Sunday, June 07, 2015

Common allergies bear no attention

Diseases like Cancer are far more worthy of public funding than allergies.
So I wake up in the morning with crusty eyes that are itchy, almost burning.  My nose is stuffy and runny at the same time.  My chest feels tight.  I feel as though I should scratch my eyeballs and pull my hair out (yes I still have a full head of hair).  But I don't.  I just grin and bear it.  I try to fall back asleep.  

But then I give in and get up.  I take a couple puffs of my inhaler, but the relief I get is minimal and only temporary.  I then walk to the kitchen and take two Claritins in desperation, knowing that one won't do any good, and two probably won't either.  I then take two Sudafed, a medicine that will give me some relief, maybe take the edge off maybe not.  

So I learn to grin and bear it.

I don't tell people I have it.  Yes, allergic/ asthma is terribly uncomfortable, but it's not deadly: it's not going to kill me.  In fact, just the opposite: Dr. Henry Osler, the father of modern medicine, once quipped: "Asthmatics pant into old age."  

You could add to that a person with allergies sniffles and sneezes to old age. It's not a fun way to live, although it, like I said, not deadly. It's not cancer. It's not cardiopulmonary arrest. It's not a broken spine. It's not influenza. It's not near drowning. It's not (name some deadly disease).  

All of those things got the attention and sympathy of the people with money to spend for most of history, and rightly so.  Asthma and allergies causes much suffering, but little else.  We, to repeat the cliche, are forced to grin and bear it.  

The sickness isn't enough to keep us from working.  However, it is enough to keep us from working in dusty factories, or riding on horses that ride on dusty pastures.  In a sense, I probably wouldn't be a respiratory therapist if I could do normal guy jobs, like digging holes, fixing wires inside old, musty homes, or cleaning basements.  

Unless you say something, no one will know there is anything wrong with you.  And, so long as you live a normal, humble life, you won't tell anyone your dilemma. They may observe the red eyes, or hear your sneeze, but at the worse they will assume you have a simple, harmless, common cold. 

So no progress is made. A hundred years from now, while other diseases are cured, people will still be sniffling, sneezing and wheezing.  

In other words, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and rightly so.  Perhaps after cancer is cured, then people with money can pay scientists to focus on curing asthma and allergies. Until then, we must grin and bear it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment