June 26

My allergy appointment didn’t go as well as I had hoped. As the nurse was removing the tape off my back, she commented several times about how red I was. From the tape. And when the doctor saw me, he said my skin’s reaction to the tape was so overpowering that he couldn’t get a good read on the actual spots they were testing me for, so I have to go back in tomorrow morning. Isn’t that some dumb luck–reacting to the hypoallergenic tape. I knew my skin was sensitive, but geez. I just hope something else actually shows up. Otherwise, I’m back to square one. I am thankful that my eyes haven’t swollen shut in a couple of weeks. They’ve gotten a little puffy every day, but I discovered that over-the-counter allergy eye drops help alleviate that. I guess I’m also thankful that I didn’t react to everything. I know people who have allergies to numerous things, both environmental and food, and it’s miserable for them. I’m just looking to solve the mystery of my swollen eyes and call it good. Maybe need to avoid one thing. Wouldn’t it be great if, knowing we couldn’t avoid all issues, we could at least choose the parameters of our problems? So if I have to be allergic to something, could it be something simple, like stuffed animals? I’d avoid them. Never buy them. Wouldn’t have them in my house. I could live just fine without stuffed animals. Or eggplant. It actually does bother me, so I avoid it. Eggplant isn’t something that shows up randomly in food dishes. It’s in eggplant parmigiana and ratatouille. It’s not accidentally in my Caesar salad because of cross-contamination. I’ve lived most of my life without randomly crossing paths with eggplant. But I know that’s all wishful thinking. We can’t really control what problems we encounter unless it’s ones of our own making. So if something shows up tomorrow or doesn’t show up, I’ll deal with it. And be thankful that in the grand scheme of life issues, it’s a small one.

May 23

I’m sore. It was the first day of what we term “summer hours” at work. Everyone who works year round gets Fridays off early in the summer; the college shuts down at 1 pm. There is a group of us who usually try to get together in the afternoon to hang out on a deck somewhere and enjoy some drinks and maybe whiffle ball. Of course, as luck would have it, I wasn’t able to go. Well, I could have, but I had an incredibly bad allergy morning, where my left eye was almost swollen shut. I ended up back in the immediate care and back on steroids. By 1 pm, I looked only slightly less like I had gone a couple rounds in a boxing ring. I decided it would be best if all of my work friends did not see me looking quite so battered. So instead I worked alone in my yard. I’ve been converting the area where an above ground pool had been taken out into a fire pit area instead. Last weekend I finished building the retaining wall and today I pulled all the weeds out of the sand. I didn’t think it was that hard of labor, but my legs apparently thought so. At any rate, it was rewarding to see clean sand and get a little sunburn on my shoulders. Even though I didn’t hang out with my friends, I’m thankful I had the afternoon off. And even more thankful my eye eventually calmed down. Fingers crossed for the morning. 

May 6

I guess today I’m thankful for ice cream. There’s something about comforting foods, especially when shared with people you care about, that turn lousy days into good ones. I had another episode of allergy eyes today, which made me a bit cranky. The itching and burning skin was almost intolerable. And I’ve given birth without pain medication, so I know about pain. I did go to the doctor, but he was at a loss and referred me to a dermatologist. In the meantime, he told me to continue taking my allergy medicine and quite wearing makeup. That’s not happening. Well, I’ll continue with my meds, but I’m not going to go to work looking like a red raccoon. People looked at me funny all day and asked if I was ok. I know they thought I had been crying. A lot.

So, tonight my feel good was ice cream at Baskin Robbins. You know how you hear all the time that it’s the small stuff that counts. Well, it’s true. The small, good moments can outweigh a lot of bad if you let them. My ice cream cone and good company didn’t really take away the pain of my still red eyes, but it helped my attitude. I’m grateful for that.

April 28

I am thankful today that my students have a sense of humor. While I was out sick most of the work day, I did feel a bit better by late this afternoon, so I taught my class tonight. Immediately when I walked in, they asked what was wrong with me. Even though I tried to hide it, my allergy eyes gave me away. The nurse at the immediate care clinic yesterday described it accurately. She looked at me in shock and said, oh honey! That must hurt. You look like you’ve been burned. Yes. I look like someone tried to burn a raccoon mask around my eyes. And now my students have seen me at my worst and had great fun teasing me about how miserable I looked. But that’s ok; I’m the one giving out grades in a couple of weeks…

April 26

My morning was interesting. I had a terrible night’s sleep (again) and woke up feeling just as lousy as I did when I went to bed. Sore throat. Chest cough. Only this morning I got the added bonus of an allergic reaction to something at some point during the night. My eyes were almost swollen shut. At least the left one. Itchy, red, swollen. I actually sat in bed and cried for two minutes, which only made it worse. So, I got up, put cold water on my face, took my allergy pill–which, by the way, I have been doing daily for the last several months–and stood in a hot shower for a while. It only helped a little. It’s so frustrating because I have no idea what triggered the allergy. I haven’t changed my detergent, my pillows, or anything else on my bed. I had also just washed everything a few days prior. All I can think is that I must have my body worn down to the point where I’m overly sensitive to something. Maybe it’s my down pillows.

However, my tears this morning were mostly triggered by the fact that I had planned to go with my daughter to a college visit and at that point, I could literally see my own eye out of the corner of my eye. That’s how puffy they were. I didn’t want to drive that way. I also hated the idea of meeting people while looking like I had been in a fight. But I sucked it up. A couple of ice cubes helped a little with the swelling and a liberal dose of makeup camouflaged the redness a bit. And my daughter decided to drive, which was good and bad. Her car is so much smaller than mine. As we backed out of the driveway, I swear I looked eye to eye with a robin sitting in the yard.

At any rate, I’m thankful I was able to go. We had a great time chatting on the way there. And the college presentation was extremely interesting. She’s checking out SCAD (Savannah College of Arts and Design). It’s a school totally devoted to the arts, and she wants to go into animation. It could be a good fit for her; she’s very artistic. Actually, by the end of the presentation, the dormant artist in me was ready to sign up as well.  And later, on the way home, we stopped and did a little shopping. I’m glad I didn’t let my morning dictate my day. It was a good day, puffy eyes, sore throat and all.