Woman thinks she’s dying, turns out it’s just hay fever

young woman sneezing due to pollen dust from flowersReturns to contemplating mortality biweekly instead of hourly

By Caroline Ho, Arts Editor

 

A young Vancouverite was relieved this past week to discover that she wasn’t the carrier of a deadly infectious disease after all, but just the usual springtime sniffles.

Anna Chiu, 20, had been convinced for days that she had contracted a fatal infection and her demise was surely imminent, but a consultation with her astrologist finally set her mind at ease by diagnosing her with hay fever, or some kind of allergy to pollen, or cherry blossoms, or dandelions, or exam-panicked college students, or something else related to the season; she wasn’t entirely sure.

Chiu first noticed her symptoms—runny nose, sore throat, watery eyes, and a foreboding quarter-life crisis—last Thursday when her nose began to drip uncontrollably and she began to sneeze  violently on the bus. She felt so physically ill that she had to ask a 35-week-pregnant woman to move from the priority seating.

One witness who wished to remain anonymous described the scene of the ailing Chiu as “something out of a B-list horror movie,” and said that fellow passengers were horrified by the risk of contagion. “She was sneezing into a tissue, like some kind of heathen,” said the witness. “Why would anyone do that when they have a perfectly good palm to sneeze into?”

Eventually making it home safely, Chiu said she proceeded to spend the next three hours browsing WebMD. She was relieved to find that she apparently did not have either the bubonic plague or syphilis, although she was more than a little alarmed to discover that all of her symptoms lined up with lupus.

She tried to visit a nearby doctor’s clinic the next day, but was blocked from the clinic by a crowd of loud angry Americans who were protesting the repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act, claiming that they had “only wanted to get rid of the Obamacare parts.”

The next few days of self-imposed quarantine, said Chiu, were utterly miserable. She reportedly went through 7.5 bottles of cough syrup, 23 boxes of tissues, 12 replies to casual acquaintances’ concerned texts of “How are you?” with “I think I’m dying,” and 41 melodramatic Facebook statuses that were nothing but edgy quotes about the futility of life.

Finally, in desperation, she turned to her weekly horoscope, which contained some vague platitude about being true to your emotions and getting more than five hours of sleep a night, and she realized the cause of her condition. “It was like everything suddenly made sense,” said Chiu. “It all clicked into place. The alignment of Neptune, the flowers in the gardens, the two continuous days without rain—it’s actually spring.”

Two Claritin pills later and suddenly Chiu could breathe without sounding like the unholy child of a vuvuzela and a fleet of modified-muffler Harley Davidsons.

Chiu said that she really should try to remember that her seasonal allergies come back every spring, instead of spending a week each year drafting another version of her will and deliberately omitting all her friends who didn’t wish her “Happy birthday” on Facebook.

But despite her self-pitying existential gloom, she admitted that there are positives to suffering from this annual ailment, as it allows her to continue griping about the weather and reasserting her status as a real Vancouverite.

“I hate spring,” she said. “I wish it would snow again.”

The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

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