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The dandelion's revenge

By Michael R. Shannon
web posted April 5, 2010

DandelionAs I sneezed, snorted, hacked, blew and dripped my way through the sermon last Sunday, I pondered — as I fumbled for more tissue — where exactly does pollen fit into God's plan?

Couldn't a means have been devised for plants to propagate that does not involve making me breathe through my mouth like a guppy for three or four weeks each year?

As you read this, the cherry blossoms are predicted to be at their peak around the Tidal Basin in DC. Tourists and residents alike are expected to join in celebrating this sinus cavity Chernobyl.

As the Romans say: "Fors Fortis" (fat chance). Me visiting the cherry blossoms would be like an emphysema victim volunteering for a tour of the R. J. Reynolds factory. I'd just as soon celebrate the invention of mustard gas.

It would be bad enough if I was allowed to suffer peacefully through this pollenpalooza, but my family has to complain about my symptoms. They don't like sneezing. My wife, Janet says it's too "loud" and it "startles" her. But it's not my fault that neighbors across the lake occasionally call out "gesundheit."

Griping at me for sneezelash is like criticizing a polio victim because he's no good in the three–legged race at family reunions.

It's not like I enjoy exploding five or six times a minute. Formerly I drove each week to the Kaiser clinic and got an allergy shot. The "scientific" theory behind this treatment regimen is based on injecting dilute allergens into your arm to you build immunity to Mother Nature. In my experience this is like building resistance to poison ivy by putting a few leaves in your underwear each week.

All six years of shots did for me was aerate my left triceps.

My son, Karl also suffers from allergies and he experienced an early introduction to seasonal despair. My wife took him to the clinic for testing.

Later the doctor sat my son down and told him he is allergic to "trees, grass, weeds, pollen, dust and mold." Karl's eight–year–old mind considered this diagnosis for a moment and replied, "Well, that's just about everything isn't it?"

Now I sprinkle Benadryl on my food instead of salt and stack antihistamines like bodybuilders stack steroids. Since I can't operate a pencil while I'm sneezing, giving up my backhoe privileges is a small price to pay for even temporary relief.

 Hay fever is bad enough during the day, but it also interferes with sleep. I like to run the whole–house fan in the Spring and early Summer to cool off the bedroom, but Janet calls it "assisted suicide" and claims the fan only serves to bring more pollen into the house at higher velocities.

Since my tolerance for Benadryl and various antihistamines is at an all–time high (something allergy shots could never produce) I've had to dabble in homeopathic allergy remedies.

This year's experiment is the "Neti Pot." It's a small blue plastic pot that looks exactly like the "I'm a little teapot" teapot. Three times a day I fill it with a few ounces of warm water containing a soda and saline solution.

Then I take the pot and jam the spout into one nostril and literally "tip me over and pour me out." The solution is supposed to travel through your nasal passages, drown the pollen and flush it out your other nostril — as you tilt your head and watch in disbelief while this personal Niagara flows out of your nose.

I call it Do–It–Yourself water boarding.

(Practical Joker Note: If you want to give your wife a start, add a little red food coloring to the water before you pour and then ask her to come into the bathroom and help.)

I can't really tell if using the Neti pot helps, but my contact lenses feel strangely buoyant.

It's fortunate that the Obamacare bill didn't single out Hay Fever for government intervention like last year's War on Swine Flu. Otherwise allergy sufferers would soon be buying their Claritin from West Virginia residents in the local Wal–Mart parking lot.

One thing allergies have done is inspire me to write a song that gets down to the heart of the matter. I'm indebted to Maurice Chevalier for "Every little breeze seems to whisper Louise" which serves as the basis for my lyrics:

Every little breeze only makes me to sneeze,

Buds in the trees know they cause my disease.

Each little rose,

Surely it knows I hate you, hate you. ESR

Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. Audiences agree he's a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at michael-shannon@comcast.net.


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