Wednesday, June 13, 2007


About two months ago I got a dog. I say "I" because the kids and the man were on board from day one. I was the holdout. I think my words were something like, "there will be no dog in this house until someone besides me is willing and able to take care of it"(which drew nothing more than blank stares from my crowd). Who knew all it would take was a trip to the neighborhood grocery store for a forgotten gallon of milk to change my mind?

She stared out at me from a flyer on the grocer's bulletin board and out of sheer nosiness I called the owners to find out why they were giving away such a sweet-looking pooch. Apparently, the young couple who had adopted her worked long hours and didn't have enough time to spend with the pup.

Two days later Ginger came to live with us...and my world fell apart.

The morning after Ginger moved in, I woke up and couldn't open my eyes. After prying them open and cleaning out all the gunk, I spent the rest of the day in glasses and rubbing my eyeballs like crazy, which seemed to only make it worse. I found temporary relief by pouring in loads of Visine A and lying back with my eyes closed, but even that was short-lived.

More than a week of denial and self-medicating later, I went to the doctor. I explained in explicit detail how the problem began the instant the dog came to stay and how when I would leave the house for a while, it would subside. Dr. Whomever (she is new at the Family practice that I frequent and it is safe to say I won't be seeing her again) promptly treated me...for pinkeye.

Now, deep in my heart I wanted her to be right, that meant that I wasn't allergic and we could keep our new friend. I, whom have always been more of a cat fancier, was growing quite fond of that crazy mutt. After the man and the babes were off to work and school, I would take Ginger out to play and learn. I think one of the reasons I liked her so much was because she could be as stubborn as I am. While she was all about the fetching and ball-playing, she wanted nothing to do with the whole "heel" thing. Walking that dog on a leash was as about as pleasant as setting my hair on fire. Every day I would tell Big T how Ginger would do all these cool things like sit and stay and lie down for nothing more than a weird little steak-shaped treat. And every day my stories would end with, "...and then she dragged me down the hill".

I used the antibacterial eye drops three times a day, every day, for a week. And it did get better by the weekend, but I was also out of town...and away from Ginger. As soon as I walked into the house it began again. This time it was so bad, I wanted to poke my eyes out just to make the pain go away. It was like something was behind my eye and then if I would rub, I would pull long strings of gunk out. Nasty.

It began to affect me in other ways. I became irritable and spent as much time as possible away from home. I would "forget" things at the store just so I could get the hell out of the house and into the cool, dog-dander free world of Target. The house was a mess, I all but stopped cooking, doing laundry...everything that involved me being inside. Even the lure of all your fine blogs wouldn't drag me in there. I began self-medicating again on a combination of Benadryl, Singulair and Visine A and spent my days wandering around going, "I have no energy, I don't know what's wrong with me." Go figure.

Although I had already began emotionally and physically distancing myself from Ginger, as well as trying to find her a good home, the real tragedy was trying to explain all this to the babes. Little T took it like a champ. He had been knocked down and pushed around so much that I really don't think he cared so much.

But oh, Little Scarlet. She had never wanted anything so much in her life as she wanted a dog. She still blames me for the demise of our last pooch, Cozmo. She cried. She rationalized, "Why can't you go somewhere else to live and Ginger can stay here?" But in the end, Ginger was placed in a new home. And being the coward that I am, it all took place while Little Scarlet was at school.

I figured it would take some time before things would return to normal. I was wrong. The next day I was able to wear my contacts the entire day without any major problems. Things got a bit fuzzy when I started vacuuming the house. By the second day everything was perfect. I was not only wearing contacts, but eye makeup, something I hadn't been able to do in what seemed like an eternity.

Even Little Scarlet seemed unscathed..."Now can we go to the animal shelter and look for a new kitty?"


Stanton said...

I realize this is a little like closing the barn door after the horse (or dog) has escaped, but take it from a life-long alergy sufferer: Claritan is a gift from God. I started taking it just during allergy season but now I take it every day. I still have a little eye irritation problems if I am in a house where cats live, and I little trouble during the highest pollen count days of Spring, but other than that I am symptom free all the time. No side effects, no drowsiness.

But don't tell my kids because then they'll want me to get a dog.

shannon said...

oh what a sad story! I'm so sorry to hear that you had to go through all of that. I'm glad Ginger found a home and you are feeling better!

Alicia A. said...

Awwww.... I would have the same reaction with a kitty. My son begs, and I tell him, "Honey, if we got a kitty, it would be fun for a day and then I'd wake up dead." But he doesn't understand my joke.