Sniffling in SF

As a kid, I got congested whenever I came to San Francisco. I usually blamed my grandfather’s drafty and dusty house but when I was finally tested for specific allergies, common coastal trees came up. It wasn’t the family house that was making me sick, it was those gorgeous trees that crawl up the Northern California coast.

I fight allergies daily with crummy medication. Call me crazy, but if I’m taking a daily pill, using a nasal spray and antihistamine eye drops, I think I should be allergy-free. But it doesn’t work like that. Despite my allergy med cocktails, there are times when my allergies take over and there’s very little I can do but sniffle along.

I suspect allergies are behind my massive sinus congestion and sore throat these last few days, but it could also be that darned common cold my cousin and her kids were suffering from in Tahoe last week.

Whatever the cause, I don’t cope well with being this intensely congested. I feel trapped in my own head, unable to breathe easily, sleep deeply, or eat well. It consumes nearly all of my senses: obviously I lose my sense of smell, since I can’t even breathe through my nose, and with my sense of smell impaired, my sense of taste suffers, too. Even my hearing is affected: my ears close up until I only hear a constant ocean-like sound, like when you press a shell up to your ear.

Decongestants can’t touch congestion like this. They make me tired, but no less stuffed up. But what is helping me cope is the summer produce from Saturday’s Farmers Market. Grapes, nectarines and strawberries all feel wonderful on my throat.

My throat is also grateful to BiRite Creamery for introducing two new out-of-this-world flavors: peanut butter ice cream with fleur de sel nuggets and fresh nectarine ice cream.

The King of Meats is helping too: I didn’t think I’d smell anything for days, but Fatted Calf’s tremendous bacon was able to cut through the congestion and fill my nose with its rich, fatty, smoky scent.

And Mr. WholeHog fires up hot toddies each night that I’m stuffed up with bourbon for him and brandy for the congested lady.

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