Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Allergy Racket

Did I ever mention that I finally got tested for allergies? After 28 years of year-round suffering, the results weren't surprising or anything. They told me I'm allergic to nearly everything they tested for. The P.A. who spoke to me afterwards seemed to think she was telling me something new, like, "You're very allergic to everything." Laughable.

The reason I finally submitted to being tested was because I finally had insurance, and also because my ears have been popping all the time for over a year now. I think I've written about this before. Anyway, it's incredibly annoying and sometimes painful. Eustachian tube dysfunction, is what it's called. I asked the P.A. about it, "Would the allergy shots stop my ears from hurting," I asked. Then she pointed to an illustrated chart on the wall depicting the inner ear and Eustachian tube, "This is a Eustachian tube. They're a narrow opening between the inner ear and the throat."

By then I felt like slapping her. I don't have a lot of patience for stupidity, but that's the only thing I'm not patient with. Everything else, rush hour traffic, beggars/scam artists, celebrity gossip, I'm patient with (that's funny because it's not true!). Just because I'm not a P.A. or an M.D., doesn't mean I'm stupid. Right then I could have talked circles around her about Eustachian tubes and semicircular canals and the stapes and the malleus and the incus, because I HAVE STUDIED IT OUT.

I don't know, maybe there are some people who don't try to figure out what's going on with their body before they go to the doctor. As for me, I spend a lot of time typing search words like "fatigue+bruising" and "insomnia+heightened body temperature" into Google. If you type some of those search strings into Google, be prepared to confront search results such as AIDS or MS or any other incurable, deadly disease, including Leukemia. I suggest more specific terms and remember, remain calm.

But since I do a lot of researching like that, I rarely feel the need to go to the doctor to confirm anything. I think doctors are a racket. Especially prescription drugs. Never mind that I'm finally on an inhaler that has pretty much put an end to my constant allergies (except for the ear problem), what bothers me is that I HAVE to go to a doctor to get a prescription for a drug that I'm never going to NOT need. That's why it's a racket.

And I feel that this particular area is a racket: the allergy business. So I get tested and the P.A. introduces me to the Eustachian tubes, after all my years of wondering (of course) if the throat is connected to the ear. Then she tells me, "I wanted to meet with you, in particular, because you are SO allergic to EVERYTHING we tested you for. You had the highest possible response to everything: mold, dust mites, grasses." And then she tells me she wants me to start on the allergy shots right away, which should be no problem because they're fully covered by my insurance.

We fight for minute over my cats, because I am honest when she asks if I have cats and yes, they sleep in my bedroom if they want to. There's no settling the argument, because I'm not going to lie and say, "Yes, I'll get an air filter and stop letting my cats into the bedroom."

She clearly doesn't understand that the cats might as well be little humans in my esteem, and locking them out of a certain room would be tantamount to locking a child in a closet. Sure, the cat looks like a cat, but in my heart the cat's basically human. I think they call this anthropomorphism and I think it can go the other way too. My cats clearly don't delineate between me being a human and them being cats. We're the same. We're a clan.

Someday I'll learn to lie when it's appropriate. For now they call me Honest Abe. I have buckled and am doing the allergy shots. That simpering P.A. told me I won't start to see results for about four weeks. This week I asked the nurse when I'll see results. She said, "Hmm, you know, six months, maybe a year."

Do you smell a racket? The office is set up on certain days just for shots. Not knowing what the norm is for responses to the allergens—as far as I know, it's normal to get an 11 from Bermuda/bahia grass— the doctors could tell everyone that they score the highest possible rating for each allergen and they need to start the shots right away, and it should be no problem because it's fully covered by insurance.

The only reassurance I have is that I know my body. I AM allergic as hell to EVERYTHING.


Jodie K said...

You and Jefe need to get together and go bowling...and sneeze.

Aries327 said...

Jefe and I are old friends.

Jk. I read about his allergies. Poor guy. Thanks for the link!