Married to the Empire

Monday, March 23, 2009

Vanity Versus Misery

Allergy-wise, this is the worst spring I can remember. When I saw the doctor a couple of weeks ago, she thought I had strep. I finished my antibiotic, but then the symptoms came back. I saw her again on Friday, and she determined that this is an allergy thing.

Allergies aren't new to me. I spent the entire time I lived in Norway sick. Did allergy testing and allergy shots in college. I've had a CT scan of my sinuses, as well as numerous x-rays.

But I've been okay for the past few years, and I attribute that to benadryl. I had chronic hives about 7 years ago. They lasted for months, and benadryl was the only thing that gave me any relief. (Well, that and oatmeal baths. And steroids, but those were reserved for desperate times, like when my whole face blew up to circus-freak proportions.) I took benadryl for so long that I built up a resistance to the sedative effect. I can take benadryl and function wide awake. It's good stuff.

I read a few weeks ago in The People's Pharmacy that the main ingredient in benadryl can cause blurred vision. Blurred vision is the reason I stopped being able to wear contact lenses. I put things together and realized that I became unable to wear contacts at the same time I started taking benadryl.


As an experiment, I stopped my benadryl and started taking Zyrtec, which was good in the past for my nasal allergies. My allergies suddenly got a lot worse. Then I got sick. Then I got sick again. But I'm finding that I can actually wear my contacts again.

Per my latest visit to the doctor, this is my new allergy reality:

Two allergy meds and a nasal-irrigation system, which feels like drowning. It is helping already, but it's a lot harder than just popping a benadryl.

So far, the vanity of not wearing glasses is winning, but we'll see how far my resolve can go. Too much of this allergy mess, and I may be back to full-time glasses and benadryl. I'm hoping that once all this springtime pollen clear out, things will improve. In the meantime, I'll be drowning and drugging myself daily for relief.


Joy of Frugal Living said...

I can so relate! I actually had sinus surgery (after all the drugs, CAT scan, shots, etc.) 12 years ago. It hurt a lot, but provided no lasting improvement in my condition.

I'm having extra trouble now because I seem to be one of those people who has a constantly stuffier nose when pregnant.

I have managed to avoid any sinus infections, despite this, mostly thanks to using a neti pot (same brand as the irrigation system you have). I can't speak for that particularly product, but at least with the neti pot it gets MUCH better with practice and is not irritating. It stops feeling like drowning as you relax and get used to it. I use it twice a day, plus extra if I am around allergens (like visiting someone with cats, for example). I am already taking more meds than I would like especially while pregnant, and this has let me avoid allergy medicine in all but the most extreme situations.

Anyway, just wanted to encourage you. I really think the irrigation thing helps marvelously, once you get use to it. It will get better!


AnneK said...

I have never had allergies in my life before, but developed them this year. The ladies at my Bible Study told me about the salt nasal spray. I am going to try that now. The headaches have been really bad :(

Amy W said...

You know, I was doing just fine until yesterday. I take Zyrtec year round - actually the Sam's Club generic version - but yesterday's wind must have stirred things up. I feel so much better now that the windows are closed up again. Bleh. Hope you feel better!!!

Sue said...

I'm glad to read from the above commenter that the drowning sensation abates with time...I really need to get the Sinus Rinse thing, but have been avoiding it because I despise that feeling.
I hope your new regimen is successful!

Anne Marie@Married to the Empire said...

Sue, now that I've flushed my sinuses a few more times since writing this post, I can attest that Jennifer is correct; it does get easier/better! It's not such a shocking feeling anymore. I don't think I'll ever like doing it, but it isn't quite so awful now.

disa said...
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