Keep a clean nose

Here's a little news-you-can-use info.

You remember how sick I was before Christmas? Well, I never really got over it. I had the usual resolution to start working out in the New Year, and still haven't done it once, because I haven't had a day when I didn't feel like total crud, Ferris.

It's morphed. Started out as upset stomach, turned into bronchitis, followed by asthma, followed by recurring bouts of the worst head cold/allergy symptoms I've experienced in many a day. I've done two courses of antibiotics, been on prednisone over a week in between, and in the last few weeks have been taking antihistamines and associated remedies every four hours, including in the middle of the night, and STILL haven't been able to stop my nose from running.

And when I talk runny nose, I'm talking incapacitating. Like you can't do anything but blow. Night before last, my wife was leaving the kitchen and asked me to mash the potatoes she had just cooked. I said I couldn't. Feeling guilty, I TRIED while she was out of the room, but it went like this — blow nose (and I'm talking fire hose here, not some dainty dabbing), throw away the tissue, wash hands, dry hands, pick up fork, turn to the potatoes, DROP fork, grab tissue, blow just in time, and so on. Had lunch yesterday with Clemson's President James Barker, and it was really embarrassing. I must have gone through half a box of tissues; poor President Barker.

I was taking antihistamines (diphenhydramine, Alka-Seltzer Plus) on top of other antihistamines (zyrtec, or, when I lose faith in that, allegra 180) and still couldn't stop it. The only way I could go to sleep was stop up my nose with cotton balls. Yeah, way more than you wanted to know; I getcha.

But I say all this not to gross you out or cry the blues, but to tell you about the drug that my allergist's office called in yesterday. It was a nasal spray called ipratropium bromide, the generic name (and of course, I got the generic) for something that is marketed as Atrovent.

It worked unbelievably well. No, I still don't feel great; my sinuses still hurt — but my nose is no longer like a busted fire hydrant. It's dry. I'm able to use my hands for extended periods for something other than reaching for the Puffs.

And I'm sort of shocked that in 55 years of fighting severe allergies, with all the major hay fever bouts I've had, I've never run across this before. Or if I did, I'd forgotten it.

So, in case you have similar problems, I thought I'd let you know about it. Look on this as one of those "ask your doctor about…" ads, except that I'm not getting paid for it. Which shows you what a terrible businessman I am. Maybe I should get an agent.

There's one cool side effect. All of a sudden, I understand "Subterranean Homesick Blues." Maybe that's what I've got. Seems as good a diagnosis as any. Just follow the links:

Johnny's in the basement
Mixing up the medicine
I'm on the pavement
Thinking about the government
The man in the trench coat
Badge out, laid off
Says he's got a bad cough

Wants to get it paid off

Look out kid
It's somethin' you did
God knows when

But you're doin' it again

Keep a clean nose
Watch the plain clothes
You don't need a weather man
To know which way the wind blows…

12 thoughts on “Keep a clean nose

  1. Birch Barlow

    As one who suffers from nearly year-round nasal allergies I can understand your suffering.
    But what I’m really interested in is reading more about your meeting with President Barker.

  2. bud

    Brad, your sinus issues sound very similar to my wife’s. She’s had surgery, two trips to the hospital including 5 days in ICU. She’s better, but the constant sinus issues are difficult to say the least. I’ll pass along the drug recommendation.

  3. Brad Warthen

    Glad to help, bud. God bless your wife.
    Birch, I was going to write about the Barker meeting last night at home. I took my notes up to my computer upstairs — and felt so crappy I ended up playing a computer game instead. (After all, I was on what I laughingly call my own time.) I just couldn’t concentrate.
    Very briefly, President Barker was in town to see legislators. He’s pushing for a lifting of the regulatory burden on the university. He says he’s all for transparency and accountability, but in these tough times he’d like to see some of the money spent paying people to dot i’s and cross t’s to teach or do research or something else more central to the mission. He asked why he can’t just jump through two regulatory hoops instead of six (which, if anything about the project changes, he has to jump through all over again). One example that sticks in my head: He sees the endowed chairs program as wonderful, of course. But he regrets that he has to employ two people to do nothing but handle paperwork compliance (to make sure the money is properly spent) on endowed chairs.
    I’m not sure I know enough yet about what he’s seeking to have a clear opinion about it. If I write about it, I’ll have to follow up and get more info. What we’re talking about is the perpetual balance you have in spending public money — everybody complains about “bureaucracy,” but everybody wants there to be SOMEBODY doing the paperwork to keep the expenditure accountable. So where do you draw the line on that?
    Speaking of public money — we are now down to where state taxpayers only provide 19 percent of Clemson’s budget. Less than a fifth. Which adds fuel to Barker’s fire. He asks whether it makes sense for a “minority shareholder” to be calling the shots to such a degree as the state currently does. He says that regulations that made sense when the state contributed 90 percent of what the university spent make less sense at 19 percent.
    Anyway, that’s a taste of our discussion…

  4. Birch Barlow

    And might I add that Sanford’s lack of concern for funding higher education in this state is the biggest reason why I share your disapproval of the man — especially considering I spent the whole of my college career in the Sanford era.
    The 19% figure just doesn’t come as a surprise to me.

  5. Bill C.

    Birch, I’m guessing that the fact that you are a diehard Democrat has nothing to do with your hatred of Gov. Sanford.

  6. David

    I feel ya man. I don’t know what it is, but the last month has been horrible…allergen wise that is. My wife and I have been miserable too, but nothing like what you’ve evidently been through.
    As Red Green says, I’m rootin for ya. We’re all in this together.

  7. Birch Barlow

    Bill C.,
    I must admit the thought never occurred to me. But that’s probably because I am not a Democrat — much less a diehard one. But interesting theory.
    And by the way, I do not hate Mark Sanford. I just think he’s done a poor job as governor of this state.
    Y’all remember to keep your stick on the ice.

  8. Brad Warthen

    Dang. It quit working. I was drowning last night. Couldn’t sleep much.
    I’m calling the doctor’s office this morning. Looks like I’ll have to go on the prednisone again. I doubt anything else will touch this.
    And York — marijuana smoke makes my nose run. Just being around it. But then, it’s beginning to look like life on this planet makes my nose run…

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