Can’t. Breathe.


It’s allergy season, at least, for me. My nose is stuffed up, my breathing labored.

I’m a slave to two little pills a day that bring modest relief, a welcome change from all the little symptoms that add up to one headache.

allergytest.jpgI didn’t grow up with this condition. The good doctor who treats me says allergies can come and go, they can stick around for a month, a year or a lifetime.

As far as chronic medical conditions go, I got off way easy.

So for the last few years, I’ve dutifully taken prescription meds to help with the breathing, the sneezing, the runny nose, the dry eyes, the headachy head. My drug went generic this year, and my health plan changed — both led to big change at the register.

The old refill cost $60. One dollar per pill. I never ever let a pill go to waste, whether it fell in some raw chicken or expired months before.

The new refill costs $5. That’s 8.33 cents per pill. I eat them like candy, feed them to the squirrels, flick them at punks.

Last week was the worst. Every season has its worst week, the one where I feel like I’m coming down with something, and my body moves like molasses in the dead of winter.

I tough it out, even if maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe the pills will help, or maybe a swift kick to the chest.

Either way, it passes.

When I drink, or when I simply stuff up, I become a self-conscious literal mouth breather. I feel stupid, but not as stupid, I guess, as if I passed out from insufficient oxygen through the nostrils.

Who likes to think about each breath? That’s the real irritation, having to keep up with something that should come naturally and comfortably.

The real culprit is out there, somewhere, everywhere. I don’t know who or what is suffocating me. I’m just gasping my way through the season.


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