God Bless You 14 Times
BY DENNY BANISTER
We take prescription antihistamine pills daily year round, prescription expectorants in a bottle big enough to hold Aunt Martha’s ashes, prescription nasal spray every night before bed and prescription allergy shots weekly, but still my wife and I suffer with allergies.
In addition to all of the prescriptions, we both underwent sinus surgery. Our home air-conditioning is turned on the first day we no longer need our furnace and runs until the first day we need the furnace again. We have several windows in our house that won’t stay open, but why bother to fix them? We stopped opening them years ago.
After we already spent enough money to pay for his Mercedes, I asked our ear/nose/throat and allergy doctor where in the United States was the least likely place he could make a living by treating allergies. His response was Nome, Alaska. My wife used her unconditional veto to that idea.
This spring is supposedly the worst allergy season on record. Tree pollen, measured in grains per cubic meter, seldom exceeds 1,000, but recently in Missouri the pollen count reached nearly 5,400. I use my wipers to clear the golden oak tree pollen from my car windshield each morning. Oak pollen causes the biggest tree allergen response, and the vast majority of trees in Missouri’s considerable forestland are oak trees.
I read where a USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) plant physiologist planted ragweed in urban and rural areas. The scientist discovered the ragweed grew faster in the urban areas where temperatures are higher. So now we’re hearing global warming is the cause of the higher than normal pollen count.
Mind you this conclusion was reached by a scientist who actually plants ragweed, a plant capable of causing severe allergy reactions even in people who don’t suffer from a multitude of allergies. We go around rubbing itchy eyes and sneezing, and this guy is pla-pla – AHCHOO – planting ragweed.
Sneezing in the office this spring is so commonplace no one bothers to say Gesundheit anymore. My wife and I continue to bless each other at home when one of us begins sneezing, but after the second or third sneeze, we’ll just say, “God bless you 14 times.” That usually covers it, but not always.
In spite of our allergies, my wife and I decided to retire in Missouri where we spent most of our lives. I am concerned, however, the gold in our “golden years” will just be oak tree pollen. Using tissues by the gross on our swollen red noses, we will mumble, “There’s no place like Nome, there’s no place like Nome.”
Denny Banister, of Jefferson City, Mo., is a retired broadcaster from Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization.
An editorial column from the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation, Cut to the Chase may be used as an op-ed piece or letter to the editor.