Sunday, May 11, 2008

Allergy Head at 4 am

I've been wracking my brain to come up with a little blurb for the blog, but my own personal allergy cocktail has put me into fuzzy cotton lala land and I believe my heart is beating exceptionally fast due to my pharmaceutical/apothecary skills.

Brain: When did you take the last Claritin?

Brain: It seems Zyrtec has different ingredients - can you overlap them?

Brain: The Benadryl only sort of worked - what about Sudafed?

Brain: This Afrin Nasal Spray is AWESOME, but is says only every 10-12 hours. How much leeway do you think there is with those guidelines? *snorrrrrrt*

My other problem with adult-onset allergies ( I only developed all these issues as of last year) is that the when they hit me, allergies are the LAST thing that I think of as the source of the problem.

Brain: Oh lordy day, I feel like shit and my head is going to explode. I must be getting the flu. Or a head cold. Or malaria.

And then someone will suggest allergies and I have to think, "Oh yeah, I sort of get that stuff too now. Thanks for reminding me about that option before I make the mental leap to cancer."

Malaria continues to stay in the brain catalog from the Peace Corps days where contracting it was entirely possible. And to completely freak everyone out - if you thought you had it, you were supposed to prepare a slide (for a microscope) with a blood sample. Because what you totally feel like doing when you're fluctuating between fever and chills is prepare a blood smear and carefully carry it to a doctor who could be 1 to 10 hours away. I never got malaria, but I did get all other forms of the creeping crud from nasty, giant boils that I'd have to lance and drain myself to Mango Fever.

I was just the teensiest bit fond of the mango and ate them A LOT. I guess the time I ate 10 of the smaller mangoes in one sitting was about 7 mangoes too many and I gave myself ulcers in my throat from the acid. The ulcers got infected and I ended up in the Mombasa Hospital for the second time with a massive fever. But it wasn't too much of a hardship since my room was air-conditioned, looked out over the Indian Ocean and cute Greg from the south coast stopped by to bring me flowers. Hubba hubba.

In terms of other Peace Corps health maintenance, we were periodically required to submit a MIF kit. This was a teensy jar of liquid that you put your poop into so they could check for cooties. I was often tempted to put a goat dropping in one and see what came back.

Going for my mid-term physical in Nairobi, I was required to submit a MIF kit, and for the first time since landing in Africa, I couldn't take a dump. WTF!? My steady diet of beans for lunch had me as regular as the day is long and now I can't produce?! The gastro-intestinal track decided to unblock itself on the train from Mombasa to Nairobi. Now picture me in a train bathroom, squatting (no toilet...hole in the floor), trying to capture a piece of my own poo with the train rocking back and forth. Yowza! I'm sorry, but handling my own fecal matter just ranks really low on the old fun-o-meter. Handling it while squatting and keeping my balance was downright comical. And not only do you have to capture some, but you've got to get a small enough piece for the MIF kit. *shudder*

I guess my only other major health issue over there was this super-subdermal staph infection in my calf. As it seems is always the case, the doc said he'd need to lance it.

Me: Sooo...are you going to numb me up?

Doc: I'll put some freeze-y stuff on it first.

Me: *urgh* ARRRRRGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

There ain't enough freeze-y stuff for a lance that's going an inch into your leg meat. And then he has the gall to pack gauze into the cut to "wick out the pus". I went around with something that looked like a maxi pad taped to my leg for three days after that.

OK...I'm rambling...and better head back to bed since it's 4:30ish in the morning and my new allergy cocktail is doing something.
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16 Comments :

Tracy said...

I'm a new reader to your blog. I love it.
I also love that you started out talking about allergy medicine and we ended up putting poo in a tiny bottle on a train with a hole in the floor!
That's good writing!!
Hope you feel better!

That girl from Shallotte said...

First of all, you have my deepest sympathies for all the allergy crap you're going through. I feel your pain, girl.

But, I have to admit that when I read "Going for my mid-term physical in Nairobi, I was required to submit a MIF kit," my mind registered that you had to submit a MILF kit. And it made me wonder how my 16-year-old stepson's friends rank me. :)

Feel better soon!

Anonymous said...

As another former Peace Corps volunteer, I must chime in about the good folks who invented the MIF kit. To aid us (or at least to greatly amuse themselves) they included a rough-hewn popsicle stick in the kit. So while you were holding your treasure in one hand, you could perform a slice/smoosh maneuver with the stick. And on that bumpy, nighttime train ride, Alice undoubtedly performed this medical ritual while clenching a dim flashlight in her teeth. I'm telling you, it's the stuff legends are made of.

Alice said...

Tracy - Thank you! - but it's not good writing - it's delusional tangents at a terrible morning hour. ; ) No one should be up at 4 in the morning.

That girl - My irregular heartbeat thanks you for your kind words too. And you should totally create the MILF kit for insecure Mom's of teenage boys.

I'm going to assume that my anon. is N. If so - I must have you write a guest blog because a) your memory is much better, b) you write better and c) you're so freakin' funny. And HEY - where the hell was my popsicle stick when I was doing all this?!?!?

Bee's Dark Side said...

WoW! Remind me not to complain about my aches and pains too much cuz whatever I say, you can just tell me to 'shut up pansy!'

Every time I sneeze, the old ladies I work with ask if I'm developing allergies. I really hope I don't! :o{

Jeff said...

Hey Alice -

Hope you had a FANTASTIC Mother's Day :-)

Jenn Thorson said...

Hang in there, Alice. Don't go climbing any ladders to get a new crop o' tent-worms until the allergy meds are worn off-- 'kay?

I don't want the next post to be "How I ended up in traction this week."

Jonny's Mommy said...

My brother has had allergy head the last several days -- so much so that the other day he couldn't remember how many claritin's he took. I wouldn't say that was good.

I'm glad I wasn't in the Peace Corps. I'm a hypochondriac. I would have been dying from some new disease every day -- poop in a bottle or not.

Meg said...

I'm telling you--stay away from the yard work. Stay indoors. Rent a Cusack movie. Have some hops--it takes the focus off of your sinuses!

Alice said...

Bee - yeah, I had a terrible attitude about allergies before I got them. Oh come on...so you're a little stuffed up...and then BAM..I got hit by the allergy fairy who decided I was a little too dismissive.

Jeff- Thank you! Will be writing up on my Mother's Day soon.

Jenn - I'm outta the tent worm business. They've all cocooned now and with this incredible rain, I hope they've all drowned.

J-Mom - It was definitely weird over there with all the funky cooties people came up with. I don't take clean water and convenient doctors for granted anymore.

Meg said...

p.s. My blog has made top posts at Humor-Blogs three times in a row. I think the secret is having an irreverent title: I Hate Your Kids, Blame It On Your Mother, and For a Woman, I Do Gross Pretty Well.

I see your blog is number 30. Congrats!!!

Sue said...

I am not a doctor, but I do play one on Web MD. My advice to you is: worrying about over medicating is for
pussies. I usually take an allergy pill, a sleeping pill and swig it down with a half a papercup of wine. Good to go. No 4am blogging.

Alice said...

Meg - you'll be happy regarding my yard in the latest post! But when I can mow again I'm going to try and mow your name first for bloggin purposes. ; )

Sue - I had created my own allergy cocktail last night which was dead on...and so simple. Perhaps I'll try yours tonight. Would I be able to substitute the half a paper cup of wine with a mini bottle of Peach Schnapps?

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

Poop stories!!!! YAYYYYYY!

"There's no stories like poop stories like no stories I knooowwwwww."

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

A friend of ours served his mission in a desperately poor part of Argentina where the people scavenged landfills for food.

Anyway, he sat down to eat at a church members home and discovered he was dining on freshly caught and roasted sewer rat!

He got some kind of intestinal bug that still lingers on 14 years later.

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

I love my Papi's poop stories from the mission field. He served in the villages around Veracruz Mexico and often went without facilities with plumbing.

I'm glad to know that the Peace Corps involves the same kind of tales.

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