Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: sensitivities

The best gift is none

At this time of year, gifts become the focus of society. Oh, sure, Christmas cheer and blah, blah, blah (can ‘you tell that I could not care less?), but the gifts, though. This is yet another time when I’m firmly on the outside of  society. It’s a good thing I don’t work in an office (for many reasons), but this is something that makes me rage every year.

It’s obvious people don’t give a shit about inclusion, no matter how mealy-mouthed they get in expressing DEI is the aim. Over at Ask a Manager, there’s a question about vendor appreciation and what gifts to give in the year of our pandemic (and maybe people not being in the office). Assuming you can’t just give money, most people defaulted to food. Which, and I cannot stress this enough, is a terrible idea if you want to make people feel appreciated. There’s someone in the thread suggesting a hand soap. They even say it’s not good for someone with scent sensitivities, but oh well!!!! Who cares about that, right? They can just regift it so it won’t go to waste!

Here’s the thing about scent sensitivities. I CAN SMELL THAT SHIT THROUGH THE PLASTIC WRAP. So just having the item in my house is bad for me. I found this out when my brother bought scented soap when my parents were here and commented on how great it smelled. I didn’t use it, obviously, but I could still smell it and reacted to it without ever touching it.

So, yeah. If you want to say that you don’t give a shit about someone , yes, give them something that will stink up their house and give them a mild (or not so mild) negative reaction until they get used to it. Honestly, if it were just me, I would toss it–so it would be wasted, anyway.

I am allergic to so many foods and alcohol. I cannot eat chocolate unless it’s specially made, so anything chocolate is out. So is cheese, crackers, bread, and anything with dairy and/or gluten. Cakes, cookies, cupcakes, anything typically festive, OUT. And I don’t see people often enough to spread it around.

I’ve told this story before, but an ex-boss of mine (a terrible boss in many ways, by the way) wen I worked at the county gave me a poinsettia for Christmas as was the custom (for admin assistants at Christmas). I picked it up and my throat instantly closed. I put it as far away from me as possible, but it took some time for the pollen to completely leave my system. I asked my boss not to give me one the next year, but she said she had to because it was tradition.

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You have the right to….breathe

Today at Ask A Manager, there is a question about a scented product. As someone who is allergic to almost everything under the sun, it was of keen interest to me. At Ask A Manager, she asks that we take the letter writer at their word. That doesn’t mean we can’t question the LW about their perception, but we are to accept that what they write is true to them. I think this is fair. What I’ve noticed, though, is that a good writer can slant things completely in their direction (whether they mean to or not).

In this case, notice the description of Jane and how the LW leans on the fact that she thinks Jane is having a tantrum (basically). I’ll get to that in a minute, but first, more about me.

I am allergic to everything under the sun. I was recently lamenting on Twitter as to how all I want are unscented (but I mean fragrance-free) products. They are so fucking hard to find and, no, ‘spring rain’ is not an acceptable substitute. One of the worst reactions I’ve ever had was to a Febreze scent called Spring Rain or something like that. I was trying to mask the smell of cat piss, and I figured that would be the closest to nature that I could get. I sprayed it and I could not breathe. I ran from the hallway and opened up all the windows in the house. I was gagging for the next hour.

Another example was that my brother recently got into essential oils. He carries bottles of them with him and sniffs them to calm himself down. He thrust a bottle at me once and told me to smell it. Like an idiot, I did. I said like an idiot because I knew it was going to be something that
I would be allergic to.

When I was a kid, I got allergy shots every week. I didn’t know why; I just knew they made me miserable. I’d get the shot, sit for half an hour while my arm swelled up like a balloon, and then was allowed to leave. This happened every week until suddenly, it stopped.

It wasn’t until much later than I realized (when I was able to Google it) that they were injecting me with whatever I was allergic to in order to try to desensitize me. They probably stopped when it didn’t work. It never got smaller. My arm just stayed swollen for the whole half hour before we left. Any time I got the dreaded allergen test, it was thirty or so dots on my thigh. All of them would swell until it was one huge swollen bubble. I cannot tell you how awful that made me feel and how much I dreaded it.

Back to my brother’s bottle of poison, er essential oil. I unthinkingly smelled it. My head snapped back, and I’m sure I grimaced as I thrust the bottle back at my brother. It was lavender, which was something I was most decidedly allergic to. Had I known it was lavender, I would not have smelled it at all. I don’t care how natural it is, it’s terrible to me.

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Health matters

I’m trying to put off gulping my migraine meds the minute I wake up, but it’s not going swimmingly. Some days, I’m able to stave off the headache, but sometimes, like today, my brain is throbbing very unpleasantly. It’s reaching the point where I need to take the meds or it’s going to get much worse.

Side Note: I used to take six Ibuprofen in response to a migraine. Obviously, that’s not a good thing to do nor is it effective, and it’s really hard on the liver, so I stopped. Instead, I started taking two Excedrin Migraine or the generic equivalent. Well, actually, three, but I cut back to two. Three is better, but two does the job as well. If I take it early enough, it drastically reduces the migraine if not eradicate it completely.

I read that Ibuprofen is more for generalized body pain rather than localized such as a migraine, which made sense to me. I discounted it as useful for migraines (both for me and in a general sense), but now I’ve read an article that it can actually help some people with migraines–50% of them. So, it’s useless to me, but not for others, apparently.

I worry about taking Excedrin Migraine every day.  The Googles has given me a long list of possible side effects to each of the three main drugs in it. The basic gist is that I should ask my doctor–which I will when I find a new one. My old one left, and I haven’t found a new one yet because it’s such a pain in the ass. I have a laundry list of things to ask my new doc, which isn’t making me any more eager to find one.

I’m worried that my health isn’t going to get any better. Or rather, this is the new base that I have to accept. I’ve dealt with being dairy-free and gluten-free, and it’s fine for the most part. Caffeine-free was much harder to do, but I’m fine with it now. I am having a very difficult time with the idea that I may have to give up something else as well. I’ve already given up so much! Do I really need to eschew, say, onions? I also feel like a whiny baby because I don’t have Celiac disease, and there are others who have it much worse. Yes, I know it’s not a competition, but I feel like a punk for not being able to soldier through. It doesn’t help that I am friends with several high-functioning people, and I can’t help but compare myself to them.

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The road is long…and bland

my heritage.
My lifeblood.

So, I’ve been doing some lackadaisical research into what I’m intolerant to because I don’t have the energy to do a deep dive. In addition, I’m resentful about having to cut something else from my diet. I didn’t like cutting out gluten and dairy, but it was fairly easy to do so. I had a harder time with caffeine, but I don’t miss it now. The problem is that I eat the same thing pretty much every day, and to cut out one thing from my staples feels inappropriately large. I think it might be something in the nut family. I’m currently enjoying a dark chocolate peanut butter that is the best of the chocolate spreads out there (of the ones I can eat). I have it on a bagel or a hamburger bun (which is cheaper than the bagels by half), and sometimes I slap some jam on it.

I’ve not had a problem with this, but I ate a few spoonfuls yesterday sans bread and jam. That didn’t sit well with me, and my bowels were not happy with me for the next few hours. It’s vegan and gluten free, so that shouldn’t be an issue. I’ve noticed an itchiness inside when I’ve eaten nuts before, so I’m keeping my eyes on it. It’s not noodles, thankfully (rice noodles, natch), but I’m concerned it could be rice. I will not deal well with it if it’s rice. I already did not deal well with people telling me I should eat brown rice instead of white (I know, but I don’t care), and if I turn out to be sensitive to white rice, well, I am not going to be a happy camper. I’ll just leave it at that.

I’ve also noticed that I feel the worst in the morning when I just get up. Today, I had a piercing headache–the kind that turns into a migraine if I’m not careful–and a shallowness of breath. I still have the breathing issue, though I took care of the headache problem (it’s a minor headache now, which I can deal with). I’m exhausted, even though I slept for almost seven hours. That’s how I know I’m sick–when I sleep more than six hours.

I hate being like this. I hate not being really sick because I feel like I should fight through it. It doesn’t help that my mother is the type to ignore her health until she can’t. She had back surgery three weeks ago, and she was up and walking two days later. Now, she wants to walk 30 minutes a day, and I told her to pace herself. There are other issues including my father is being an ass to her. It was to be expected, but it’s still difficult. I’m thinking about going there for a week or two, but that would come at a great cost to myself. I’m worried about her, and while I knew what would happen would happen, it’s infuriating to see it play out in real time.
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Running out of patience

I’ve had enough with the sickness, but it has not had enough of me. Last night, I ate something that hit me hard. I’m pretty sure I know what it is as the symptoms came within minutes of finishing something, and it does not have wheat/gluten or dairy in it. You know what that means? It means there is something else I’m allergic/sensitive/intolerant to, and I have to do some more fact finding. I think you can guess how happy I am about that. I’ve had issues before, and I’m tired of it. That means I have to figure out the other thing that makes me shit my brain out*. It happened five minutes after eating this thing (not naming it because it’s not the fault of the product, which was actually tasty), and then I was running to the bathroom every fifteen/twenty minutes for the rest of the evening.

TMI, but the whole post probably is. It’s the kind of thing where you have to run to the bathroom and pray you’ll make it in time. My stomach is fine, fine, fine, and then GOTTA RUN NOW! Shadow did not appreciate that as he was on my legs the first time it happened. I didn’t shove him off exactly, but I moved my legs with quickness. He was not pleased, and he let me know about it, but I had roughly ten seconds to make it to the toilet, so I paid him no mind.

Side Note: I was describing the symptoms to my mother while she was here, and she said it might be her issue as well. She’s been having similar problems, and she decided to try to go dairy free/gluten free as well. I told her she could try my dairy-free cheese and cashew milk. She complained that they did not taste like the real thing, and I patiently explained to her that they wouldn’t. She had to not think of them as substitutes but as their own thing. After one day, she gave up because it was too hard.

Side Note II: My father has the opposite problem (constipation). As he was listening to my mother and I discuss our problems, he said, “I know this sounds strange, but I wish I had your problem.” I didn’t explain to him why he should not say that to someone, but I certainly thought it. I had heard similar things when I was anorexic/bulimic, and it always made me feel worse. Like, I’m dealing with this really difficult thing, and you so blithely make a joke about it? No thank you. I didn’t demur with my father, however, because I knew it wouldn’t make a difference.

Side Note III: It’s really interesting how invested Americans are in the idea of faaaaaaamily. I was explaining something about my father to someone, and they were saying, “Oh, maybe he’s trying to be sympathetic in a really awkward way”, and I said, “No, he’s just a narcissist.” The uncomfortable silence was palpable, and I swiftly changed the subject.

What was I talking about? Oh, right. My dodgy stomach. Hey, I watch a bunch of British YouTubers, so I’ve absorbed some of their lingo.

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