Out, Damn Spot

I have to admit that I am overjoyed at the prospect of air conditioning today. Even though, right now, I am sitting on the porch in the shade and enjoying the (kind of) quiet, as the day wears on and it gets up to 32 degrees and overcast, I’ll be glad of it. The forecast says it will be 32 degrees with a 30% chance of rain, including possible thunderstorms. So you know what that means — it’s going to be as humid and hot as an asscrack out here.

But not now. Now it is just pleasant.

I don’t do so well sometimes in the humid and the hot. I am unfortunately burdened with massive environmental allergies — to, you know, EVERYTHING — and on top of that, I have asthma. So the very hot, humid days can sometimes be The Suck for me. Like this morning, for example. After BDH headed out to work, I got changed and went into the now-empty living room to workout, doing some yoga and Pilates.

I was communing with Rodney, doing all the breathing and the stretching as per his somewhat hypnotic commands. I got about halfway through the workout, and I noticed a big, itchy bump on the inside of my leg. And another one, on my face.

HIVES.

Blasted hives! 15 minutes on the carpet, and the heat and the sweat and the carpet were causing me to break out in hives. BAH.

I remember as a teenager, the worst case of hives I had ever had came on in much the same fashion. It was a really hot August, and I was sleeping in the basement room to stay cool (my father didn’t get air conditioning until AFTER all his children left home). I had woken up one morning, and my hands were swollen so badly, I couldn’t bend my fingers. Nothing else was wrong, just fat, puffy hands — but it prevented me from going in to work to do my summer job, which was mostly filing and typing. The next day, I woke up and my hands were no longer swollen. My feet, however, were so puffy I couldn’t fit shoes on. Again I stayed home. The next day, I checked first thing when I woke up — hands were fine, feet were fine. So I went off to work.

I got home that evening, and flopped down on the carpet in front of the television to watch some TV and try to stay cool. After about 20 minutes or so, I started feeling really warm. And then, WHOOSH — suddenly, I was red and itchy and covered in hives. EVERYWHERE — arms, legs, neck, forehead. My father took me to a walk-in clinic, where the doctor looked at me, and in the understated way that only a doctor can have when stating the painfully obvious, said, “Hm. Looks like you’ve got hives.”

No shit, Sherlock. Ya THINK?

Those were the days before Benadryl was the cure-all for all things allergy. There wasn’t anything really strong enough that he could give me. So I just had a little bit of topical cream and that was it. I thought I was going to die from the hot and the itching.

So today, when those first few hives appeared, I got ready. I got up off the carpet and had a nice, cool, soap-free shower. I put some distance between me and the cats. I took an antihistamine. I took my asthma meds. And I am planning on staying cool and mostly calm and quiet for the rest of the day.

If, later today, I turn into a red and itchy version of the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man (not the friendly one, mind you; the mean and angry one from Ghostbusters) I’ll be sure to take a picture and post it. “There but for the grace of God” and all that rot.