As mentioned in this blog before, I have what I consider a disability – a severe allergic reaction to dogs. If any of you have ever coped with allergies, you are probably familiar with a “skin prick test” where an allergist places a small amount of a potential allergen under the skin. A raised bump hive-like reaction around the pinprick is noteworthy.
In my case, after my back was pricked with many potential allergens, my reaction to dog caused three nurses to rush into the room and ask if I could breathe. Fortunately, I felt fine if a little nervous. Not being able to see my back, I asked what was wrong, and they said the reaction to dog nearly covered my entire back. The worst reaction the clinic had seen in 30 years of practice. The doctor would not even try allergy shots in me out of fear of the consequences.
Most days avoidance is what keeps me healthy. Apparently 40% of people in the US own dogs, but in the semi-rural area where I live, the percentage feels double that. Now I have no funds to move, but if I did, I would consider it. Anyone know of a dog-free part of the US to live? I do love the natural surroundings and progressive people in this region, but if I do not want to spend the rest of my life in a bubble, I think I should move.
Some weeks my “disability” is less evident than others. This week was a doozy:
- A therapy dog greeted me in a children’s hospital at which I was attending a symposium.
- A neighbor offered to pay me cash (oh how I need that for winter heat!) to care for her dog while on a trip because she thought I was “sweet and calm” (I’d be in nirvana if those were qualities favored for high-paying jobs).
- I was unable to attend a lecture at this lovely local business Wander on Whidbey by someone who walked super long distances (my dream) because of dog presence.
- I could not join my child at a Halloween gathering because it was held at a friend’s home with a dog.
So there you have it. A freak disability. Working from home allows me to control my environment, but I would so love to not be a shut-in.