Achoo and bless you

I’m writing this from the waiting room of my local medical clinic. It’s time for my weekly allergy shots. Notice I said shots with two S’s. I get four of ‘em every visit.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, more than half (54.6 percent, to be exact) of all U.S. citizens test positive to one or more allergens. I, however, am a freak of nature and am notably allergic to more than a dozen things, hence the need for four needles piercing my epidermis every five or so days.

I get choked up on everything from grasses and trees to cats and cockroaches (gross, I know). Basically, all of God’s creation has the potential to make me sneeze, wheeze and produce buckets of mucus at the drop of an acorn.

I'm bringing sexy back with Kleenex.

I’ve had problems with allergies as long as I can remember. I recall getting scolded by my mom for leaving wadded up tissues in my pockets as early as elementary school.

My first stint with allergy shots started during college, since the older-than-the-Parthenon freshman dorm I lived in was apparently built with bricks plastered together with mold and mildew. Yeah, I’m allergic to those too.

When I moved to South Carolina to work for the NWTF, my allergies seemed to magically disappear. I popped a Claritin or Zyrtec from time to time, but it was nothing compared to the way the Alabama elements wrecked my sinus cavities.

Then I had a tangle with a swarm of fire ants while turkey hunting in 2003. Nearly 40 of those blasted critters had words with my torso, neck and face, and I was left with a rapidly closing windpipe and swollen Mick Jagger lips. Thankfully, I had a couple Benadryl in my vest and fell asleep with my forehead pressed against one the truck’s AC vents.

I swept the incident under the rug, along with the dust mites (yeah, I’m allergic to those too), vowing to have a couple little pink tablets on me at all times.

Fast forward to 2010. My husband, toddler son and I were cruising through a dried up food plot on a hunting lease. We were chugging along on a UTV when wheat and rye grass particles started flying. Motherly instinct kicked in, as I shielded little Cooper’s face from the flurry of flakes of supplemental food.

I, however, caught an eyeful, and within 10 minutes one side of my face became red, puffy and beyond itchy. I looked like a Picasso or Sloth from The Goonies. Not cute. This time the effects didn’t go away for several days.

That’s why I am back on the shots. And now instead of just Benadryl, I tote an Epipen everywhere I go. I don’t want nature to get in the way of me enjoying nature, if you know what I mean.

Just so you know, the irony of me being an outdoors magazine editor who’s allergic to the outdoors is not lost. Thankfully, I’ve been spared from reactions to ink, paper and Apple computers, so I’ve remained gainfully employed.

But it’s the chance to be outside — to hunt all over the country, attend NWTF outreach events, simply enjoy a spring day … the experiences that I share with you through this blog and Turkey Country — that makes my job awesome. I can’t imagine surrendering to the elements. My life wouldn’t be same without a hefty dose of outdoor time.

That’s why I don’t really mind hanging out in this waiting room. Every shot I get is a chance to stick it to those allergies and keep doing what I enjoy.