Sunday, September 12, 2021


Both my husband and I were diligently doing allergy shots on a weekly basis prior to the pandemic. My husband had been doing his for about 4 years and was really seeing the benefits. He, poor man, is allergic to absolutely everything! I am allergic to some grasses, molds and cats. When the pandemic hit we both stopped our allergy shots. Actually, we stopped pretty much everything. 

We were fully vaccinated by the end of April 2021 but as I was about to retire at the end of May with the resulting significant changes to our medical cover, we waited to restart our allergy treatment. We didn't expect it to be so difficult to navigate the Medicare requirements. It took almost a month to get the correct referrals in order to actually make an appointment to be retested before starting the shots. As we had downsized at that point to one vehicle, I decided that I would switch over to my husband's allergy clinic; to be honest I wasn't that impressed with the one I had been using anyway.

Finally we went in early on a Thursday morning. We already knew pretty much what our allergies were but they couldn't take our word for it obviously. 

We went through the allergy testing process. If you have never done it, it consists of multiple pinpricks under the skin, back and upper arms; each pinprick contains a specific allergen. Then wait. Then check the body's response to these invasions. If the pinprick becomes red and hot or angry looking, that indicates an allergic reaction. They have a sheet of A4 paper listing all the allergens they have exposed you to and whether or not you have displayed a reaction to these. Below is the result of my tests. My husband received a similar page with the exception that every item on the page displayed an allergic reaction.

this is my chart

While I felt sorry for him, I also felt somewhat smug that I got away so lightly. Ha! I should have waited.

Next we were ushered into the doctor's office. That was surreal. The doctor was a diminutive, elderly man seated in a wheelchair. His right arm was bandaged above the elbow, and below the elbow was severely bruised. Not the purple, green or yellow bruising you would expect from a fall or a blow; that deep blood colored bruise more commonly see in very old people. Senile purpura. The bruise covered his entire lower arm from elbow to the back of his hand. 

This is NOT a photo of the doctor's arm, I would not be so insensitive as to take photos!

An intravenous catheter dangled from his left upper arm. He looked like he should be in a hospital and I felt very guilty to be sitting in front of him complaining about some minor coughing and sneezing.

Some of my sympathy, and guilt, waned when he turned his attention to me asking me multiple questions, most of which appeared to be totally unrelated to an allergy to mold, grass and cats.

He wanted to know what drugs I was allergic to, how I slept, did I have nightmares, did I wake up tired, among many others I don't remember. Then he gave me a referral to any lab of my choice to have as many blood tests as he had asked questions. Seriously, when we went to a local lab later they took four vials of blood! He also gave me a prescription for two different nasal sprays and recommended I buy, and use, a Navage machine. No doubt you have seen the quite disgusting advertisements for this instrument of torture. 

We left with my prescriptions, lab referral and an appointment for me to return to see the doctor one month later to discuss the results of the blood tests. They would call us as soon as the concoction for our allergy shots was ready, we will then start going three times a week at first, in order to build up to a full strength shot, after that it will be just once a month.

We went first to the lab where I had the four vials of blood drawn, then to the pharmacy to get the Navage machine and my prescriptions. $200 later we went home. I carefully studied the instructions for the Navage until I was sure I knew what I had to do. Next morning, after my workout and shower I did the first treatment. I can't begin to tell you how gross it was! Naturally I didn't get it right first time, the warm salty water is supposed to be pumped in one nostril and out the other. It did that alright, but it also went down my throat and down the front of my shirt. I cleaned the machine as instructed and sprayed my nose twice each nostril with each of the two sprays.

I was not happy. I felt fine before I started. Now I was wet, I had a head ache, my ears were popping and the back of my nose was stinging. I guess I should be thankful that I didn't swallow enough of the salty water to throw up. The following morning I managed to use the machine without the associated leakage all over me and down my throat so that was better. Meanwhile, the three locations on my upper arm that had reacted to the mold pinpricks were continuing to display an angry allergic reaction, like three large hives they were itchy and painful.

Having spent a small fortune on all of this - the nasal sprays are a 90 day supply. I decided that I would follow the instructions and do this daily for one month, until my appointment to discuss the blood tests. I will decide then if I am going to continue or not. It will depend on 1. whether I feel any benefit at all and 2. the answers to all of the questions I have that I should have asked in the first place, before spending all that money!

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