Oy, what a week. I had to move out of my place in Culver City (that’s a story for another blog post). I hate moving. Packing really butts up against my obsessive-compulsive disorder. It takes me hours, it seems, to pack a box. First I must sort and then clean everything going into the box — even electrical cables get Windexed prior to boxing.
Needless to say my grumpy Korean partner became even more grumpy (and, by extension I suppose, more Korean) and threatened to pack those dirty cables if I didn’t pick up the pace. Of course I couldn’t have that. He won. I picked up the pace. At least I convinced him to label the boxes, another OCD-inspired affliction of mine.
So we finally finished, packed our possessions in a U-Haul and unloaded them in a friend’s garage in Silver Lake, where we will be staying temporarily. We finished rather late in the evening. Both exhausted, we headed for bed. Not our bed, of course, but Maria’s guest bed. It’s comfortable but a full-size. A tad too small for the two of us. We made do.
What I couldn’t hack, however, was the down pillow I found under my head. I asked Lee to switch pillows with me. His was a poly-filled, hypoallergenic number. I had to have it! I made the move for a pillow switch. Grumpily, he asked what I was doing (the maneuver must have awakened him, but this was a matter of life or sneezing!). I explained that I was allergic to feather pillows.
He was perplexed. Not only could he not understand how someone could be allergic to feathers, he couldn’t fathom how I even knew I was.
I explained that at an early age, perhaps four or five years old, my mother told me, in no uncertain terms, that I was allergic to everything. There was nothing on the face of the earth that would make me sneeze and features were just the tip of the Greenberg (iceberg).
Dust, mold, mildew, grass, pollen, dust mites, bees, you name it. They all contributed to my bouts with hay fever. And if the mere suggestion of being allergic to everything wasn’t enough, I was taken by my mother each week to the allergist for shots for all of these supposed allergens.
A scratch test, when an allergist literally scratches allergens on a patient’s arm and then waits for a reaction, is the typical method of discovering whether or not one has allergies. I did not have scratch tests, however. My doctor and I relied on my Jewish mother’s word. In those days a Jewish mother’s word trumped any test any doctor could perform.
From childhood on, my experience with allergies has been a constant and arduous process of elimination: To find out what doesn’t make me wheeze.
Sneeze graphic from: Allergy Help.