doing. Besides, I must have looked absolutely insane and I feel certain that crazy recognizes crazy and leaves it the hell alone.
I didn’t really have a hard time breathing unless I was sprinting down a hill. Only then did I feel it more difficult to breath. A few times I pulled the mask off to get some air but I quickly put it back on because my sinus cavities immediately started to burn. I convinced myself that this was the pollen burning it’s way through my skull. In reality, it was more likely just the pain of pure, unadulterated air passing through my bone dry, steroid spray burnt nostrils/sinuses.
So that’s my story about allergies and the extremes to which I will go to feel alive while the trees get it on with one another. I have an appointment with my allergist tomorrow. Hopefully they can offer me something additional that might give relief so that I don’t have to keep wearing the mask. After all, that look might work in Tokyo or Seoul…but not in Roanoke. Sorry.