In July of 2013, my world changed. That's when my husband and I welcomed a two month old kitten named Tater into our home. He was adorable. He was playful. He was the sole reason I couldn't breathe and was living in an allergy hell. It was not looking good for Tater and our cohabitation seeing as I had tried everything I could think of to improve the situation. That is, everything except one thing... a trip to the allergist.
The sneeze-inducer in the flesh
As a relatively healthy adult, I had never visited an allergist before. But right off the bat, I was greeted with the kind, comforting words of, "Oh my god, you look terrible!" Apparently, the inside of my nose was swollen, my eyes glossy and red, and the hives on my arm didn't stop itching. In a nutshell, I am highly HIGHLY allergic to cats (and apparently also grass. WTF?).
The doctor then proceeded to breakdown what our plan of attack would be: I could come into the office for shots one to two times a week for the next six months and then once a month after that for the next three years. Okay, did we catch that last part? The next three years?! This is when you ask yourself, "How far am I willing to go for a 2 lb. ball of fur?" Apparently, pretty far.
The first of many many bruises
And that's how the world of #AllergistLiveTweet (@ohmygoshko) and my relationship with some feisty Latina receptionists was born. Twice a week, every week, I went in for shots. And every week, as I waited the mandatory 30 minutes after my shots -- to make sure I didn't start foaming at the mouth or something worse -- I would ice the bruises on my arms, talk with the staff, and wonder, "Is this all worth it?"
After having gone for shots every week for the past six months now, I can answer with 100% certainty, yes. It's worth it. I mean, sure. The cat is great. But more importantly, check out all the cool swag I get from 6 months of allergy shots!
I get hand written notes teaching me how to say "allergy party" (which is what we dub my visits) in Spanish with accompanying graphics of syringes and balloons. Fiesta de alergias!
I get sympathy stickers! The receptionist picked out this particular sticker because that morning my cat knocked over my radio and broke it. Bieber's "Say Anything" recreation was supposed to help. Although, said receptionist can't stand Justin Bieber and I just wanted to put that on record.
I get custom-made insult Post-its! Just in case I'm not sure if I'm being insulted or not, the receptionists will write down not only the fact that I'm getting "dissed", but who's "dissing" me.
I learn about other cultures! From how it was explained to me, Jeringonza is a language game kinda similar to Pig Latin. Regardless, on this particular day the receptionists told me repeatedly in Jeringonza that they love me. Or maybe they were making fun of me. I can't be quite sure. But either way, they were talking to me so I'll take it.
And lest you think that all of my swag only comes in the 3" x 3" form of Post-it notes and stickers, last month the staff went above and beyond and surprised me with a birthday gift: a new scarf, chocolates, and a super sweet card. Turns out when you "date" your reception staff twice a week for six months, you end up bonding.
Oh, and Tater? He's doing fine. The shots are working so he gets to stay and partake in Sunday night Instagram photo shoots. He loves it.
And it's totally worth it.
All photos courtesy of the author.