Spring is here.
I’m sorry. I really want to like this time of the year, and I do love that everything is in bloom. It’s a time of renewal and of wardrobe changes. It’s a chance for Mother Nature to shine and to show that she wasn’t that affected by the harsh conditions of winter.
And it’s a time when people like me — folks who suffer with seasonal allergies — cry into their (hypoallergenic) pillows and pray for relief.
I walked outside a few days ago and found my car, which is normally a light silver color, sporting a new dull yellow tint. Later that day, my porch — and the front of my white house —was a similar shade.
There’s no use in getting a car wash or in spraying off the house; the miscreant — pollen, the powder produced as plants, trees and grasses wake up for the season and seek to fertilize everything in sight, even inanimate objects — refuses to be defeated. It’ll come back with a vengeance.
The only thing that can really temporarily defeat pollen is a heavy rain, and we have been blessed to have a couple of those recently. After the rain clears, the slain pollen can be found pooled in puddles on the street. Never fear, though; it’ll be back.
I’ve always suffered from bad allergies, and my eyes take the heaviest hit. My eyes usually feel gritty and irritated, and my eyelids feel like they weigh a billion pounds. I’ve learned to live with it, mostly, although I have recently been prescribed a new kind of eye drops that make a big difference. That’s another victory for modern medicine.
A few years back, my swollen eyes led me to an allergy specialist. After being stuck with what seemed like a thousand small needles, the very helpful nurse explained that I was allergic to, well, everything. Everything growing in south Mississippi showed up as an allergen. My cats — Henry and Edgar — were also named as perpetrators.
I couldn’t very well avoid the outdoors entirely, and I wasn’t willing to relocate my furry children, so I decided to try the recommended course of allergy shots. The first set of shots caused a terrible reaction, and I didn’t go back for round two. I’m a wimp for that kind of stuff, I guess.
Now, between the daily antihistamine pill, corticosteroid spray and aforementioned eye drops, I’m doing pretty well, but I still shudder when I see that first dusting of pollen. I’ll reiterate my earlier sentiment: Ugh.
Anyway, I’m determined to be a trooper and make the most out of the season. I’ll just be doing it indoors with cucumbers over my puffy eyes and my air purifier blasting.
I certainly have enough housework to keep me busy. We’re starting a renovation of our 105-year-old house located in the historic downtown district, and that’s bound to be an exciting — but exhausting — project. To get to a point where the contractors can start, though, means I need to declutter, which could take months.
Forget spring cleaning; I need to be spring “tossing stuff out.” You may not see me emerge from that process until after pollen season is long gone.
If I go silent for a few days, assume I’ve been swallowed whole by a pile of junk and am in need of a rescue team.
I’ve talked to a few local doctors about the pollen issue, and they expect this spring blast of gross yellow stuff to last until around the end of April. I’m looking forward to that time and not only because it’ll bring me some allergy relief; I’m also hoping for huge amounts of progress in our COVID-19 vaccination numbers.
By the time I emerge from my seasonal self-isolation, I’ll be fully vaccinated. Do the right thing; join me. Make an appointment for the first shot — or only shot if you get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine —and help your fellow citizens turn the tide against the dreaded virus.
It’s a group effort, and I keep thinking this: If we can survive the yearly onslaught of pollen and all of its related effects, we can certainly endure the painless and simple vaccination process.
We’re a resilient bunch, us Mississippians, even if we’re covered with pollen.
Joshua Wilson is the editor at Hattiesburg Publishing, which produces The Pine Belt News and Signature Magazine.