Misplaced Anger

It’s easy to get angry, even very angry, about politics. But consider this, especially if you are getting unusually angry: Is that really why you are mad? I have found myself unusually angry after the recent election, but a lot of my anger isn’t about the results or even the way other people are reacting, although that really, really doesn’t help.

For the last two years, I have struggled with a bad cough. Despite seeing doctors several times about it, the coughing continued to plague me until I finally saw an asthma and allergy specialist. I am allergic to everything they tested me for, including the trees in my yard. On a scale of 1-4 with 4 being the highest, I am a 4++ for those trees. You might be thinking we should simply cut down the trees, but they are on our neighbors’ yards as well. In fact, we live in the middle of at least 200 acres of them.

I’m allergic to oak trees (and maple, among others). Realistically, without medication, my choices in the US seem to be the desert, Hawaii, and the Great Plains.

And I’m angry about it.

I’m angry because I love to be in the woods. We chose our house  in part because of the beautiful yard. The woods have always been a source of peace for me. I’m angry because I love to be involved in Scouts with my kids, including camping and campfires. (I have asthma, making campfires problematic.) I enjoy opening the windows when it’s nice outside. And I hate taking medicine all the time. Now, I have to take multiple medicines every day and may need regular shots, and there is no end date on those. Since I’m also allergic to dogs and cats, once our current pets pass, it’s unlikely we will be able to get more.

So, I’m angry.

The truth is that I knew my coughing was bad, but I had been living with it for a long time. The problems started in junior high and progressively, but slowly, got worse. By the time I went to the doctor, being unable to sleep all night because of coughing had become my normal. The times my coughing was bad enough to temporarily make breathing difficult were new and admittedly alarming. (In retrospect, they should have been more alarming, but it was a long process.)

No one around me realized how bad it was. If my husband had, he would have picked me up and bodily carried me in, if necessary, to make sure I saw the doctor. And I had pretty well given up on not coughing. It’s not like I hadn’t gone and had it checked, because I had – multiple times. By chance, I used an old inhaler and it helped. That helped spur me to see an allergy and asthma specialist. Thank God I did because I am better now. Completely dependent on medication, but better.

I want to grow old in my home. I don’t want to leave here when the kids go to college. I want them to come back to the home they grew up in. Someday, I want them to bring their spouses and kids here to visit and see grandchildren play in the yard, but I don’t know that we will be able to do that. I’m probably being over-reactive at the moment, but the reality is that continued exposure to an allergen (oak, in this case) normally makes anyone allergic to it more and more sensitive, and I’m already extremely allergic and definitely reactive to it. There is no guarantee that, even with shots, I’ll be able to stay here for even one decade, much less two or three.

I know I should be grateful, and I am. I am grateful to have a diagnosis and medicine that helps. I am relieved to be able to sleep all night, laying down instead of propped up on piles of pillows. I’m relieved to no longer be plagued by racking coughing, especially when I’m driving. And I do have to admit that it’s nice that the doctor said I shouldn’t be the one vacuuming, dusting, or sweeping – but I think every mom out there knows I’ll still be the one doing it. (I will, however, wear an allergen-filtering dust mask.)

But right now, I’m angry. As I tell my kids, I get to feel my feelings, but I don’t have the right to ruin anyone else’s day because of it, and that includes berating friends and acquaintences online. If you find you are getting angrier than normal, please, stop and think about what you are really angry about. It doesn’t help anything to berate your friends and family for something totally unrelated.  It just damages your relationships.

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