It starts each evening around 9 o’clock, just after we’ve put our daughter to bed and we’re winding down ourselves. It starts innocently enough, as one simple clearing of the throat. Within minutes, however, my wife is coughing like someone who’s just taken a drag off her first cigarette and forgotten to exhale. She’ll keep this up through the night, robbing herself and the rest of the house of blessed sleep.
The cough, of course, is one of the effects of seasonal allergies, the unwanted baggage that accompanies the arrival of spring and its budding flowers. Dealing with allergies—your own and others—almost makes you yearn for the depths of winter, when the seasonal concerns typically involved a shovel and a half-foot of snow.
My allergies are nothing in comparison to my wife’s. I had a sinus headache last week, popped a Zyrtec and—wham—the headache disappeared like a fart in the wind. My wife, of course, resents how well I respond to allergy medicine. She’s ingested half of CVS in the last few weeks in an effort to curb the coughing, sneezing, headaches, scratchy eyes, and general discomfort. Whenever something has helped, it’s only helped temporarily. Rest assured when 9 o’clock rolls around, she’ll be hacking up phlegm and reaching for something—probably Nyquil or Robitussin—to stem the retching (or at least knock her out for a few hours). But nothing works completely.
Two nights ago she was coughing so hard that a candle fell off the top of the television (in the other room!) and smashed on the floor. Mind you a clear scientific cause and effect cannot be drawn between these two events, but what else could have knocked it down? It was either a ghost or her coughing. And I don’t believe in ghosts. But her coughing? Oh, yeah, that shit is for real.
My editor, a helpful fellow, suggested I get earplugs as a means of protecting my sleep. On the face of it, that’s a brilliant idea. I’ve never had to deal with a mate who snores, but I understand ear plugs are de rigueur for anyone who sleeps with a snorer. The problem, however, is what to do with my 3-year-old daughter. Would she be willing and able to wear ear plugs? If not, I can’t leave her behind, losing sleep as my wife hacks away (and I sleep soundly).
No, for the time being I think we’re all simply going to have to suck it up. Who knows, with any luck, all these damn flowers will be dead by, say, October?
(Photo: All Voices)