Get My Allergies Under Control Part Two: The Office Visit

So when I said I would “be back tomorrow” with a post about how my allergy testing went in this post … you know I didn’t literally mean tomorrow, right? Because “tomorrow”, to me, is anytime in the foreseeable future. Sorta of like “in a minute” or “just a sec.” In this case tomorrow turned out to be more than two weeks. That was kind of pushing it. Sorry.

But here it goes – because if you have always wondered what it’s like to get tested for allergies, it might be good to know what to expect. I wasn’t sure – so I winged it. But I took my camera so you won’t have to!

The first thing I did was take a respiratory test. I had to take a big ol’ breath and blow out as hard as I could for as long as I could…which turned out to be shorter than someone who smokes 2 packs a day (which I don’t). The allergy nurse told me to try it again because she knew I could do better than that. So supportive. But really, now I’m not good at breathing?! The very thing that is supposed to come naturally? Nice.
After a couple tries I got to a level that was considered respectable among the living. So I’ve got that going for me. I was so tired from breathing so hard I felt like I needed a nap. Or a cigarette (but I don’t smoke) ironic, though – right?!
Next was the skin test. The nurse put little drops of 40 allergens on these little pointy pegs and stuck 20 of them in each arm. Then I sat and waited for several minutes. She told me that this would tell her if I was highly allergic to anything that caused a surface reaction – then she might not want to inject it into my skin.
I thought this was a fabulous idea because I wanted to keep living and breathing (even at my abysmal level) for the rest of the day.


Turns out I AM HIGHLY allergic to several things. “Wow!” said the allergy nurse (and she really is so nice – I liked her so much!) “That’s a big welt! and that one is too, and another one” and then she started turning over viles of things NOT to inject me with at warp speed.

“I’m really itching bad,” I said to the allergy nurse.
“Don’t scratch,” she said.
“But it’s BADDDDDD,” I said.

“Well I can imagine why…those are some big welts!” As impressed as I was with myself at the size of my welts, I really was in agony. But then she started taking out her welt measuring tool and doing calculations (I made a mental note to tell Jackson about how this was an example of when you DO use math in “real life” next time he was complaining about his homework) and those that top the list….Cats, Oak Trees and Ragweed.

After putting some benedryl on my now Popeye sized forearms, she prepared the syringes with the allergens that would not kill me. These shots went just under the skin and after the first 20, they stopped bothering me. But the nurse was a little concerned.

“Ummmm. Did you take Advil today?”
“No – but I did yesterday.”
“Well that explains this.”

I looked over and my arm had little red drops of blood coming out of each injection site. And they wouldn’t stop bleeding.

“Is that bad?” I said.
“Well – the prep sheet you got said not to take Advil.”
“But I had a headache,” I whined. (Can I do nothing right?!) “Why can’t I take it”
“Because it makes you bleed…kinda like this”

Lesson learned…read the prep sheet and follow the directions. They are there for a reason.

But we carried on because I’m a trooper like that and at least I was good at bleeding since I clearly was terrible at breathing. In an odd way, it made me feel good.

After the shots were finished we waited for awhile to see how many big welts I could grow this time. Turns out – quite a few. I’m allergic to just about everything except cockroaches, dogs and mold.

If you have extreme allergies be prepared to experience swelling and itching on the injection site for a couple days. I did. But the process doesn’t really hurt. And I’m a big ol’ baby when it comes to needles. And pain.

Stay tuned for more about my follow up visit….



  1. 1
    Kim Harrell says:

    HOLY CRAP!!!

  2. 2
    Anonymous says:

    How lucky that you're not allergic to cockroaches. Yuk. Avoid them anyway.

  3. 3
    La Borda Bleu says:

    oh my goodness jennifer! well at least you know now right? xoxo's nancy

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