Nothing To Sneeze At: Allergies – A Different Kind of March Madness

“Do you have a cold?” ask the worrisome and retreating. A flustered voice calls out from behind a flurry of waving white tissues “no, it’s just allergies.” A muffled snort punctuates the words. Hands are neither extended nor shaken.

That’s me, in case you haven’t figured it out, sinus passages inflamed and all. There but for the grace of God go I in a fit of sneezing and hay fever. This time of year, most people are enjoying the dunking and soaring flights of NCAA basketball players ala ‘March Madness’. In my house this March, there is also madness and dunking, but of another kind. Slam dunk go the crumpled tissues heavy with snot, and hopefully, clear mucous. Metaphorically speaking, its spring and the colors of autumn are not welcome.

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Lizard Vision: The Eyes Don’t Have It.

Warning: Read With Both Eyes Open.

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Let every eye negotiate for itself and trust no agent.
– William Shakespeare

All cliches aside, I’m trying hard not to make a spectacle of myself, but I’m tired of having lizard vision. Some lizards, such as the Yemen chameleon, have eyes on either side of their heads. In fact, each eye can move independently of the other. This makes it difficult to look them straight in the eyes and get an honest answer about anything – and certainly not about my vision problems.

Five years ago or so, my arms began to shrink. It seemed that I couldn’t hold reading material far enough away for reading comfort. Eventually, after seeking orthopedic consult, I wound up at a local ophthalmologist’s office. I’ll call her ‘Europa’. Things changed apparently in the 12 years or so since I had last gotten glasses. I was surprised to learn that a machine was developed that would read your eyes and calculate the exact eyeglass prescription needed… assuming of course there was no calibration error. I’ve learned in life never to assume, however.

Anyway, I was given a prescription for new lenses and also one for my first pair of reading glasses. Arriving at the optician, I figured ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’ so I also ordered a pair of prescription sunglasses. It took a few days before everything would be ready, and in that space of time I tried to come with terms with ageing and the various situations that would warrant my having to carry 3 pairs of glasses or wear anything dangling from my neck. When my glasses were ready, I coughed up a month’s salary and tried on the first pair. To my chagrin, the left lens seemed to be off. I felt like I was looking through the bottoms of 2 different coke bottles. In fact, I had the same problem with the reading and sunglasses.

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Intrasomatic Conspiracy: Part 3 – The Inflammation Wars

“It’s no longer a question of staying healthy. It’s a question of finding a sickness you like.”
– Jackie Mason

I’ve often said that the problem with life is that life gets in the way. We bob on the surface of its vicious whirlpools that spin us ’round and ’round, and sometimes eventually down, down, down … glub, glub, glub. We start on one thing and soon enough something else takes precedence. That’s the way it’s been lately with my trying to write this post on inflammation. Now to be fair, one of the obstacles to my completing this piece has been some research on the subject I’ve found that has made for fascinating reading and has really got me thinking … which invariably might actually be a dangerous thing.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been trying to pinpoint the one rogue disorder that has manifested in my body and transmogrified into a bountiful rotting harvest of assorted aches and pains, arthritic concerns, hernias, skin conditions, allergies and gastrointestinal duress. It’s obvious to me that there may be more than one culprit behind this inflammatory infestation … and that perhaps my body as a whole may be working against me in some unholy Intrasomatic Conspiracy.

Now the term inflammation comes from the Latin word ‘inflammare’ which means ‘to set on fire’. Yes, I’m inflamed, in fact, I’m downright incensed! Until recently, my war on inflammation has been mainly cerebral. I’ve tried reading up on what the root cause of my inflammation may be and what I can do about it. But, as always, I end up with ‘super-rific’, albeit conflicting, medical advice that is for the most part, one part supercillious and another part superfluous. Here are a few examples that read more like a “He Said, She Said” marriage counseling exercise:

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Yesterday, I ate meat!

Yesterday, I ate like a pig. I mean, really, what’s the point of starting a diet without having a last hurrah? In a similar vein, what’s the point in making New Year’s resolutions without breaking one right from the get go? Given the choice between bacon and eggs versus a banana and tea is a no brainer – and on New Year’s Day of all days. I reckoned that my gastronomically poor choice of breakfast items could be justified in my delighting deliriously in the sheer amusement of knowing I was still just a non-conformist at heart. Principles trump resolutions. By the way, I ate the banana, too.

Yesterday’s menu included roasted chicken and potatoes, honey glazed ham, cornbread stuffing (from scratch!), candied yams, green bean almondine with bacon and red peppers, and carrot cake. All washed down with leftover Martini & Rossi Asti Spumante. I decided not to make pumpkin pie as that would have been excess. Didn’t want to send the wrong message to our guests.

Yesterday was yesterday; today is today. I took one of those purple pills for indigestion and began my diet in earnest. Despite the come hither beckoning of some garlic and chives cheese spread, I revelled in my banana and tea. Hooray! Soon, I’ll take a healthy stroll down the waterfront. I’ll walk as far as the local Starbucks and resist the taunting temptation of a Toffee Nut Latte with Caramel Syrup and Whipped Cream – and be proud of myself for doing so! You all should be proud of me, too, for such intestinal fortitude does not come easy to weak willed lovers of comfort food. After all, what’s the point of being a non-conformist if you have to conform to your own principles all the time?

Yesterday was nice, but thank God for January 2nd!

God speed to you all.

PS. Thanks for reading. What resolutions did you break and how quickly did you break them? Let me know. There’s strength in numbers.

Suggested Reading:

Cyrano De Bergerac  Dieting For Dummies   The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World

Suggested Listening:

Damn Right, Rebel Proud  Song Up In Her Head