Been There, Done That: The season for wheezin’

Everybody kept saying that I’d caught something, that I had some kind of ick. But I didn’t have an ick. I had a bout with my allergies and asthma. If I stay away from the things that trigger my asthma, like smoke, mold and mildew, and dust, I do pretty well.

Except for big changes in the weather. The changing of the seasons usually sends me head over heels into an asthma attack that can last for days or even longer.

This year was been a nightmare. To borrow a phrase from someone on Facebook, the “temperature went from 90 to 50 like it just spotted a state trooper.”

We switched from the dog days of summer to pumpkin spice-loving fall in a heartbeat.

I was unprepared clothing-wise. My closet was filled with tank tops and sleeveless T-shirts. Not a single flannel or sweatshirt to be found. I thought I was going to freeze to death the last weekend at our camper.

Fortunately, our son was having his end-of-the-season bonfire on Saturday night. Traditionally, you can’t get within 12 feet of the fire ring without getting a sunburn. Flames shoot high into the air and the ring glows a ghostly orange from the heat. Awesome. I’m in. I didn’t need to look for a sweatshirt. I did need to find my inhaler, though, after breathing in all that smoke.

It always comes directly at me. I can never sit down at a fire — within seconds, the smoke will seek me out. I move, it follows me a few seconds later. If you don’t want to have the smoke in your face, it’s simple: Stay away from me.

It may blow in your direction momentarily as I pass you in my crazy dance around the ring, but, trust me, the smoke will continue to follow me.

At least I was warm.

We went home the next day and I was back to being cold again. I dug out every single bag of clothes we had stored in our former shower/current “closet.”

I put away our summer stuff, shoved the heavy sweaters back in the bags and got out every long-sleeve, button-up shirt I could find. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon “fluffing” them in the dryer with a wet washcloth and a few dryer sheets. That should knock out the wrinkles, the dust and the musty smell. And entertain our Beagle Boy Cletus.

He loves a pile of clothes, especially warm, not wrinkled ones straight out of the dryer.

I had to do a couple piles twice before I learned to only give him a couple pieces of actual clothing — fill out the rest of the pile with some of his “fluffed” baby blankets.

And I looked for my inhaler again. Dragging out clothes that have been stored for the better part of a year always brings on a sizable asthma attack.

Standing in the utility room to put shirts on hangers to avoid letting the dog know I have more warm stuff wasn’t a good plan, either.

The plumber had done some preliminary work in there, which amounted to a three-foot hole in the concrete floor that was full of mud. Mud that had been under my house for eons, or for as long as that room has been attached to my house anyway. We’re thinking they added it sometime in the ’60s. Really old mud. Really musty-smelling old mud.

And of course the roof is still leaking, so the concrete floor (that’s still there) is wet and mildewy. I searched for my inhaler again and worried at how many puffs were already missing when I had just refilled the prescription.

Maybe I do have the ick, or maybe it’s just that Leaf Season is in full swing.

Go ahead, guess what else I’m allergic to — you got it, dried leaves. Better refill my inhaler script again.  

Laura Nethken
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