Sunday, March 12, 2006

Allergy skin tests suck

I had a skin test at the allergist's this morning.  I had one of these when I was a kid, and it remains one of my most unpleasant childhood memories.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with skin tests, let me explain the procedure.

You take off your shirt, and lie face down on the exam table.  Then, the tech takes an alcohol soaked cloth, that I could swear he must have gotten from the freezer, and uses it to clean your back.  (Maybe I didn't need to take a shower this morning after all).

Now you are ready for the fun.  As you lie there, the tech proceeds to poke you with 40 needles, each of which has been coated with a different allergen, ranging from foods, to trees, to animals, to insects.

Then you lie there while your body reacts to these things.  For 15 minutes.  And you're not allowed to scratch.  Absolute torture.

My wife, who happens to be ! working in the allergy clinic this week, told me this would be no big thing, and could not understand why I was so apprehensive.  Considering that I am generally asymptomatic, except for a rather serious cat alergy, she thought I was making a big deal over nothing.

Then she watched as I lay there with my back on fire.  I think she felt bad about her previous attitude.  Allergies to all sorts of things.  Cats, dogs, pecan trees, grass, mold, dust mites, rag weed. Huge red welts all over my back.  Even the allergist was impressed, considering my overall lack of symptoms.

Now I have to decide whether to undergo immunotherapy to try to take care of these things.  Do I want to get shots on a regular basis for the next 3-5 years, starting out with shots twice a week?  I hate needles.  This probably stems from when I got allergy shots as a kid.

As I said, except for a very sever cat allergy, I'm mostly asymptomatic. !  Or at least I am here.  We'll have to see how things are a fter I move.  Is it worth going through the shots just for a cat allergy?

My back is itching.  I think my anti-histimine is starting to wear off.

-- Ted Rathkopf