I have horrible allergies, which get noticeably worse when the pollen is too high for my body to tolerate. This year, Spring Pollen season started in late January. Here are some notes that I wrote on social media while suffering.

To be clear, my system of tracking pollen season includes obsessively looking at Pollen.com and writing down the pollen count in a paper journal. (There is also a Pollen.com app for those who want it). When the pollen reaches 7.0 or above, I start getting sick.

I consider a pollen season to have started when there has been about a week of 7.0 or higher. A pollen season ends after the pollen count has been in the sixes for at least a week straight. This is my own, personal, means of coping. Your experience may vary.

January 29: I have been up too many hours because I am itchy. Spring pollen season has started. Not happy. Will likely end up on Benadryl soon.

January 30: I am on Benadryl and multitasking.

What could possibly go wrong?

…Don’t answer that.

January 30: Someone I follow on social media, who read my post about multitasking and Benadryl, asked if I would be able to give myself some rest. My response:

Yes. Rest will happen if/when the Benadryl knocks me out.

February 14: Yesterday, I took a nap and slept right through when I was supposed to take my daily allergy medication. To get back on schedule, and to avoid going completely without antihistamines, I took Benadryl.

I take both during allergy season.

The Benadryl made my sinuses, lungs, and chest feel strange. Realized it was because the drug eased my suffering and removed pain. Which means I’ve been in a ton of pain for so long that pain became the default.

February 17: Today, the pollen count is 8.8.

My cockatiels, after eating food and drinking water… took one look at me and started making a noise that sounds like “uh-ohhhh”.

Followed by soft, nervous, worried noises.

Today is going to be rough.

February 20: The pollen count today is 9.4 and I am having great difficulty making sense.

February 21:

The pollen count today is nine point one

Yesterday was nine point four

And I cannot



February 25: The pollen count today is 8.1 and I’m having a high pain day already. It’s bad enough to set off my fibromyalgia. I’m gonna take some CBD and go back to bed.

February 27:

Nine point one today

“Moving quickly to a stop”

Describes my life now


March 3: Went to the DMV to get a real ID. Had to put my thumb on a little scanner so the computer could scan it. The thing didn’t work, so I had to do it multiple times. Then, I was sent to get my photo taken. Had to put my thumb on another little scanner.


March 4: A friend posts about “getting destroyed” by allergies this year.

I respond with: I can relate to that. Suffering through the spring pollen season right along with you.

The terrifying part is that the friend and I do not live in the same state, and might be on opposite coasts of the country. Pollen is everywhere.

March 4: pollen count eight point nine

I’ve been itching for days now

Sinus pain today was so bad that I gave in and took Benadryl

Reminds me of the taste of “Mad Dog” Red Grape Wine, which I haven’t had since college.

My mind is floating away

Once again, I’m living up to my high-school nickname “Space Cadet”.

March 5: Pollen count nine point four

can’t think clearly anymore

March 6: pollen count is nine point five

breathing is difficult; focusing is a struggle; exhaustion is a siren song calling me back to sleep

neighbor is doing construction project, throwing particulate matter into the thick, pollen filled, air

as the sun goes down.

March 10: It has been raining all day – knocking the pollen out of the air for me. We are getting some actual thunder now, which is quite rare where I live.

Still way more mild than the Midwestern storms I grew up with.

March 11: It is raining really hard right now – and I am happy. I’m expecting it to do that for most of today. Rain is the very best thing for knocking the pollen out of the air.

March 13: I’ve been working from home for a decade. I have a good computer for that and a nice office desk.

It’s pollen season, so I’ve been self-isolating since the end of January.

COVID-19 symptoms match some of what my chronic illnesses cause, so if I do get it I probably won’t notice. Some of that is my “normal”.

That said, I see why healthy people are terrified. No one wants to live like me.

March 14: “Why am I itching so much now?”

*checks the pollen count *

“Oh. It’s 9.4. Again. “

March 17: I successfully vanquished the sinus infection that always seems to show up when the pollen has been too high for too long. (This time, I blame the DMV.)

But, I was still sick. I had two of the three symptoms of COVID-19. No fever as of yet. So, I called my doctor, to see what I’m supposed to do about that.

In short, the receptionist said I could wait until a fever arrives before being tested. She then proceeded to share how scary this virus was. “I’ve never seen anything like this! Its like a movie!”

Then I called my dentist, because I had an appointment later this week.

“Hi! I have an appointment in a few days and I have two of the three symptoms of coronavirus. Do you want me to come in?”


We rescheduled

March 20: My entire county was placed on “shelter at home”. The next day, the entire state was on “shelter at home”. I almost never leave the house anyway, because my immune system sucks.

Welcome to my world, people of California.

March 25: Pollen count yesterday was 9.8

I spent most of the day sleeping, only to wake up because I was itching too much.

Today the pollen count is 8.3, which is slightly better.

I’ll be slightly less itchy today than I was yesterday.

March 28: There is a local restaurant, that delivers, that has awesome loaded tater tots.

For some reason, they switched the tater tots they use with ones that are not gluten-free.

I know this because of the symptoms I’m experiencing right now.

March 28: Pollen count is nine point four

Not thinking clearly anymore

April 2: Pollen count is 9.8 today

Too many nines in a row

Benadryl for breakfast

Am losing track of the days since “shelter at home” began

Is this real life? (Is this just fantasy?)

Started using an app that reminds me to eat food, along with another app that reminds me to drink water

Days go by in a blur as I sleep and sleep and sleep

I wish the itching would stop

April 3:  Pollen count in the nines, again

Just cleaned a bathroom with a mixture of soap and vinegar

Super effective!

Set off my allergies and am now on Benadryl

Mistakes were made

April 7: Woke up with signs of a sinus infection, again.

About two and a half months into Spring pollen season.

Taking herbal “antibiotics” – which worked last time.

And now I’m… forgetting what I was gonna do next.

April 14: Pollen count today is eight point five

Having a high pain day due to allergies and two other chronic illnesses

Am on the Benadryl

Default typing is L337 as my dyslexic brain is on drugs right now and has confused numbers and letters.

Can edit that (f0r n0w)

April 18: In between to allergic to sleep and too exhausted to care.

Recovering from borderline anemia is gonna take a few days.

I’m probably not making much sense right now.

The good news is the pollen count appears to be going down – for real this time.

April 21: All of my chronic illnesses decided to attack me. Finally awake now. Still exhausted.

April 21: Pollen today is seven point three

Having symptoms indicating I’m too overloaded with allergies

Not surprised. Pollen season started end of January.

The overload is setting off my fibromyalgia. And I’m anemic (for entirely unrelated reasons).

This is my life now.

April 23: Woke up itchy

Pollen count is seven point zero, which doesn’t usually make me itchy

Turns out, husband hired someone to do yard work and remove weeds in our teeny tiny backyard.

This is good, because the mobile home park owns the space and we are supposed to maintain it

Some of the plant stuff came inside, because our home is really old

And that’s why I’m so itchy right now.

May 2: Bad allergies, so I took Benadryl.

Ended up writing a short story from the viewpoint of a dinosaur.

May 5: Today, for the first time in a long time, my sinuses have stopped burning.

The pollen count is finally starting to get lower. Early this morning, I was well enough to clean and dust my desk.

I think those two factors helped my sinuses to stop burning.

May 8: The pollen count has been under 7.0 for seven days in a row. I declare this Spring pollen season over and done with!

And quietly hope the pollen count doesn’t immediately start going up again…

May 14: Me: “Why am I getting so many allergy symptoms today? The pollen count is low.”

Large dump truck drives backwards down the street, beeping loudly

Sound of a jackhammer

Random LOUD sounds of metal being bent in ways it doesn’t wanna

Wind kicks up the dust/dirt/etc. and launches it into the open windows of our home

Me: “Oh. That’s the problem.”

I take Benadryl.

Notes from Spring Pollen Season 2020 is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.

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