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It’s Not Always as it Appears

After graduating college, I moved in with a friend in downtown Chicago.  It was a great place right in Lincoln Park. The only drawback – my roommate had a cat.  And while that should have been a big, red flag, it technically was not his – it was his mom’s, who was now living in Florida.  (Not exactly sure why he believed the state of Florida no longer allowed felines - but he wasn’t exactly splitting atoms.  I digress.) 

I had always grown up with animals so I thought nothing of having “Tigger” around, but within weeks my nose started to run like a faucet, my eyes were blood shot and I constantly battled sinus headaches.  Alright, some of the symptoms could have been caused by the night life in Lincoln Park.  But even when I swore off the “Devil’s Juice” I still felt horrible.  At that point, there was only one thing to do – not go to the doctor – not get allergy shots.  Heck no!  I needed for this to be their problem not mine.  I needed to blame the roommate and the cat. 

By solid deductive reasoning – there were only two things new in my life – my roommate and his cat.  I was a paragon of personal health and hygiene. Something had to be done. Turns out, the state of Illinois doesn’t allow you to put down roommates – so we compromised.  He stayed and the cat began its early retirement with his mom in Florida.  From then on, the blood shot eyes and the headaches were all self-inflicted.

Fast forward ten years, I am married with three kids longing for the days in Lincoln Park - when my kids start to lobby for a feline presence in the household.  Their mother was all ears because she loves cats.  I had NO interest in having a cat and was able to quickly squelch the idea after describing my allergy symptoms. I was never a fan of cats and the experience in Chicago did nothing to change my opinion.  The kids were very disappointed but I laid it on pretty thick.  I mean for years every time they saw a cat they ushered me away like Kanye West at a Taylor Swift concert. 

Then one day I am sitting in a doctor’s office describing my cat allergy and the misery it caused. It was determined that I was a good candidate for skin testing and after discussing the risks involved with skin testing, the nurse convinced me to do a partial panel to see if allergy shots might help.  Turns out – I am not allergic to cats!  I am allergic to the things cats bring in.  I have allergies to weeds, grass and some critters “livin’ the dream” under my old roommate’s bed. 

So the point is – that it is not always as it appears.  Talk to your doctor to determine if you’re a good candidate for allergy testing. Knowledge is power. 


That said – the kids still think I am allergic to cats – so let’s keep that fact to ourselves! Capiche! J