Monday, September 22, 2008

Day 51: What are you going to do about... your nose?

I felt like I was leaving the plains. Wetter, surely, there were more trees, and even raccoons running about on the shore. I must be entering the midwest, or whatever its Canadian equivalent is. Even the air felt more humid, more like back in -

-- ACHOO --

- Missouri. I guess there is some ragweed about, and that's something to sneeze at.

Now this is going to be a sticky post.

I have always run in the fall; I mean, runny nose, runny eyes. It isn't the nice thick snot of a good head cold, but the continual running of a sticky faucet. My wastebasket and its environment would fill up with tissues, which had to be purchased in those economy packs of twelve or twenty-four boxes.

It became nearly impossible to sleep on my side because the mucous would accumulate in my nose so I couldn't breathe. Sleeping facedown just made my pillow wet and disgusting. If I slept on my back, the stuff fell back into my lungs, keeping my nose clear, but I would develop a hacking cough that lasted through the rest of the year, until the allergens returned and my nose started up again.

It's probably these allergies that made me fairly uninterested in athletics and physical activity when I was young. It wasn't until I was 22 that I discovered Claritin (Loratadine) helped considerably. The next spring I moved to an apartment on a statelong bike trail, and was soon doing century rides.

I quickly noticed that I had no significant allergies in Calgary. The dry, cooler climes were like heaven to my nose. But working east I finally found them again, and here in Canada they come a month early. I had hoped to chase summer down south on the Mississippi, but now I'm worried I'm going to be chasing allergy season, instead.

Now with my eyes blinded by run and sun, any plant with leaves looks like the despised ragweed, and some of the fences too. I didn't see the nasty fence in time to slow down. The post unexpectedly swung up when I hit the lower strands which cut up my left elbow enough to bleed.

I was a complete wreck by the time I stopped that evening. I knew I had brought some Loratadine with me, because at the beginning of the trip the bottle had spilled little tablets all over the place. That wasn't encouraging, though. Did I still have the bottle, and was there still anything left? I searched all through my first aid bag, my backpack where I had seen it last, before finally finding it with my personal hygiene supplies.

There were plenty of pills. Since I hadn't needed any in Calgary they were two years expired, but what could I do? It took effect surprisingly rapidly so I was able to sleep that night.

Day 51 ended: 50*35.319N, 103*00.361W


Hutch said...

Hooray! Another topic comes into my realm! Time to put on the professor coat and the horn rimmed glasses for another biological diatribe based on your incredibly accurate and insightful musings:

Raccoons were originally grouped into a number of different taxonomies but most especially the bear. In fact, one of the first taxonomists to explore the subject after the first recorded description of the raccoon by Christopher Columbus put them in the genus Ursus with the rest of the bears. Orginally calling them "long tailed bear" (in latin, of course) then revising that name later on into "washer bear". I actually prefer the name washer bear, and perhaps I will call them that from now on. Maybe it will catch on and I will set taxonomy back several hundred years....or maybe not.

Furthermore, while the fossil record suggests a closer link with, say, ferrets or weasels, the molecular analysis suggests the closest family link to the raccoon is with bears.

And if you'll indulge the discussion of pandas for a moment, these have been historically bounced around between being classified with bears and classified with raccoons, though molecular analysis suggests the bear classification is more appropriate, however, the red panda is still up in the air.

Kevin Saff said...

The Winnipeg zoo actually had a raccoon exhibit (not to mention white-tailed deer -- I was looking for grey squirrel cages, but couldn't find any). Their sign said raccoons, bears, pandas are all descended from a carnivorous tree-dwelling animal 10mya.

Yes, washer bear seems like a fine name.