Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hay Fever Happens Out Here

When I was a tyke, I was diagnosed with "hay fever".  One of my jobs was to cut the grass, so this malady presented a problem not just for me but for the dispenser of my weekly allowance - my dad.  At the time the standard diagnostic test was pinpricks with various suspected antigenic substances on your back (over a hundred of them as I recall, each one circled and labeled via ballpoint pen) which then did or did not cause a local reaction.  The reactions after a half-hour or so could then be ascertained and an antigen soup formulated in some far-off lab.  Weekly injections of an increasing dosage of same were then initiated, with the hope that the body would gradually develop antibodies to the offending substances.  In my case I reacted to so many that they couldn't tell which ones I hadn't reacted to, but apparently camel hair was the worst offender.  (Camel hair!  I had never seen a camel in my life except from a distance at the Calgary zoo.  Perhaps Mother had a camel hair sweater.)  Anyway, I guess it didn't work, because I still get hay fever (and I still cut the grass).  Antihistamines help, of course, but then I'm dozier (than usual) and I'm kind of an anti-pill guy anyway.  My biggest allergy has no antidote, however: people who ignore science.