Dear Ragweed (also known by such friendly names as bitterweed and bloodweed),
I am at your mercy. The white flag was raised, but I had to bring it down to wipe my nose with it, so it’s sort of green now.
I have nearly succeeded in scratching my eyes and nose to shreds. I am a wheezy, congested pile who coughs like someone who enjoyed years of smoking. Yet the only time I smoked a cigarette was that one time at that Damn Yankees concert in Indiana that I was peer pressured into attending for no good cause. So it’s not the smoking. It’s clearly you.
I looked you up on the internet. Do you know what WebMD had to say about you? The article said, “Can you avoid ragweed? Just try!” Like that, with the exclamation mark and everything. I mean, I know WebMD can get pretty sensationalized with its medical articles, but I’ve never seen the exclamation mark.
You have wreaked so much havoc with my system over the years that you have altered my skeleton. Constant contact with you (because you’re everywhere, apparently) has led to chronic allergic sinusitis, which has lent itself to nasal polyps, which has dictated 3 nasal polypectomies. (Do you know why most people don’t need polypectomies? Because most people don’t have nasal polyps. ) Anyway, as was made clear to me by my dentist after my last x-ray, the excavating of the multiple surgeries has led to the creation of a cave system comparable to Mammoth Cave. With each polyp removal came a bit more unavoidable bone removal. Which has led me to wonder, should I have a severe facial injury, due to, say, a car wreck or a random punch in the face, would my skull collapse in the front? If it happens, ragweed, I’ll send you a picture and a bill for cosmetic surgery. You’re right, you won’t care; even if it results in an upgrade to a fabricated Angelina Jolie face, you’ll still keep me sneezing.
I’ve done everything recommended for coexisting with you, you bastard of nature.
We’ve had a whole house air filter installed and it’s thicker than the NYC yellow pages, if anyone even still prints those. The house fan runs 24-7-365, 366 in leap years, despite the HVAC guys warning us that we’re going to somehow wear out our furnace doing this. I rinse out my sinuses daily with a full glass of a salt-water solution. I have graduated from even the Neti pot and now use a bulb syringe to blast the goo out of my face. I also avoid gardening, because your pollen is in the air outside. The lack of trimming is making my garden look really wild. So wild, in fact, that I think I saw YOU in it.
Now WebMD tells me I should avoid being outside between the hours of 10am and 4pm. The kids have really loved this. Last beautiful days before school? Sorry, kids, ragweed was on the prowl and Mommy had to hide. Want to practice riding your bike without training wheels? Well, that depends. Would you be embarrassed if Mama walked beside you in her full HAZMAT suit? Because WebMD says even a face mask isn’t enough. EVEN A FACE MASK ISN’T ENOUGH. You are a terrorist, ragweed.
Yes, it seems there is one last recommended option for me living in your world (and I do mean YOUR world): allergy shots. Shots with bits of you in them, to get my body used to you. Injecting the enemy into my system on a habitual basis until my body submits to learned helplessness. Shooting up with local weeds.
You’re a sneaky colonist, a bully, and kind of a drug lord, too, it seems. Since the only means of escape from you is through you, I surrender. I will breathe you, inject you, and if you make Kool-Aid I’ll drink that too if I can breathe better. You win.
Where will it stop? With the injections, you’ll have entered into me, by indirect force. I have also read that I should wash you out of my hair, my clothing, everything I’ve worn outside—I’m starting to feel a bit dirty, Ragweed, like a victim of violence.
This letter is my only means of speaking out, since my voice sounds more and more like a goat’s, and each subsequent word is less comprehensible.
Please, Ragweed—share the air.