A Puffy Full Moon


I hate taking antihistamines. I’ve tried them all, believe me, but I never developed a love for any of them. I have to drink them regularly because I have to; they are a necessary evil and I can literally say I cannot live without them. I’m one of the unlucky beings who were born with a defective immune system. It’s too bad I cannot return it to the manufacturer and have it exchanged for a better model.

Over a decade ago I was forced to take a skin allergy test to determine the cause of my chronic sinusitis, bronchitis, and asthma. After much prodding from a battery of doctors, I finally agreed to take it only because I was tired of going in and out of the hospital and I had already gone through one painful operation to fix my nose’s deviated septum and empty my sinuses.

The test itself was harmless; the result, however, was surprising. I was allergic to practically everything on the planet—from mosquito bites, cockroaches, and dust mites to rice, eggs, and coffee. The inside of my left forearm (where they administered concentrated drops of possible airborne allergens) had ballooned into one giant welt. It was both fascinating and alarming to see it happened. They warned me that this test would produce mosquito-like bites all over the area, but I didn’t expect the spots to do a Voltes V on me, bolt in, and turn into a gigantic angry monster. My right arm was also red, but at least the spots stayed apart. At the end of the session I was given a list of my allergies on a piece of paper, with a grade of the potency of the allergen written beside each one. I was instructed to try to avoid being exposed to them and was tossed out of the clinic with a prescription for nasal sprays and antihistamine pills, and a note for my EENT and Pulmonary doctor. I swear they make a great tag team.

It was quite impossible for me to follow my doctor’s orders (I would have died of hunger), but I did try my best. It was just bizarre that I was allergic to so many things. Rice? How in heaven’s name could anyone have an allergy to something so innocuous as rice? Okay, okay… It’s not that far-fetched. It runs in our family, actually. My sis has allergic rhinitis and she got the same “grade” as I did for rice, my bro suffers from bouts of sneezing and watery eyes (he was smart enough not to take the test, but I bet he is allergic to the white stuff too), and the same goes with my dad who has a constant hacking cough. My mom is the only one who has been spared of these troubles. Ahhh… I should have gotten that part of her genes.

In the end I decided to handle this thing my way. I take my meds when I really need to, I avoid the things on the list when I know my immune system is not at its peak, and I let myself eat small doses of each forbidden food so my body gets used to them. No one and nothing can keep me away from my cup of steaming hot java! I steer clear of peaches, though; my throat closes after a tiny bite. Man has survived million of years of evolution despite being chased by wild animals and ravaged by plagues, so I think I could live through my life like any other normal person despite this bothersome thing. It’s uncomfortable to be in my shoes, yes, but I am okay. I am prone to pesky colds, but I am fine. I have not only learned to live with it, but also developed immunity to some of the allergens. I don’t go bingeing or making allergen cocktails; everything in moderation is usually good.

I write about this thing because right at this moment I have what looks like the map of the Philippines on my back. Yes, all 7,000++ islands during low tide spread out all over from the base of my neck down to my hips. Not a pretty sight, and not a good day to be wearing this skin. I am cursing and loving Zyrtec at this moment (my choice of poison this evening) because it keeps the itchies at bay but it makes my head dull. I have a deadline to meet and, I am afraid, not lucid enough to progress. Maybe tomorrow I will be peppier.

So on this November full moon night, I offer thanks to the makers of Cetirizine and its sister antihistamines—may they continue to develop effective anti-allergy drugs, but I hope they invent a strong, non-drowsy, economical, once-in-a-lifetime pill soon. Hahaha. That’s wishful thinking at its best.

I would also like to plead to the moon and ask her help in tying up loose ends on all my projects pending completion. I’ve got the odds stacked against me and obstacles are constantly thrown my way—this little allergy attack is just one of them—so I could do with a little bit of magic in my life now. At this stage, I need all the help I can get!


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