Later that evening, my eye began to itch madly. Unconsciously, I rubbed and rubbed. By the time I had fallen asleep, the swelling began. I woke up several times during the night to extreme itching and a surprising quantity of tears (it is really strange to cry from just one eye). I slept fitfully.
When the alarm went off at its appointed time, I began to worry: Would I be able to drive the hour-long interstate route to work in this condition? I hoped that a hot shower would settle things down, but after about a half hour it became clear to me that I was in for a very difficult day. I was forced to "call in" sick and postpone the day's scheduled lesson. Allergies had claimed their first day.
So I took some Benadryl and accepted my fate. After about 2 hours, the allergic symptoms grew worse: runny nose, congestion, sneezing. And my eye got worse to the point of swelling shut. I was miserable. I spent the rest of the day on the easy chair dozing in and out of sleep during a Law & Order marathon. The day was a total waste, and after accomplishing nothing but total discomfort, I went to sleep at 8 pm.
After another night of fitful sleep, my condition had not improved. Strike that: My eye was not as swollen, but the white of my eye had turned a vivid pink. I was in for another miserable day. After 24 hours of Benadryl, I had to accept that the drug wasn't working. Lucky for me, I live across the street from a drugstore. It was time to brave the elements and go out in search of real medicine. I put on my sunglasses and stumbled out into the light.
Long story short, they had what I needed, and after taking the required doses of drops and tablets, I am now able to open both of my eyes fully. I may even be able to leave the house via automobile today! My tale of woe is shared by thousands of people this time of year, and I only tell it because I tend toward self-indulgence. You see, I've NEVER had allergies like this until I moved to North Carolina. As much as I like living here (and I really, really do), I am unhappy to discover that I'm allergic to it. At least seasonally. The lady at the drugstore cash register told me that my problem is probably the flowering pears that line the streets. That may be, although these trees have bloomed in other places I've lived with no obvious affect on me.
The sad truth is that I've now joined Team Allergic, of which every person in my family has sustained a lifetime membership. I'll accept my fate so long as I have access to the appropriate medicines and don't have to lose 2 days a season to feeling like crud. Otherwise, this is bullshit.