Thursday, May 24, 2012

Human Pin Cushion

I am allergic to everything that's airborne. When I say everything, I really am not exaggerating. Let's see, the partial list is: a variety of weeds, a variety of trees, grass, mold, cats, dogs, other dander, feathers, dust, blah blah blah.

I've only been me, so I've only known my own level of discomfort, and I don't know how this compares to anyone else's. For the most part, I get by with my allergies. I don't have pets. I try not to have a lot of plants around my house. I try to clean. But I live in Seattle, which has vegetation...everywhere. And it's damp. And our house backs to a freaking state park (which is great, by the way, for hiking and going to the beach).

I am miserable from April - July. The weeds, the flowers, the grass...they make me want to die. My head constantly throbs, and I'm perpetually coughing up all colors of the rainbow other than blue and purple. I'm supposed to take Flonase, but it makes me tired. I'm also supposed to take Zyrtec, which also makes me tired. Flonase + Zyrtec = coma followed by deliriousness. Then I add in Tylenol. And a sinus rinse for good measure. This results in a drug-induced mess where my main goal is just surviving the work day without being given a drug test. Then I go home and sleep, which I'm sure my husband appreciates as he's left to do everything.

A few years ago I went to a naturopath. Had the food allergy test done, and I basically can't eat anything. No gluten, no dairy, no soy, no garlic, no cranberries, no bananas, no eggs, no pineapple, blah blah blah. The naturopath also suggested I eat more protein, take 10,000 iu of Vitamin D a day, and take fish oil. I kept to the very restrictive diet for a few weeks as well as the vitamin regimen, and I did feel better physically. But I slipped back a little bit into my old ways because it's hard to live without cheese when you share a house with two cheese fiends. And garlic bread is so very tasty.  My body started to suffer a little - but less than it had previously - and I acclimated to a new normal that I sparingly ate the foods that irritated my system.

So maybe the naturopath wasn't a nutjob. (Not that I ever thought that, but some people do.)

Back to my airborne allergies. Since I had a good experience with the naturopath, I thought that perhaps an acupuncturist may help with the airborne allergies.

My first visit was on Saturday. Based on my health plan providers, the closest one was about 3 miles away from my house. I'm lazy; I picked that one. They were also open on Saturdays, which is a definite plus. The providers were named Jessica and Candy (about my age based on their names and likely not Asian - again, based on their names with very common last names).

I got Jessica. Although she was as white as white can be, she did have a nice way about her. I have a definite appreciation of the tendency for those of Asian descent to be more humble, quiet, and less "look at ME" than white folks. She carried herself that way, which I really liked. You could tell by her body that she probably worked out 12 hours a day and hasn't eaten even a bite of processed food since before Kurt Cobain died. She definitely lived what she preached as an acupuncturist/nutritionist.

But...I'm not sure how great she was at actual acupuncture. It was my first time, so I have no point of reference. In the event that you've never had acupuncture, I'll explain what happened. We talked for about 15 minutes about my allergies, it took about 5 minutes to put in the needles, and then I laid there for about 40 minutes. She put in about 14 needles. You have to lay there for about 40 minutes to "process" with the needles in you. One of the needles definitely hit a nerve, and my arm was tingling the whole time. One of the needles made me bleed. A few of the needles made me bruise. As pain goes, it was just pinches, except if it hit a nerve. My sinuses did seem to start to drain a bit, but maybe that was a placebo effect. Overall, it was okay, I guess I expected more from her in the way of actual one-on-one time. Based on the bleeding/bruising/nerve hitting, I'm not sure if her technique was the best but what do I know???

This week my sinuses do feel better. I did have the acupuncture done on Saturday. But the weather has also turned wetter, which gets rid of the wayward pollen in the air. So it's really hard to determine what the reason is for my sinus improvement. Is it the weather? Is it acupuncture? I wish I could go back and redo this week without doing the acupuncture so I could determine if I felt the same with just the weather changing. I want to be able to do controlled experiments on myself!

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