Allergies leave nothing to sneeze about

By Grant McGee: Local columnist

The stuffy head, the clogged breathing, the sore throat … I have all these as I sit here writing.

The allergy has arrived. Or is it allergies? I don’t know. All I do know is I feel funky and I have finally joined the ranks of lots of other sneezing, coughing, watery-eyed folks around town.

Over the past couple of months I watched as the rains finally came to our High Plains. The landscape became greener and the weeds got taller. Then, one by one, comrades became bleary-eyed, slump-shouldered, zombies trying to make it through the day. I thought 2006 was going to be the year without allergies for me.

I think allergies are stupid. I mean, shouldn’t we be used to all the grasses and weeds and molds and pollens that swim in the air around us? Shouldn’t we? What’s that about?

The allergies may be kicking me now because of karma — you know, “What goes around comes around.” You see, back when I was a young, vibrant 20-something guy, I used to make fun of my pals with allergies.

Somewhere, someone had told me all illnesses were simply mind over matter. So if you had an allergy you could will your body to get over it. It sounded good but it never worked for me.

It wasn’t until I lived in Arizona that I came to understand that I had had allergies for years, I just thought they were head colds. I discovered this one Arizona spring when I kept getting what I thought was a cold that wouldn’t go away. I trudged off to the doctor’s office at the urging of friends.

The doctor told me I had allergies. He wrote a prescription for one of those newfangled high-powered antihistamines they advertise on TV that, once you take it, makes you feel like running through fields, flying a kite and singing a country song.

The drug helped, but the sniffles wouldn’t go completely away. Back in Arizona, I was in the habit of taking a lunchtime siesta out in the back yard of where I worked. I’d open up my camping cot and snooze under the shade of a broom-sage bush.
One afternoon while drifting off I watched wisps of pollen streaming off the bush with each passing breeze. Could I be allergic to this thing? I moved my cot indoors. Within a few days the bleary eyes and sneezing had stopped. I’d been napping under the thing that was causing my allergies.

The Lady of the House believes that with a good, strong immune system allergies can’t bother you; that if you have a worried mind you’re susceptible to them. She says I need to let worries go, eat well and practice yoga.

Maybe so, but I’ve never been able to master “The Lotus” position. The only yoga position I’ve perfected is “The Sponge.” That’s where you just lie on your back on the floor, eyes closed, palms up and absorb all the good vibes in the atmosphere. That’s my kind of yoga.

So the allergy is here. I’ll have to suck it up and get on with the day. I look over my shoulder and there stands The Lady of the House with an antihistamine tablet that will make me groggy, then there’ll be a long afternoon nap. That’ll get me out of my Sunday chores.

Hmm. Maybe there’s an up-side to allergies.

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: