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"Sewing Circles of Herat"
by Christina Lamb

July 11, 2008

Hay Fever

Early in the morning I wake and begin sneezing. I sneak out of bed to avoid waking Mmmm. I am told it is probably an allergic reaction to some pollen or something. One of the wonderful things about Southern California is that there always seems to be something in bloom. The gentle, early morning breezes bring it right into the bedroom.

All summer long Mom had ďHay Fever.Ē Now it is called ďallergic rhinitis.Ē Poor Mom really suffered. She would have an apron pocket full of clean rags and would blow and sneeze, never letting it stop her work. We didnít have the anti-histamines or the eye drops or other medications that people have nowadays - she just sneezed and suffered. I am not sure that they even had the tests that people have now to discover just what it is that causes the reaction.

Mmmmís dad, Famps, had to wear a mask when he mowed the lawn. Sister-in-law, Muriel, couldnít have any perfumes or scents or flowers or anything like that around her, so I am not unique. I also canít have perfumes in cosmetics or household cleaners or anything else. Once when I was giving a lecture in Honolulu, someone put a lovely lei around my neck. A short time later I began coughing uncontrollably. A friend came and stripped off the lei and I was able to continue the lecture. Another time I was in Texas when the oak trees were blooming and I had quite a reaction to them.

I havenít had the tests to see exactly what I am allergic to, probably because I am not sure that I really want to know. If the tests pinpoint cat dander or house dust, IĎm in big trouble because I donít know that I will ever be rid of either of those allergens. The cat will stay and Iím really not into compulsive cleaning, so I think I will curl up with the cat, a good book and a box of tissues - Achoo!

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