Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Don't Scratch!

Today I had some real fun. I got tested for allergies! I know lots of people have it done. I procrastinated though... like i need some testing to tell me I'm allergic to cats, dust mites, grass?

My doc has been trying to get me to the allergist for some time now. I kept putting it off. Allergy shots are a serious commitment of time & resources. Alas, i could put it off no longer. Headaches with no cure, for no reason, regardless of the season were enough to get me in the office today.

To my surprise, they didn't have tons of paperwork to fill out. Good start... if only i could get rid of that co-pay!

I got to sit in the exam room talking about all the meds i'm on, what the problem is, why i'm there... i purged & purged to both the nurse & the doc (who allowed me to sit in a CHAIR instead of the exam table - I hope you are listening Dr. Payne!). They were both great - very personable! (Good thing too, b/c i can't stand a doc who doesn't have any personality. I believe there is quite a bit of customer service involved in being a doc!)

I did a strange little breathing test requiring me to put clip on my nose while i blow deep breaths though this mouthpiece. You take a deep breath, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale - until you blow out all (best case scenario) the candles on the computer screen. Now the funny thing about this was the nurse - it was as though i was running a race.

GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! Just a little more! Almost there! Come on!

yes, she was definitely my cheerleader to get that last candle out. BUT i didn't manage to get that last candle. It eluded me... No worries though. Considering I have asthma, I got a great score. (Probably b/c there wasn't any studying involved!)

After that, I got to speak with the doc for a while about what they were going to do next, what kind of treatment I might be talking about after the scratch tests (how many was that, doc? 30?)... & then... it was time for...


That's right. It was a SHIRT - none of this gown stuff at that office. They scrimped on getting the whole ensemble & glued several paper towels together to make a shirt!

yeah yeah... it wasn't really paper towels, but let's just say i commented to the nurse that i was glad it wasn't going to rain in the office!

The nurse came in, marked up my back with a pen (graffiti? I'm still not convinced her "marks" are gone!) and proceeded to scratch until all the allergens had been dropped in their assigned locations.

She dropped the last scratcher-thingy in the waste bin & declares that she'll be back to check on me in 15mins.


I sat there writing in my notebook, counting the minutes, peeking at my back to see which of the MANY spots were itching. Unfortunately i couldn't decipher anything - the writing on my back wasn't as clear as labeled photos in an album.

The doc told me they stopped doing the allergy testing on arms b/c people would scratch them without thinking about it, causing the test to have to be redone. After sitting there for a few minutes, i think it's a good thing the tests were on my back. My arms would have been ripped to shreds getting those allergens to ease up.

& it was after 10 mins that the doctor peeks in, proclaims "WOW! YOU STILL HAVE 5 MINUTES LEFT & LOOK AT THOSE REACTIONS!"

He told me i was being 'stoic' about all the itching i was enduring, but it was for fear of having to redo the whole that made me keep my hands from going back there.

The doc went over the results of the tests, measuring the welts (they really were welts for some of them!) & telling me what i was allergic too. I think it might have been easier to tell me what i AM NOT allergic to! The list isn't too long, i guess. However, how you stay away from cats (when you have 2), dust mites (when you have millions), trees, ragweed and grass (when everyone has these)?

The answer to this, class, is... you don't. Not exactly. What you have to do is get allergy shots. So, I have decided to give in to that commitment of time & resources & do the one thing that both my docs seem to think is going to make a significant difference. i'm okay with the concept of the shots, but i don't know about the process taking 6 - 9 months before i see results.

How about some instant gratification? No one ever said i was a patience girl =)

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