Feeling constantly run down from seasonal allergies is apparently the new normal with me. I have been trying hard to avoid going to see a doctor, but I am running out of options. Today, though, I got a sharp clue as to what I’m allergic to.
I was walking down the street to the farmer’s market, taking an unusual route. I passed a house fronted by just-mowed lawn. As soon as the aroma of the cut grass hit my nose, I thought, “That smells terrific!” Then in the next instant, my throat quickly constricted. I started gagging. I had a can of seltzer in my hand and drank some as I continued down the street, but nothing helped. I thought I was going to have to hit my knees and throw up to stop the gagging. But I kept walking, and once I got two blocks past the cut grass, I was back to normal. Well, “normal” — the incident left me feeling so weak and run down that when I finished my shopping and came home, I had to lie down on the couch, and here I’ve been since then. It’s like having the flu or something. I haven’t been back to tai chi class for two months, I guess, which is when the seasonal allergies first struck.
Today’s incident with the grass was the first indication I’ve had as to what specifically I’m allergic to in the environment. Mind you, I have never been allergic to cut grass. I used to mow lawns as a kid for extra money, and never had a problem in my life. I’m wondering if there’s a kind of grass particular to Philadelphia that causes problems for me, or if I have simply developed this allergy. I was in New York City earlier this week for a couple of days, and came back to Philly feeling energetic and great. It took about an hour of being back home before I felt physically deflated. Again. But this grass attack was something much worse. I fell like I’ve got sludge for muscles.
It is also possible that there was mold in that yard that got stirred up by the lawnmower. When I was younger, and mowed my grandfather’s yard, there was one perpetually shady side of his house that I hated mowing. It had a moldy smell, and I always sneezed a lot when I cut that section of yard.
As ever, your advice is appreciated.
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About Rod Dreher
Rod Dreher is director of publications at the John Templeton Foundation, a philanthropy that focuses on science, religion, economics and morality. A journalist with over 20 years of experience, Dreher has written for The Dallas Morning News, the New York Post, and other newspapers and journals. He is author of the book "Crunchy Cons." Archives of his previous Beliefnet blog, "Crunchy Con," can be found here. He and his family live in Philadelphia.