Another Oregon Willamette Valley hay fever season has passed. And I have finally emerged from my HEPA air-filtered bunker in a low crouch and squinted up into the sunlight. Over the past three months, as I sat in the air-conditioned darkness, I developed several thoughts I’d like to share.
Here are the facts. Ninety-nine percent of the world’s grass seed is grown in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The valley’s winds typically blow from north to south. The communist city I call home is Eugene, or more formally, “The People’s Republic of Eugene.” Eugene sits at the very southern tip of the Willamette Valley. The average pollen count that irritates most people (“Very high”) is 200+. The pollen count in Eugene can AND DOES exceed 500+. Using these numbers, we can utilize a well-accepted mathematical equation to find the numerical “misery index.” Thus, X = 200 divided by Y = 500, and the result is of this equation is: That I am an idiot. I honestly can’t believe I live here.
On the bright side, the pollen season only lasts three months. And they’re not the fun-filled soggy fall months or the keister-puckering winter months. I am free to venture outside anytime during these periods. It’s only when the sun has the temerity to show its face and the temperature breaches 70 degrees that I have to run for my life.
Setting aside my personal trauma for a moment, I must note that hay fever has gotten a raw deal on the public relations front. Wall-to-wall negative press. The media never mentions hay fever’s positive attributes – The pleasure of an afternoon nap brought on by the dopey side effect of an antihistamine. Or, the PERFECT excuse for not mowing the lawn.
Luckily for me I know a physician who specializes in allergies – an “Allergist.” For the purposes of this column I will refer to him as “Jason,” because his name is Jason Friesen. That’s Dr. Jason Friesen M.D. to commoners like you.
Last year during a conversation (if you call my whining to him about my hay fever and him suffering through my rant a “conversation”), I mentioned the two medications I was going to take the next year to battle my affliction. Jason mentioned that I should start taking one of them early, because it took awhile for it to build up in the system. Of course, I was GLUED to his advice. This was gold. Nectar from the sky. AND with no evil CO-PAY.
Nine months later I’ve raided the Costco pharmacy, and I am fully stocked: A bottle of Claritin the size of an oil drum and half a dozen bottles of Flonase nasal spray.
A full thirty days before pollen season, I started taking a Claritin pill every morning with my multivitamin. I wasn’t just religious about it, I was Mother Theresa religious about it.
The next time I saw Jason, pollen season was about to hit. I told him that I followed his advice, and I was WAY ahead of the game. I’d been taking Claritin every day for a month. This is when Jason told me that I was an idiot. (But he didn’t say it like that. He said it in the nice doctor way.) He told me that he said to start the Flonase ahead of time. The Claritin acts immediately.
So what I’m trying to say is that I’m really, REALLY, ready for pollen season next year. I’ll consider this last season, in football parlance, a “rebuilding year.”
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