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August 11, 2004: Itchy and scratchy

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When I got the first round of allergy tests I made an offhand comment about them testing me for small fuzzy critters. However, I already *know* how extremely allergic I am to mice and rats and guinea pigs and all of that type of creature, so it didn't occur to me that I would need to get tested for those again. Ha. Turns out that if I want those in the shots they have to test me anyway and I want those in the shots very badly. It would be oh-so-nice to be able to go to the friend's house where there is a guinea pig, for example, and be able to spend time there without having to dive for the inhaler and have my voice go steadily hoarse as my throat closes off within the first half hour of exposure. Even more important, it would be nice to be able to go anywhere and not have to worry about exposure to rodents I wasn't even aware were there.

They dragged out a new set of little testers and set up one arm and poked me full of yet another line of spots (alas, not enough to make more alien nipples, since I know you were all dying to know) and sure enough, they all exploded rather dramatically. So dramatically, in fact, that when one of the nurses came in her eyes got really big and she called in the second nurse to see just how quickly I was reacting, and really, it is not at all comforting to be sitting in a clinic where their main business is the diagnosis and treatment of allergies and have a nurse call in another to look at your arm and say something to the effect of 'check this out, I've never seen anything like it'. The one who was administering all my skin prick tests just grinned and noted that apparently I really did know what I was talking about when I said I was allergic to pretty much every small fuzzy critter out there. I've known about the mice and rats and rabbits and guinea pigs for years, but now we can add gerbils and hamsters to that mix, by the way, which I hadn't been sure about because I haven't been around either in a very long time. So that grouping of allergens will be added to the mix for my shots.

In the meantime I got my first set of shots for all the trees and molds and oh yes, those nasty little dust mites, that I tested positive for last week. My arm erupted in a lovely rash almost immediately and I somehow managed to avoid scratching at both shot sites to stop the insane itching that resulted. I am crossing my fingers that this rather special side effect of the shots (that would be the rashes and the itching and did I forget to mention the lumps?) will eventually subside. I got two shots today, and when they add the small fuzzy critters I will get three each time (although Richard was quick to point out that he gets four each time, since he is basically allergic to the world), but they're quite good at sliding in the needles without much more than just the teeniest of pinches, and I am telling myself that it's a good thing I don't mind needles or shots, and that in a few years this is all going to be worth it. By golly, it better be.

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