I used to get sick every fall, around October or November. I mean, like, “call out sick from work” sick, which was very unusual for me. And then as the years went on, I determined to tough it out and grow stronger, dealing with the congestion in my head and my chest with natural methods instead of prescription medications. I also fought against my asthma symptoms that invariably followed the chest congestion with sheer force of will (a la Teddy Roosevelt) and a concerted effort to improve my breathing technique.
And so I eventually weaned myself off of my asthma inhalers and dealt with my various congestions with over-the-counter treatments and natural remedies rather than going to the doctor to get yet another prescription.
But MAN, does allergy season still suck.
Sunday was one of my worst days in a while. I’m guessing that some of it had to do with the fact that Saturday was the single busiest day I have EVER experienced since joining my library system over fifteen years ago. Since it was a Saturday, we were on skeleton staff, which meant that I was the only librarian in the building. That started out as my primary concern, but after spending most of my day drowning in an endless tide of patrons battering against our shores it didn’t seem like my MLS degree mattered anymore. What mattered was whether or not I could think straight, stand upright, remember how to process library card applications, stop the teetering piles of returns on the desk next to me from falling over, and help as many patrons as possible as quickly as possible.
Let me tell you how busy I was.
A teacher I’ve worked with before came in looking for several books, which she had very helpfully printed out from the catalog, and wanted to see if we had those books or others on the same subject. She also wanted to reserve the ones we didn’t have. After I worked with her for a few minutes, she grew uncomfortable when she saw how many other people were waiting on line behind her. She said that she didn’t want to take up any more of my time because she knew how busy I was. I said that I could try to finish looking up the books on her list later on during a slow moment, and I took down her library card number so I could finish placing the holds. You see where this is going, right, Dear Readers? That’s right — there WAS no slow moment, EVER. I ended up taking the list home, and then bringing it back to work with me today and placing the holds for her this morning. The process took a little over five minutes.
Let me tell you how busy I was.
Part way during one of my shifts at the desk, one of my bra straps fell down over my shoulder. Normally this is an inconvenience which is easily remedied; I just need a few seconds out of the public eye to reach into the neckline of my shirt, find the strap, and pull it back into place. Except that whole bit about being out of the public eye for a few seconds was not happening. So I just left it there, and it became progressively more annoying as the minutes passed. And then … the OTHER strap fell off of my OTHER shoulder. I tell you, Dear Readers, I sat there working at the desk with both of my shoulders confined, irritated at my secret shame, for OVER AN HOUR.
That’s how busy I was.
Anyway, Sunday morning I felt like a train had hit me, so I’ll assume that my whole immune system was just as weak as I felt. And then Sunday afternoon I started sneezing, and sneezing, and sneezing. I spent hours sneezing and blowing my nose and sneezing again. I took some over-the-counter allergy stuff (Zicam allergy swabs and a 24-hour Claritin) and some sinus headache pills. Then I went through some crappy reactions to the allergy stuff — it was pulling water out of my body but not necessarily out of my head. By the end of the day my voice was so bad that it sounded like I’d tried to unclog my head with a plunger and accidentally swallowed it in the process. I was sneezy and snuffly and lightheaded.
And I also needed to start working on recording my next podcast episode. URGH.
Well, now it’s 24 hours later. Today was bad at work, but not quite AS bad. I occasionally had time off the desk to catch up on stuff I needed to do, including catching up on stuff that I never finished doing on Saturday. Tonight I finished writing the podcast episode (tune in for a gratuitous shoutout to one of my favorite beverages!), but I haven’t actually recorded it yet. I’m going to wait until the last possible minute before doing it so that I will be less likely to be immortalized sounding like the Elephant Man. Which, as you might imagine, would totally suck.
So, here’s the question: what am I allergic to? Is it mold, or pollen, or grass, or trees? Or do I throw all of those theories out the window and say that I’m allergic to my patrons?