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Eric: Technically, a snark about a webcomic. Technically.

(From Tweep.com. Click on the thumbnail for full sized oh god how I relate to that!)

First off, you should understand something. For days, I have been plagued by caffeine headaches. Nasty ones. Waking up in the morning with them. Driven insane by them. And coffee and ibuprofin didn't seem to touch them. Thus, my entries have been shorter than normal, my attention worse.

It took other folks, like my boss and Wednesday, to say "you know, that doesn't sound like caffeine withdrawal, Eric." No one ever claimed I was bright. So I spoke to my doctor. And he said it sounded like I was having acute sinus headaches (though not facemask ones) from allergies.

"But I don't have allergies," I said.

"Yeah, except maybe you do," he said. "I'm the doctor, and you're not." So he recommended I try some allergy stuff.

I did so, using generic benadryl last night at ten.

First off, the headache? Gone. Clearly, I have allergies. Or at least, bad sinus headaches that don't act the way sinus headaches ever did before with me.

Secondly, it's over twelve hours later and I'm still high as a Republican given unrestricted access to an IPO. So if this seems incoherent or downright silly, you know why. WHEE! THE COLORS!

I don't think we can call this particular edition of Tweep a true shout out, though Ben did acknowledge some influence by my description of Jesus Kids on Espresso. All I know is, I've been there. I've sat and worked out horrible fates of loud, screaming children.

I went back to that coffee shop last night. There were no screaming children. However, it remains sterile where before it was alive and organic. But clearly they recognized that there was a sense of loss and some discontent with the decisions they made, because they've now cut their hours.

Wait. What?

Anyway, as I was leaving last night, there was a spontaneous municipal fireworks display. Seriously. Right where my car was parked, I had a perfect view of a tremendous display of fireworks. I have no idea why. Perhaps they were celebrating Thursday. Or it was National July 28th Day. Or something. No freaking clue. Still. BOOM!

I told you I was high. Good comic strip, though.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at July 29, 2005 10:39 AM


Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at July 29, 2005 12:26 PM

That's weird. Last night, there was a fireworks display near my house, too. I'll grant you we both live in New England, but about 100 miles apart. I also have no clue as to why.

As for allergies, are you going to get tested to find out what you're allergic to? Quite worth it, especially if you've developed an allergy to something you regularly eat.

Comment from: Pseudowolf posted at July 29, 2005 12:50 PM

This may be a New England "thing", the seemingly-spontaneous fireworks. I was driving through some very hilly terrain in New England at night and noticed a whole bunch of fireworks going off on the side of a hill in the distance. Very surreal, but kinda cool at the same time.

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at July 29, 2005 2:22 PM

People often develop allergies at our time of life. Of course, I moved to Allergen Central (i.e. Kansas) a few years ago, so I may simply have run into a bunch of stuff I've always been allergic to but didn't know it until I entered "25000 parts per cubic meter" Land.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at July 29, 2005 2:34 PM

One New Year's Eve, a fellow was escorting me from the el stop. Midnight struck as we walked down an alleyway near his house, so he kissed me. That's when the sound of explosions started.

"Oh, that's romantic. Fireworks."

"No, in this area, it's traditional to fire your gun into the air at midnight on New Year's Eve."

This will remap your expectations of what random explosions are very, very quickly.

Comment from: abb3w posted at July 29, 2005 3:50 PM

I have a somewhat similar response from real or most generic Benadryl-type medicines, but it's not primarily the Diphenhydramine. It's the FD&C red color used. Most of the "inert" FD&C color series causes what me doctor euphemistically calls an "idiosyncratic reaction" for me, acting as a stimulant slightly milder than methamphetamine.

I suggest looking for a "dye-free" generic version; CVS carries one in a gel-cap, so you can probably find one at your local pharmacy chain. The cost difference is usually negligible to nonexistant.

As for fireworks, humans don't need much reason to start playing with them.

Comment from: Reinder Dijkhuis posted at July 29, 2005 5:14 PM

Wait wait wait wait. Allergies can give you headaches?

I'm going to have to murder my old doctor, and my current doctor now. 25 years of regular headaches (and I'm 33 - those things started early), with me being known to be allergic for all sorts of stuff all that time, and nobody, NOBODY told me. Curse the medical establishment here, curse them to DOOM!

Comment from: Reinder Dijkhuis posted at July 29, 2005 5:15 PM

I also want to slaughter the Opera-hating programmers at Typekey, by the way.

Today, I'm a one-man killing machine, with a splitting headache.

Comment from: larksilver posted at July 29, 2005 7:41 PM

Okay, so the coffee shop scene there? Too funny.

Allergy headaches are the pits, particularly the ones that aren't facemask headaches. The older I get, the worse they become, and the more things kick them off.

For that matter, since the birth of my son, I get ice-pick headaches over all sorts of smells, too: cigarette smoke, perfume, gasoline, kitty poopy (recent discovery since The Rescue), some food smells, any chemical smell, and so on. Pretty much any really intense odor, particularly if it's a manmade smell, goes straight to my head, and not in a good way. Sometimes, the pain will hit before I'm even consciously aware of the smell. Hrm. I wonder if this has any bearing on my increasingly hermit-like existence, wherein I dislike going out among other people who might, oh, I don't know, be smoking, or wear strong perfume. nah.

About three times a year, I get a "real" sinus headache, one that gets bad enough that it's near-migraine-level in intensity. Then, the only relief comes from a supremely hot (as in lobster-red skin after) bath, full submersion of my entire aching self, lights out, for as long as the hot water lasts. Sometimes, it's enough to let me sleep.

And yet, none of the usual allergens seem to apply. So.. sometimes, our bodies just do weird shit. Damnit.

Comment from: Liz posted at July 29, 2005 8:44 PM

I have never heard of FD&C dyes having that sort of reaction, though when you think about it, it seems odd that they ever put anything of the sort in something used to treat allergic reactions. Benadryl does the exact opposite to me - I have to go to bed and sleep immediately, for about 12 hours, or I am very grumpy and groggy. Generally it's best reserved for allergic reactions in the sense of breaking out in hives or a rash.

I would recommend trying something like Claritin (though be wary of Claritin-D in the evenings - my mom can't sleep after she takes it). If that's enough to keep the headaches under control, and if they're a fairly sporadic occurrence, there's probably not any need to go to an allergist. 32 footsteps suggested the possibility of food allergies, which seems unlikely unless Eric has eaten the same thing for the past few days. Allergy shots will work wonders for severe seasonal allergies, though.

Comment from: Miklon posted at July 29, 2005 11:23 PM

The fireworks were for Dover's Night Out. There were carnival attractions & vendors set up down the street from the cafe. The Community Band (of which I was a member of last night)was playing down at the band shell. Right after we finished Stars and Stripes Forever the fireworks started. It was probably the greatest moment in my performance career.


That's the article with a very nice picture.

Comment from: gwalla posted at July 29, 2005 11:45 PM

Sounds like that coffee place is dying.

Comment from: JEisenberg posted at July 30, 2005 3:39 AM

I would second the recommendation for "Claritin" (better called Loratadine, now that the generic version is available).

Although it can cost a dollar a pill when sold by the original brand next to check-out counters, I've bought bottles of 100 Loratadine pills for $5.00 at my pharmacy. It should be just as effective as diphenhydramine ("Benadryl") without the drowsy / loopy side effects. It also lasts almost 12 hours and comes in small pills; convenient if you want to keep a supply at all times.

Pseudoephedrine (the stuff added to Claritin-D, I believe, as well as many cold and sinus preparations) is a mild stimulant for some. However, it really help to dry up mucus secretions in the nasal passages; my wife finds that it helps her sinus headaches by reducing the presure and swelling somewhat. Ibuprophen may also help in combination with the two allergy medications, if it doesn't tend to clear up right away.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at July 30, 2005 10:07 AM

I've known far too many people who don't respond to loratadine at all. (They then end up not responding to desloratadine, either.)

It's still prescription everywhere but Canada, AFAICT, but the US FDA have at least just approved generics for fexofenadine with and without pseudoephedrine. (Literally. The non-pseudoephedrine approval came in twelve days ago.) This is Allegra in North America and Telfast everywhere else.

Comment from: kirabug posted at July 30, 2005 12:40 PM

Ah, sinuses. Had surgery back in '98 to open mine, but I still get infections about once a year. Decongestants have done nothing. Claritin caused me nosebleeds (another of those "idiosyncratic reations" that never make the labels) and pseudoephederine is good, but not very powerful OTC.

Almost strangely, the best decongestant I ever took in my life was Metabolife - actual ephederine - which did bupkis for my waistline, but oh, heaven, my sinuses were clear. Y'know, I kind of miss it for that. I thought about stocking up before it was banned...

Anyway, Nasonex (nasal steroid) has been the answer for me, but you have to not mind squirting stuff up your nose. Next to that, I use hot salsa, caffeine (bronchiodilator), and hot showers.

Comment from: Darth Paradox posted at July 30, 2005 1:27 PM

Or a nice big chunk of wasabi. That'll clear you right out.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at July 30, 2005 2:34 PM

Two bulbs of garlic crushed over a sirloin.

Comment from: gwalla posted at July 30, 2005 3:51 PM

Wasabi, or Chinese mustard. Woo!

BTW, pseudoephedrine isn't "a stimulant for some people". It's a stimulant, period. You know that ephedra weight-loss stuff that was in the news because some ballplayer died from taking it? Same substance. Pseudoephedrine is just ephedra that's been made in a lab rather than extracted from a plant.

Comment from: JEisenberg posted at July 30, 2005 4:17 PM

Wednesday, thanks for the heads-up on fexofenadine. I know that loratadine doesn't work for everyone, but there was no cheap alternative until now. I will have to ask the pharmacy to order some.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at July 31, 2005 3:41 AM

Okay, the cumulative level of expertise here on Virtually Anything Ever? Absolutely frightening. I swear to God, the next post could be about the anatomical quirks of dingo kidneys, and a dozen posters would happen to have spent the summer working on, if not the kidneys themselves, then at least the bacteria most prevalent in the gastrointestinal systems. And a couple others would start a discussion comparing them to bacteria in wombat bladders. Because they could.

I love this place! (Not part of the expertise, just part of the chatter)

Comment from: quiller posted at July 31, 2005 3:35 PM

Another comic added to my list, will the madness never stop!

Comment from: Kate Sith posted at July 31, 2005 10:47 PM

Comic consumed!

Added it to the list. 'M gonna have to start splitting these lists up some more, cos I think it's just too much to load all in one go. ^^;;

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