Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Nose Knows

I hate my nose.

Not the way it looks, the way it works. It seems to me that at all moments, there is something or other going catastrophically wrong with that organ.

It began in my childhood, with me sleeping on one side, then the other, in order to ensure that I had at least one working nostril. Thus able to partially breathe, I would drift off into a fitful sleep peppered with villainous individuals attempting to smother me with varied objects.

My mother would try to help. She would give me hot, boiling bowls of water, have me l
ean over them, then drape a towel over my head in order to trap the steam and allow me to breathe it.

Bless her, this only made the problem worse. I was forced to gasp like a fish for air as my nose closed further and further off.

I would salvage pillows from all corners of my home, making a kind of ramp for my back and head which would keep me sleeping in a sitting position. For years, I would awake wondering why I could not find the air in my room, only to realize that Mom, in her infinite kindness, had thought I was uncomfortable and had removed the additional pillows.

Later, as time went by, I began treating my allergies with an array of noxious chemicals, none of which had any effect.

I did amateur duct work to prevent heat from entering my room, and had many arguments with Dad about the open window I left in my room in the dead of winter. I was allergic to the dust and mildew in the vents, and the heat kept my nose blocked off completely.

Then I made an excessively expensive purchase of a humidifier, which I used to fill my room with enough humidity to keep my throat from closing off when the heat went on, which would consequently prevent me from sleeping or kill me.

I tried more noxious chemicals. I threw out all my scented belongings, then my mom's, then my dad's. I selected the laundry soap, the dish soap, the candles, the shampoo.

After 22 years of struggling, I finally resorted to the only treatment that yeilded any results, regardless of the consequences. I became a chronic user of nasal spray. I admit I am addicted, but what can be wrong about finally being able to draw an unhindered breath?

All day I have been without this glorious compound, and I am in the worst pain imaginable. I feel like my head is in a vice. I know, that in exactly thirty minutes, I will speed to CVS to get my fix. I will tear open the cardboard, rip away the plastic safety seal, prime the pump, then give myself the sweet relief I long for. Then, breathing deeply, I will drive home.

We have vaccines for polio, smallpox, cures for the plague, treatments for cancer and malaria. Why then, does no one think to create some kind of working solution for people like me, with no relief from chronic allergies?

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