T. S. Eliot called April the cruelest month, and every year when it comes around I’m inclined to agree.
What does April mean to me? The rebirth of life from winter’s cold death. And with their new lives, the Earth’s creatures bring with them spores. Dander. Pollen. Fungus. April is itchy eyes. A burning throat. Sneezing fits that last minutes at a time. I—hate—the spring. There is never a day when I can’t be on medication. Claritin, Mucinex, Flonase, Benadryl, Zirtec, Allegra. I never see the green, green fields because when I approach them my eyes flood with tears till I rub them raw or run away.
My allergies woke me up the other day, because my twenty-four hour medication ran out during the night. My nose was a mucusy mess. I could barely open my eyes. I sneezed somewhere in the area of fifteen times with no more than three to five seconds between sneezes. When I stumbled to my feet to get more medication, I nearly fell over because my equilibrium had been obliterated by the massive sinus pressure. I had no idea the body could produce so much phlegm.
“Allergies?” people ask. “A little sneezing never bothered anyone. Can’t you just get over them?” But they don’t understand. If I do nothing—if I merely live—my sinuses will become infected. Sinusitis can set in. Just from allergies I can get migraines, fevers, blurred vision, aching teeth. This is what spring is for me: an extended cold season. I never know when I might wake up with the roof of my mouth raw and pockmarked because I had been rubbing it with my tongue in my sleep. I never know when I’m sick in the spring or when it’s just my allergies. And so I engage in a never-ending, and often fruitless, battle for control of my body.
April is finally over, and I survived. Will May be any better? Probably not—I have no illusions. I won’t be able to relax until August, September, when the Northern Hemisphere begins to cool again. I don’t particularly like the cold, having to bundle up under as many as four layers. But if this is my only alternative then I will gladly don the heaviest coat, face the most biting winds.
During the spring, the world comes alive, and, on my worst days, I wish I were dead.