A few weeks ago I decided that since I was eventually going to have to go off of my antihistamines anyway, and we’re currently living in a place with very little in the way of plant life that I could be allergic to, I might as well go ahead and quit now. It also seemed a little silly in a place where the only thing that really seems to flourish is dust to be paying money to ship bottles of antihistamines every month. What I failed to factor in is that maybe my body, which has had those magic pills coursing through its bloodstream for the majority of my 27 years, would not be quite sure what to do without them. The last time I didn’t take antihistamines on a daily basis was in ’99 when I lived in Israel for six months (mostly because I forgot to bring enough with me), but right about April when the entire Mount of Olives burst into bloom, I remembered that I was horribly allergic to olive trees and suffered accordingly until my then boyfriend (now husband) sent me the contents of the entire allergy aisle at CVS and I could once again control my body’s overreaction through drugs.

So the first two weeks of druglessness (okay, I still haven’t given up my Flonase yet, but one step at a time, people!) went pretty well, but as I was getting ready for bed last night I noticed that bending over to wash my face caused an uncomfortable rise in pressure in my general sinus region. I took a Sudafed this morning to hopefully stave off what I suspect is the beginnings of a sinus infection, but will have to see how well that works. I’m hoping maybe it’s just that I slept longer last night than I normally do or maybe the altitude is getting to me, but we’ll have to see.

My question is this — is there some way to train my body not to freak out just because I’m not taking pills to control its level of histamine production and will eventually have to cut out the Flonase as well? I know some antecdotal stories about eating local honey every day (not an option here, as we can’t buy most local produce and I’m not even sure that bees survive well this high up in the air…I know mosquitoes don’t) and using saline nasal spray, but is that really the best I can do? I’d like to believe that my system will eventually just calm down and learn to deal, but don’t want to spend the next however-many years that I need to not have those drugs in my system going from one sinus infection to another, either. And I’m guessing that this is about as good as it’s going to get when it comes to lack of allergens…I shudder to think what’s going to happen when I return to the pollen soup that is DC in the summer next year without my trusty little white Zyrtecs to defend me.

It’s also funny how accustomed one can get to relying on something like that. My husband has never consistently taken any medication for long periods of time, and he still thinks it’s somewhat strange that I can’t travel without my little pharmacy. I guess it is strange when you think about it, and on general principle I don’t like the idea of having to take medication every day. Some of them I just have to accept for the time being due to our current living situation, but that doesn’t mean that I like it. Don’t worry, I’m not going to turn Tom Cruise and start railing against all medication, but it is sort of a weird idea that I rely on these little compounds to make my body work normally.

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