Monday, November 3, 2014

The Itchy & Scratchy Show

With so many things going on in my life and especially my body that are out of my control, I have decided to focus on things that I can control.  One of those things is my allergies.  This has been a pretty terrible year for allergies in Minnesota.  We had a late spring, and everything seemed to bloom all at once.  I spent most of the spring, summer, and fall wiping my nose and feeling miserable.
I decided that I am tired of this bullshit and I am done with allergies. 
I suppose that I shouldn't complain, I have actually been pretty lucky as far as allergies go.  I didn't grow up with allergies and I spent a decent portion of my adult life without them.  For some reason, I developed allergies around the time that I turned 30 and have been miserable ever since.
It has been 7 years since I had an allergy test, and I have not been in to see an allergist for a while - Target minute clinic works just fine if I need nasal spray or have a sinus infection and you can get most allergy medication over the counter.
So, I needed to find a new allergist and also have my test redone to see if my allergies were the same.  For anyone who has never had an allergy test it is not a good time.  You get to lay on the table with your back exposed, the nurse then proceeds to poke you in the back 46 times with various potential allergens and leaves you to lay there for 15 minutes, trying not the move around and scratch your back that is now itching like crazy, and wait to see what you are allergic to.
But, this test is often not clearly definitive for most things, so then you get to move on to the shots.

Luckily I only needed to have 14 shots - 7 in each arm.  Those you only need to wait 8 minutes for them to blow up and start itching.  Mine, for the most part, hurt more than itched.
I was glad that I had the test redone, as two things actually fell off from the last time, but the things that remained got worse.  The big 3: Mold, Ragweed, and DOGS.
The allergist recommended that we stop letting the dogs sleep in the bedroom with us.  He has obviously never seen the sad eyes that Penny gave us when we told her she can't sleep on the bed anymore.  He also said that these are all things that could be treated with shots, and that shots should be very effective.  I decided that I am ready to be done with allergies and will start the shots in a few weeks.
It is a definite time commitment.  The treatment actually lasts for 5 years - it starts at once a week for 6 months, and then starts to increase time in between.  You just need to go into the office, get your shot, and then wait there for 30 minutes so that they can monitor your reaction.  Unfortunately, you will react for a while, but it gets better as time goes on.
The allergist also spent some time looking at my throat, nose and ears.  He immediately asked about my sinus surgery.  He commented that my surgery looked "thorough".  I am not sure if that is good or bad, but I think that I am glad that I can't see up my nose. 
When I was 18, the summer between high school and college, I had sinus surgery.  After having recurrent sinus infections since I was in elementary school, and recurrent ear infections as a child, a new doctor at our clinic noticed the size of my medical file and decided to get to the bottom on things. 
I went to the allergist - no allergies.
I then went to the ENT where the truth was discovered.  While everything looked straight on the outside, the inside of my nose was as crooked as a politician.  And my ethmoid sinuses were full of air bubbles.  He recommended surgery to fix it.  He pointed to things on the CAT scan and described generally what he was going to fix.  Staring at a scan, these things didn't sound that bad.  It is also hard to related a scan into flesh, nerves and bone.
I don't remember much of the week after my surgery.  I spent most of the time sleeping - only waking up briefly to take my mega pain pill.  My face was so swollen I could barely open my mouth, and my nose was so full of packing you could fit nickels in my nostrils.  Or at least I think you could - we didn't actually try it.
As bad as it was, I now only get sinus infections once every one to two years (twice in a year if things are really bad) instead of every other month as I did as a child. 
Thank you for being thorough Dr. Alt.

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