Allergies, my old nemesis. Every April I get the pleasure of sounding like I’d spent the past 11 months smoking a pack a day and then exfoliating my throat with 3M sandpaper. Allergies are nature’s cruelest joke: you’re sick without an infection, just because your immune system is like a drunk girl in a bar at 2 a.m. crying over something minor. Thus, you get to spend your days in a purgatory of being sick and not sick at the same time; living a half life the moment Claritin crosses your lips.
I woke up Thursday morning without a voice. Do you know what it’s like being a project manager without a voice? It got to the point by 10 am on Thursday that I only spoke when work necessitated it. I was like Rain Man, except I only broke my vow of silence with sage wisdoms like “Your display campaign is late, can you send me content?” and “Your ads are in the wrong format.” By 4 pm, I was gesticulating like an alien in a 60s movie, trying to signal that I’d reformatted a contract with a series of hand motions that may accidentally have been a native rain dance.
I worked from home on Friday which I thought allowed me to slowly recuperate. On Saturday I made the #1 mistake that all allergy sufferers make: you don’t feel so bad, so you skip your dose of Claritin, and spend the day frolicking in the sunshine. I felt nothing but joy as my very first bite of Brazilian food crossed my lips, satisfaction as I successfully returned ill-fated wedding gifts for store credit.
I even got ~risky~ and went to an event at a winery on my way home, where I stumbled against my allergenic foe. As I was walking through the vineyard, feeling fancy-ish, it hit me. No, I mean it: I literally walked into a cloud of some kind of pollen. I yelped, trying to wipe the entrails off of my face, but they stuck to my makeup and sweat. I went full Sanford and Sons, yelling “I’m comin’ for ya, Benadryl” as I waddled around in a haze of plant dander. The allergies were back two hours later.
Like I said before, the worst part about allergies are that you’re half sick, half not. But with that comes the vulnerability of being sick. The medicine makes you tired, you mouth breathe like a dinosaur. Yet I still felt guilty when someone asked if they could get groceries for me while they were out. It wasn’t about getting the gouda Babybels, nectarines and some iced coffee. It was about asking someone to care for you like a baby bird that fell out of a nest.
But my mouth breathing, chicken noodle soup, and cacophony of medicine always remind me it’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to rest. I just wish I didn’t have to stick my face into a cloud of pollen to remember that.