SARAH WOLF | WRITER, READER, GAMER
My Inner Worlds
Fruit of the Underworld
Two weeks ago I had a dream. Laid out on a tray in my kitchen were bananas, broccoli, potatoes, and something else wholesome that I don’t recall. Resting in front of me on the counter was one pomegranate cut open to expose the seeds. When I woke, I felt these foods would be helpful for me to eat at this time. “This time” being one of a major allergic reaction where my eyes have swollen half-way shut and look like I got punched in the face. Am I being dramatic? Only slightly. Prednisone helped, but I've stopped taking it after four weeks of being on that weight-gaining steroid (seriously, it makes me eat). I still have a bottle of the pills just waiting for me to get desperate enough to pop them. Nine days without them and my eyes look as bad as they ever have. I won’t post a picture because it’s not attractive. In my OCD ways, though, I snap a picture every morning to photo-journal the progression of this rogue allergy I can’t figure out.
My eyes have swollen and burned for no apparent reason exactly three times in my life. The first time was in my mid-twenties when I worked in the tax department of a very large, well-known company that I won’t name. The office environment was toxic and filled with the presence of a sexual predator who eventually got a promotion because enough of us women complained to HR. And no, I don’t recommend this path for your own career progression. My eyes come into the story because I got this “rogue allergy” that wouldn’t go away and whose cause couldn’t be determined. I got relief by taking mega medicine that knocked me out cold so I had to stay home from work. Oddly enough, I’d get better after a day off. I finally learned the pattern that after two days in the office, my eyes swelled shut so I’d have to take the pills and stay home. Once that knowledge kicked in, I found a new job and the allergy went away.
Fast forward seven years and the same allergy returned. Matt and I had separated, so my emotions were running high. I also gave up sugar for good at this time—it was a barrier between Matt and me, as any addiction is in a relationship. My eyes swelled, burned, itched, and basically drove me mad. My traditional doctor didn’t believe me about the reactions I experienced when I ate sugar, so I sought out a naturopath and went through a cleansing diet. If you’ve never done a cleansing, you are blessed. I hate them because all the toxins stored in the body come out and make life miserable. But I was already miserable and figured it couldn’t get any worse. Matt and I had seen the movie The Mothman Prophecies, where people had red burning eyes from exposure to this mythological (or not) creature. Pulled by this clue that maybe I had run into Mothman, I read the book and researched into this phenomenon. And here is where my memories end. Somehow my eyes healed without me doing anything specific. Was it the cleansing diet? Was it reconciling with my husband? Did Mothman stop surreptitiously visiting my house while I slept? I’ll never know.
Because I don’t have any idea how this reaction cleared in the past, I’m following all the weird clues in my life. As I write this, I’m eating pomegranate seeds and beseeching the lord of the underworld for mercy.
[Public service announcement: if you are experiencing an allergic reaction, please see a doctor. I don’t mention it above because it isn’t humorous, but I am seeking medical care and will continue to do so until my eyes are back to normal.]
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