Friday, July 13, 2012

The mother of all allergies

I do not know why it never occurred to me to write about it. It’s unfair that I overlooked the undeniable role it has played in shaping my characteristic nature and the way people have sometimes looked at me. On the other hand, when was it ever too late to write about nasal allergy, eh?

Nasal allergy, wow, how is anybody ever going to be able to describe the feeling accurately? I’d like to approach it as a phenomena of blockage and leakage, alternating between nasal cavities in an uneven regularity, accompanied by severe itching of the nose, the nasal cavity, that is. An itch so intense in its ‘furry’, ‘pricky’ quality, it will draw tears from your eyes and cause you to produce window-pane shattering sneezes. Then, there is the dilemma of, 'do I blow it out or do I sniff it in'? followed by the annoying 'evasive sneeze'. I shall address all these in good time. If this were to be all, I’d call it a picnic but alas, allergens are unrelenting in their methods and creative in their manifestations;

Let’s take a look at blockage first. Every time I have had nasal allergy, that is, every morning of my life, one pattern has been constant. On waking up, one nose is blocked and the other, runny. Now if you are lying face up, turn to the side on which your nose is runny and you’ll see that the sludge from your blocked nostril will make a slow, lethargic shift to the runny side and the runny side will slowly fill up and wouldn’t be runny anymore. Yay? Not quite, cause now, your runny side is blocked and the other side is runny! What adds to the fun is that the blockage isn’t leak proof. If the nose block were a pea nut shoved up your nose, which in fact it does feel like ninety percent of the times, a ‘furry’ peanut at that, there will be liquid running down the side of it, seeping through, trying to peep out of your nostril, tickling and pricking its way out into the daylight. It looks ghastly, no doubt – a minute droplet peeing out of the nostril but it takes on a different level of grossness in mustached people, in whom, the rigid mass of moustache hair often cradles the fluvial mucus till the edge of the moustache from where it drops, dangling like an icicle temptingly over the lips. Mucus is the name of the runny, salty liquid your nose mass manufactures during such times.
More often than never the blockage turns steadfastly solid letting not a wisp of air though. You can’t even sniff the shit in and blowing wont help either. All you get out of the laborious blowing is a spray of good old mucus and no gold, what a waste of time. At such times, to go with the suffocating blockage, the runniness in the other nostril turns extra tickly, extra flow-ey, turning the tap full on which further prods the eyes to start watering. Ever compliant to the bidding of the nose, the eyes raise the waters. So, instead of turning from side to side in bed hoping that the goo inside would at last grow tired of passing from one nasal cavity to the other, make peace with yourself and take the day off, you cant do squat at work.

Now, the runny-ness. During nasal allergy, there is not one form of creeping or crawling the mucus in your nose wouldn't attempt. It usually doesn't act bothersome when you're standing or walking but when you're lying down, especially on your stomach, it gets to work. At first you ignore the feeling but in a few moments it starts to fade in, you can feel it creeping down slowly towards your nasal opening and if you're not careful you'll soon have a pendulous diamond dangling over your food, laptop or whatever it is you are pouring over. Runny-ness is the single most annoying aspect of nasal allergy. It makes the eyes water and the nose catch smells that don't exist.

The 'evasive sneeze' is a condition where a sneeze is manifestly about to begin, you crinkle your face and open your mouth and you're about to thrust, but then all of a sudden the sneeze disappears leaving you looking and feeling like a complete sod. As a child and now as a adult, I have often found myself at my wit's end as to how to deal with a situation where, you've opened your mouth to sneeze and people around you have braced themselves, your nostrils have flared, your neck, strained, your eyes, about to shut, hand holding handkerchief at the ready, head, ready to explode when the whole sensation disappears, your face relaxes and you sit back like nothing happened. 
The evasive sneeze is as common a feature to nasal allergy as weeping men are to Spanish television. It is an un-kept promise, an anti-climax, its how you would feel if you were about to achieve culmination and your mother suddenly walked in on you.

Nasal allergy and I have had a long standing association. My classmates were so used to the sight of me walking about with a handkerchief hanging from my mouth - oddly, it stopped my nose from running - it stopped being strange. Back in the day I would have an allergic condition three weeks in a month and my eyes were forever watery, nose forever leaking, tongue forever lolling, throat forever hoarse from sneezing loudly and pockets, forever stuffed with dripping handkerchiefs. 

What is the point of this? I frankly have little idea but it feels good. Cetrizine is a brilliant thing.