Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sinuses and Cinnamon

I had really thought I was immune to falling prey to such things as the effects of an unreal amount of pollen that has been floating through the air for the past month or so. I have listened to the whining of my friends who are prone to the sinus clogging, head ache inducing, sneezing, watery eyes, misery from their allergies and have felt sympathy for them and have to admit having been a bit smug in not having had to share their experiences with such, until now. Now, I do feel their pain, and then some. My head is exploding as I write, a throbbing so badly that I think a nice drill bit between the eyes might be a good thing to ponder.

I can remember very few times when I have actually gotten a seasonal allergy. I woke yesterday with a stuffy nose and figured that was courtesy of having had lunch with our granddaughter the other day. She had been carrying around a case of the day care snots for some time now and so I figured that she had shared some of it with me. Bless her heart. She is generous that way, but by the evening that a simple stuffy nose began to feel like there was an elephant standing just under my left eye. This was no cold. I guess I had finally breathed enough of the pollen that my body gave up to its effect. So I headed to our medicine cabinet to find relief of some form.

Like I said, I do not get sick often and am not prone to allergies, except for flying stinging things. After getting the bandaid boxes out of the way, way back in the back of the cabinet I found the boxes of cold and sinus remedy stuff. The one I really wanted to use said that it had expired in 2000, so I kept looking until I found one that had only recently expired and took one. Then I woke this morning to the full brunt of a major sinus attack. My head reeled with pain when I lifted it, and still does despite the various drugs I have ingested in failure to combat the intense and incessant throbbing. 

My younger daughter took some pity on me and gave me an oil to put under my nose for clearing the breathing tubes. A while back she had dated a guy who was into Chinese and homeopathic medicine. He was certifiably nuts, but he did give her this oil that was supposed to cure what ails you, and she suggested that I try it, so I did. A very strong smell of eucalyptus, menthol, peppermints, and cinnamon hit my nose when I sniffed it. I was told to put a drop under my nose, which I did, and instantly I could feel the nasal passages responding to the scent. Then where I had put the drop on my skin began to tingle, and that made me remember another time when I had encountered cinnamon oil. 

I don’t remember what grade I was in at the time, maybe seventh or so. I had gone over to a friend’s house for the afternoon when school had let us out. Lyn’s  older brother was there and he also had a guest and the two were sitting in the den with a bag of marshmallows and a small bottle of something. They were taking the marshmallows and putting a drop of the liquid onto the little puffs of sugar and then popping them in their mouths. It looked like a fine plan to me and the smell was of cinnamon toast, my favorite, so I asked for one too.

I should have known better, one from the fact that this was an older brother, whether it was Lyn’s, or mine, is not the point. In the rules of engagement with older brothers a younger sister needs to always be looking out for possible pranks. Then secondly the exchange of smiles and glances between them was the next clue to something coming up.

Bill, I think the other guy’s name was, pulled a marshmallow out of the bag and poured a very generous helping of the oil onto it, and handed it to me. I put the thing in my mouth and instantly thought I might die then and there. I spit it out but the burning liquid had already done its damage. My entire mouth and my chin and lower face were on fire where ever the oil had touched. The unchewed marshmallow fell in my lap and stained my windbreaker. I remember looking at them and wondering how in the world they thought that was going to be hilarious. I was shocked at how mean spirited what they had done was. I ran to the sink for water to wash the stinging away but it did little to make it stop. The scent never left that coat, which I never wore again, and I could not stomach the smell of cinnamon for years after that. I left that house in serious searing pain, and in no small amount of confusion, feeling betrayed and stupid for having been the brunt of such a cruel joke.

Later I learned about toothpicks that were soaked in cinnamon oil that were either sold, or made, and one day one was presented to me. I nearly threw up at the smell, the scent memory still lingering. There was a hard candy ball available too, bright red “Red Hots”, that were very hot with the cinnamon oil taste and I never could figure out how people enjoyed them. It was many years later that I made up with cinnamon powder enough to use it cooking or to dust a piece of toast. The little drop under my nose today was enough of a memory jogger that I nearly panicked when I realized what it was, but I have to say that my nose is semi-functional at this point, just wish I could say the same about the head ache.   

The swirling winds outside keep the never ending supply to this year’s pollen moving through the air. The yellow stuff has seeped into the house, has filled the barn, has hidden the color of my truck, and has covered any and every surface, including but not limited to the lining of my nose. My old mare Limerick came up to the gate at feeding time the other day with her nostrils absolutely encrusted with solid yellow rings around them. She seemed grateful that I wiped the mess off. The pollen that has landed on the ponds’ surfaces has made sickly yellow green patterns as it has pushed around by the wind and water, but  at least, it, won’t make it to a vulnerable nose anymore.

The forecast, thankfully, is for rain soon and the stuff will be washed away for a day or two and hopefully too, that soon the trees will stop filling the air and my nose, and be done. This allergy stuff is surprisingly not fun to deal with. I had forgotten. My sympathy for those who regularly go through this, is much higher and is empathized with now, and any of my previous smugness, gone. Seeing how as I am vulnerable after all, I guess  it is time to restock the medicine cabinet and buy some kleenex, or get a bigger towel. AAAAAAchoo.

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