Friday, August 26, 2011

At Least a Year and a Half, Maybe Five

My ongoing breathing problems may have found a solution this week. Not a quick solution, but maybe a real one for a change. The Laryngopharyngeal Reflux turned out to be a bust. The acid blockers and the elevating the head of the bed did just as much nothing for me as asthma inhalers. Aerie is glad that we're back to a level bed with no more toe-bashing going on.

So the next step was allergy testing, which I did on Wednesday. Thumper came with me. Once he was thoroughly reassured that he would not, in fact, be getting a shot himself, he was cool. He watched Monster House on the portable DVD player while I sat still and itched. I got 38 allergens scratch-tested on my forearms, 2 "control" injections on my left shoulder, and 38 allergen injections on my right upper arm. When the tech lined up all the bottles and needles on the counter in preparation for my injections, Thumper said, "Wow! I think that's 52,000 shots!" I thought he'd be more impressed with my machismo in getting 40 injections without crying, but he was more interested in watching Bones get lured into the house by his long lost childhood kite, then eaten.

The end result of all those sharp pointy things with goopy allergens dripping menacingly off their tips was that I am allergic to 14 different grasses, trees, and molds that span the entire seasonal cycle, which is why my symptoms are more or less constant. Cedar and one of the molds were the big winners. I'm glad that "cat" didn't swell up at all. If it had been a cat allergy, I'm not sure what the solution would be. Hold off on breathing freely until our two current kitties passed on, I guess, which might be awhile since the most recent addition is only two years old. Anyway, bygones, as Fish used to say, and it's entirely Aerie's fault that I know that.

The course of treatment, since I've worked through every over-the-counter allergy medication available to no avail, is allergy shots. Weekly allergy shots. For possibly three to five years. They tell me, though, that if I haven't seen any improvement after a year and a half, I can pretty much stop because it isn't going to work. Apparently they mix up a cocktail of all 14 of my allergens in small doses, and inject it into me in gradually increasing doses over a long period of time in order to desensitize me and reduce the severity of my body's reaction to those allergens. They usually max out a shot at 12 allergens, but since I'm barely above that, they're going to give 14 a shot, so to speak. I had to get an EpiPen, in case I react badly to the injection. When I picked it up from the pharmacy, I asked the pharmacist how to use it, and she said, "Uh, there's a trainer in there. You pretty much just stab it into your leg." I hope the instructions included are a little more specific.

Since this is all based on the Central Texas panel of common allergens, I guess I'll never be able to move again. That's OK with me, though, because Austin is the coolest. Excepting, of course, the 108 degree weather in which I'll be working outdoors tomorrow. That's not the coolest. But, you know, cost-benefit.


Purelight said...

I can't tell you how much your mama hopes this regimen gives you relief. Nearly forty years is too long for anyone to go without adequate oxygen! These tests were never offered while you were growing up, but I'm still feeling a little "parent guilt" here, thinking we should have done more back then. Good luck, and I hope you see results sooner rather than later.

I, Rodius said...

No parental guilt required. Lord knows I've done more than my share to make things worse over the years. I've tried and tried to get doctors to tell me something other than "asthma," so I can surely not fault you for failing to find the magic bullet 30 years ago.

anne said...

apropos of nothing, but check out your latest weight!!! nice going sir - I am very proud of you and all the work you did to get to this point.

hopefully you and your family are not affected by the wildfires near Austin??

I, Rodius said...

Thank you very much! No, we're not affected, and hopefully conditions will start getting better soon. I'm grateful for what the emergency responders have done and can't imagine what the families whose homes have been destroyed are going through.

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