Many moons ago when I was a kid I had a horrible rash on my arms. The doctor gave me a special lotion but it was so itchy all the time, and I was experiencing constant colds. My GP sent me to an allergist.

I have never forgotten sitting in the exam room with hives growing on my arm, waiting for the doctor to tell me which allergens they were linked to. I wasn’t allowed to scratch, I could not think of anything else.

I have never forgotten being forced to blow into a tube that was attached to a computer. The nurse stood beside me telling me to ‘keep blowing’ even when I had nothing left. I hated every moment.

A couple of years ago I noticed both my allergies and my asthma getting worse. The asthma had all but disappeared when I was a teenager, only to rear its ugly head again in my 30s – made worse by cold air, which we have in abundance here in Ottawa.

So my doctor gave me a prescription for an inhaler, and then another one after I got a bit of pneumonia and then bronchitis. And then a prescription for an antihistamine when the over-the-counter version just wasn’t cutting it any more, and then a referral to an allergist.

While I am anxiously anticipating the two hours of sitting, waiting for the hives and not allowed to scratch, the worse part so far has been the ban on meds for 48 hours prior.

Itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, itchy, irritated skin. All the things the commercials tell you. I’ve been waiting a year for this appointment, and the revelation that I had to go without meds for 48 hours nearly made me cancel.

But if they find out I’m allergic to my puppy, I’m just going to have to live with it. That’s my boy.

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