I came back from ten day holiday with many thoughts about my physical health other than my lack of fitness, although not unrelated.
I live in one of the most polluted outlying boroughs of London, under the flightpath from Heathrow. Before I moved here I never had any type of hay fever or breath-related issues. My worse permanent problem was psoriasis in a few places that came and went according to my stress levels.
I eventually worked out after a few years that my summer cold which seemed quite persistent was more than that and started on cetirizine, which seemed to work well enough. A few years later, I doubled the dosage. Symptoms started to be during the spring/summer and eventually expanded to being throughout the year. I also added an occasional puff of Beclometasone dipropionate which became regular and twice daily. This was because I was starting to have chest pains that felt like trouble breathing. This summer I’m trying my second nasal spray to see if it makes any difference.
In other words, it gets noticeably worse.This summer has been particularly bad. One of my hopes for a holiday, especially now that I have come off anti-depressants which have their own side effects, was that my hay fever symptoms would subside and I would see how I was without all that crap going on. I didn’t change any medication to make sure that only one significant factor was different.
The difference was that I was more physically active. I spent more time on my feet walking around and being active without being tired. My brain was more active. The fog that resides permanently inside my head cleared away and I felt a new person. So I thought I would return home and ask for different medication such that I could feel that way.
Within hours of returning home it all came back. Within 24 hours I was struggling to do more than an hour’s work in a day and just feeling tired and lethargic and not able to do anything, including sleep. I’ve added a horrendous cough to my symptoms this year and was waking up 3 times a night to spend twenty minutes coughing. It was awful. More to the point though it was and is depressing. To feel that useless and to know that it’s not depression, that it’s not something I could actively change is hard. To want to be more physically and mentally active but to really feel a total lack of energy is frustrating. I had to wait until Thursday for an appointment with my favourite GP. I struggled through the week, even going to sleep at 6pm one night.
I recited my hay fever history to which her unhelpful response was “what do you want me to do about it?”, the first time I’ve ever found her unsympathetic. She said there was no point in doing skin tests as it was pollen and what difference did it make which one. I more or less agree. She didn’t know hay fever was localised, thinking I must have been abroad for it to go away. I did say this was the first summer I had actually considered moving away as a possibility although it would be totally impractical. Anyway, all that aside we discussed changing medicines which seems to be quite a random try them all one by one and see which works. She put me on fexofenadine which I unenthusiastically went to the pharmacist to collect. A few hours later I started working and continued working into the evening. It was the first time my brain had worked in the evening for months.
Now it’s not even 48 hours later and I still feel so much better. I hope it lasts and that this is a turning point. It may not of course in which case I’ll go back and we’ll try something else.
Meanwhile though, it’s absolutely brilliant and I’m flying high.