Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Friday, March 17, 2017

Curse You, Spring

I've been feeling pretty listless this week. I put up one big post on Sunday and some small ones on Monday, and then a couple of easy ones, and that was basically it. I just haven't been feeling it, to use the vernacular.

Being March, it's been raining, a lot. Last Sunday though we had a few hours of actual nice weather, so nice that I actually went outside and puttered in the yard a bit.

Since Mr. Broken Ankle is on the mend, my stress level has gone down enough that I have enough energy to resume my stair climbing program (20 minutes a day, up two flights of stairs and then down with about ten to fifteen feet of level walking in between each flight). Don't quite understand the connection here. Was it really the stress that put a stop to my exercise program, or was it some other issue, like a low grade virus?

Anyhoo, two of those days I used the outside stairs as part of my route. 50 degrees F is not balmy, but it's warm enough if you are working, and climbing stairs falls under the category of work for me.

Costco's version of Zyrtec
The comeuppance was that I didn't fall asleep until six AM this morning. Not sleeping, and being low on mental energy led to pondering, and that led to me thinking that maybe all this outdoor activity this week has stirred up my allergies and that's what's giving me so much grief. So I took a Zyrtec and I've been sleeping off and on all day long.

My experience with hayfever started in the sixth grade when we moved to Ohio and I went out into a nearby field filled with Timothy grass and my eyes swole up. I vaguely remember it was kind of annoying, but I solidly remember my mother being very upset about it.

I started fighting back with pills of various sorts. Could Chlor-trimeton be one of them? (Yes, it could.) Fifteen years later, when I lived in Austin, I started getting allergy shots. Near as I can tell there are two basic types of these things. One is cortisone and lasts for months, and the other is some kind of jungle joy juice that is made up from all the stuff you are allergic too. How do they figure out what you are allergic to? The infamous skin scratch test.

Lil Abner Kickapoo Joy Juice
They put a few drops of a selection of jungle joy juice on your arm, maybe as few as six, maybe as many as three dozen, prick the skin under each drop and they sit back and wait for you to squirm. It's kind of a curious process (sitting months and miles away from having had it done). Most of the drops sit there without causing any more reaction that a drop of water, but some will start itching so bad that I will want to start gnawing my arm off,

I continued with the allergy shots up until a year or two ago. They were kind of a nuisance, having to drive to Beaverton, hang around for a bit, and deal with the bills when they came. But I also used to get sinus infections, usually one big one in December. Some of them were real doozies. One got so bad that the side of my skull swole up enough that it was pushing on me eyeball and giving me double vision. It was so bad I went to the eye doctor and a got special lenses to compensate. I still don't really understand what happened. Weird, man. Eventually it went away and I am back to my normal (ha!) self and only need my $5 reading glasses for reading. The upshot was that if I stayed on track and got my allergy shots every couple of weeks like I was supposed to, I didn't get these sinus infections. So I got the shots.

The Hulk
Nowadays we have Claritin and Zyrtec, drugs that didn't exist 50 years ago*, or at least they weren't approved for mass consumption, and I'm retired, so I can sleep whenever I want, or at least whenever my family will let me. Sleep is probably the biggest weapon I have in my arsenal to fight sinus infections. And besides, if I am short of sleep my personality undergoes a dramatic shift. I become like David Banner (the Hulk) when he gets angry. So I try to get enough sleep.

The bad part of all this is that I haven't really had any of what you might call normal hay fever symptoms this week. I've just been a little low on mental energy. In the absence of any overt symptoms, could it really be hay fever? Does it matter if I don't have any symptoms, but taking Zyrtec lets me sleep? We shall see, providing of course that I remember to take my drugs. Remembering to take care of things can be difficult when you are short on sleep.

P.S. I used to take Benadryl. Took it for years, mostly to sleep. Probably not a good idea to take it day-in, day-out year after year, which is what I was doing. Prednisone was the drug I used to clear up my sinus infections. If I was a mess, taking it had no noticeable effect other than I got better. If I wasn't that sick, taking it would jack me up (overly energize me). Not a very pleasant feeling. Claritin doesn't do anything for me, at least not that I've noticed. Perhaps a more careful trial is in order. I also used to take Sudafed a lot, but Sudafed is a decongestant, which dehydrates you, and drinking dehydrates you, which leads to imbalance in electrolytes, which led to muscle spasms. Great fun.

* Claritin came on the market in 1993, Zyrtec in 1995.

1 comment:

AndrewP said...

I take generic Claritin (Loratadine) when the Cedar pollen overwhelms me.Works, doenst put me to sleep like the bitter green pills we took out at the orchard.