Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Or 'Don't suck snot!' as my little brother shouts at his children whenever they sniff. He's such a good father.

Yes, the hay fever season is upon us again (did it ever go away?) and I am once more spluttering, sniffing and hacking away, eyes itchy, nose constantly tingling, throat sore from sneezing. Even my ears ache.

What's more annoying is that this year, unlike most, I was ahead of the game. April's unseasonal heat wave reminded me of the impending arrival of the grass pollen, so I booked an appointment with the doctor to get my pills over a week ago.

It was, as always, a slightly surreal experience. Technically speaking, my doctor is Dr Williams, who is head of the health centre near here. In all the years I've been going there, I've never seen Dr Williams, though. I suspect he doesn't actually work any more, just swans around on a luxury yacht in the Mediterranean somewhere, drinking margaritas and having suntan oil rubbed into his bronzed skin by scantily clad female med-students. At the surgery we get an endless stream of locums, hired in from all parts of the globe. I've seen a different doctor each of the last six times I've been there, and none of them have had English as their first language.

Last week it was the turn of the Germans, and without wanting to be accused of racial stereotyping, I have to say that the nice lady doctor did rather live up to the image. Polite, efficient almost to the point of being brutal, and quite unable to understand the little conversational joke I made at the end of the consultation. Still, I mustn't grumble; she signed my prescription for two months supply of Neoclarityn, and as we don't need to pay for our medicine in Wales anymore, I left a few minutes later with the pills clutched firmly in my vice-like.

When I was younger, and more pretentious, I used to hate taking anti-histamines. The problem I suffered with my hay fever was centred around my nose and eyes, so dosing my whole body with drugs seemed overkill. I'm still quite pretentious, really, and hate most medicines for much the same reason - even if it is a load of ill-informed bunkum. But with the hay fever, as I have aged I have come to accept the necessity of compromising my ideals a little. Faced with the options of lying awake all night barely able to breath and awash with phlegm, or with popping a tiny pill once a day, the pill finally won. I have learned also that in order to gain maximum effect, the pill must be taken every day, even if the weather is against pollen formation. Forget for a couple of days and all that hard work is undone.

I have been religiously popping pills (they are small and blue, too, but not that shape) for over a week now. By rights I should be able to breathe like the best of them. Sneezing should be something I bless other people for doing. My nights should be restful, disturbed only by alarming nightmares of Mr Stuart doing unwholesome things with bolt-guns and pithing canes.* I should, in short, be fine.

So why am I sitting here with a damp handkerchief on the desk in easy reach, a ruck in my back from sneezing fits, a head full of weary cotton wool and an itchy soreness around my eyes and nose?

Bastard bastarding pollen. And bastard bastarding hayfever pills that don't work.

* you'll find out soon enough. And when you do you'll wish you hadn't asked.

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Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

You may as well give up on the little blue pills if they aren't helping.

(Aren't I a wealth of useful information?)

May 22, 2007 4:15 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

Ah, like a moth to the flame. You just couldn't resist the trap I laid out for you, Sandra;}#

May 22, 2007 7:24 pm  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

I'm nothing if not consistent!

May 22, 2007 8:06 pm  

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