When life throws you lemons, thank it for the snack

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hives (Not the Kind with Minds)

What positive aspects can one possibly see in the irritating malady known as hives? Well, that's kind of the point of this blog--to challenge myself to find the bright side of things, especially things that seem to lead to the most negative experiences. At the moment, I am on day 6 of my hives. I have no good idea as to their cause and no good idea as to when they will end. I have had hives off and on ever since I was 8 or 9 years old. My last episode was about 2 years ago and I am pretty sure that one was mostly stress-induced (I was teaching 4 classes simultaneously, along with juggling my daughter's regular extra curricular schedules). I don't feel particularly stressed at the moment, though I do confess a slight bit of anxiety over the Human Development class I am teaching for the next 5 1/2 weeks. I haven't taught the class in 8 years, so I'm a little rusty on some of the topics. I don't think it's particularly allergy-induced, as I have absolutely no traceable food allergies (thought I suspect I might be allergic to fresh pineapple and alcohol--there are no allergy tests for these). This session of hives just suddenly appeared on Friday evening and they are hanging around for a while. There's a good chance I will have them for at least 2 weeks. So, what's so positive about them?

Well, they did decide to almost completely disappear when I got to my allergist on Monday, leading me to look slightly crazy. I suppose I can be grateful for that (the disappearance, not the insanity). They were mostly gone yesterday, until they came back with a vengeance last night and have yet to dissipate today. While the itching drives me mad, I have come to appreciate the release of endorphins that results from damaging my skin with the scratching. It is a most pleasurable, albeit temporary, feeling. I also have a good excuse to take more naps throughout the day, as the antihistamine leads to near-comatose conditions for 2-4 hours for each dose. I get to enjoy the pleasures of taking a freezing shower in the morning to sooth my skin. It also takes my mind off of other things I could be thinking about, like the work I have to do for my class. I certainly get more exercise in, as there are many hard-to-reach spots to scratch that lead me to stretch in ways I don't normally attempt. Oh, and I get to double my allergy medication, thus stimulating the economy through my purchase of loratadine and diphenhydramine in order to keep the hives at bay so that I can function for at least half of the day. I mustn't forget the opportunity to sleep with my fan on at high power. My husband gets to cuddle up with double blankets while the rest of the country worries about being too hot because I have to sleep in the cold so I don't scratch off all the layers of my epidermis. I don't generally like the cold, but the hives give me an opportunity to appreciate it a lot more than the summer heat. And, with the itching keeping me up at night, I might just start to take advantage of the ensuing insomnia to get a little more work done, instead of battling for sleep at night.

So, there can be a bright side to this malady that seems to afflict me, on average, once a year for no readily apparent reason. If nothing else, I get to once again test my patience and faith to see me through another episode and my daughter can see that there are worse things that can happen to you besides having to clean your room or do your homework.

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