What's the Nose News, Neighbor?

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Some things to know about this past weekend.

1) I spent it in and around the San Francisco Bay area for the Paparazzi Game.

2) The trip brought us into wine country-- Sonoma and Napa Valley-- which was lovely.

3) Within the past five years I've developed hay fever, which is generally only triggered by doing my own yardwork. Since it incapacitates me for the rest of the day, regardless of how far from the yard I take myself, gardeners have moved from the "luxury" to the "necessity" column.

4) There's apparently a lot of yardwork going on in wine country.

Much of the Game for me transformed itself into a scavenger hunt with only one item on the list: tissues. My nose wouldn't stop running. If you've never had a runny nose, let me explain how, other than being an entirely opposite problem, it differs from congestion. When your nose is congested, you keep a box of tissues at hand and when you feel that it might be a good idea to keep an interrupted flow of oxygen to your brain, you grab one and blow to clear it. Over time and numerous repetitions of this process it might feel like your head is going to explode from the outward pressure and you need to clamp your hands against your skull to counteract the pain every time you blow your nose, you take solace in the knowledge that it's better than the alternative of asphyxiating in a pool of your own phlegm.

Where congestion is a direct frontal assault, a runny nose is a guerilla attack. Sometimes your nostrils fill with mucus and you sniffle to hold the flow in check. You may need to blow your nose for temporary relief. In this way it's similar to congestion, but that's only a ruse to disguise the true threat-- the sudden eruption of mucus from your nasal cavity. One moment you're feeling relatively fine, in a having-your-brain-replaced-by-cotton-is-better-than-hacking-up-a-lung kind of way, looking at a menu or, say, a puzzle. Then suddenly a rivulet cascades from your nostril. It happens without warning, and the world decelerates so you can appreciate every humiliating, disgusting moment in slow motion, powerless to stop it.

This was my weekend, oscillating between feeling passable and able to contribute, to measuring time in the interval required to extract a tissue from my pocket and clean up my face. I couldn't hold onto puzzles because I needed one hand free to react to the next sortie from the guerilla forces invading my nasal tract. I couldn't look down at a puzzle because that was just the lapse in security they needed to grab a foothold. My breathing was labored, my nostrils increasingly raw, my concentration shattered. It was miserable.

5) I am a superhuman god, genetically untouchable by chemical agents. This includes the active ingredients in Flonase, Allegra, and Claritin-- all of which I tried during the weekend to relieve the effects of my allergy, to no avail.

6 Comments

Now I wish I'd played on your team.

Allergy shots?

Nose plug. (added benefit, if the van crashes into a body of water, you won't get that painful sensation of water up your nose!)

Oh my god I understand. Although Claritin generally works for me at least somewhat.

I've had good luck with sinus irrigation systems like NeilMed Sinus rinse. It feels odd when you first start to squirt water in your nose, but it has really helped me with my allergies since I moved back to Texas.

Sinus rinse? Hmm, sounds briny.

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