Sorry, folks. The guide to nursing students will have to wait. Right now I feel rather like an old car that suddenly has things going wrong with it all over.
The count so far is:
1. One left ankle that's still complaining when I try to put weight on it in a certain way
2. One right arm that's having a flare-up of ulnar neuropathy
3. One left deltoid that's developed an odd, itchy reaction to the flu shot I (miraculously) managed to get yesterday
4. Several square feet of skin that's now covered, not just with an itchy bumpy rash, but also with hives in weird spots (back of one thigh, front of one shoulder).
The plan for today, therefore, is to stick my check in the bank, swing by the early-voting place and vote, and then hit the drug store for things I avoid, like Benadryl. I wouldn't normally touch that stuff, but being goofy and sleepy and weird for twelve hours, even with the attendant hallucinations, beats looking like something that ought to be sitting in rags, bowl held out beseechingly, on the street of a medieval walled city.
Once many years ago, when I still worked in a large college bookstore, I had an interesting Benadryl reaction. Actually, all of us had interesting Benadryl reactions.
It was during the fall rush, the busiest time of year for textbook departments. Those of us who normally worked in the front office placing orders were drafted to help unpack wholesale order after wholesale order of used textbooks. Those damned things come in by the freightload and are in all sorts of shape--from soaked in perfume and god-knows-what to pristine and lovely.
Fall here is bad for allergies. Fall in a dusty warehouse with only fans to cool the place is worse. Fall in a dusty, fan-cooled warehouse with several tons of textbooks is one circle of Hell.
So we all--eight of us--had been pumping the Benadryl for several days as we cleaned books, priced 'em, and tried to get 'em into the hands of the students. If 25 milligrams of diphenhydramine works well, 50 must work better...and if you've built up such a tolerance that 50 will still let you sniffle and sneeze, go on up to 75. At which point you'll begin hallucinating.
And if you're working with seven other people who've also been snacking on antihistamines, you'll soon find that *all* of you are hallucinating. What's more, you're all hallucinating roughly the same things. For us, this meant ten- and twelve-hour days lifting literally two tons apiece while small fuzzy black things scuttled at the edge of our vision.
Lather and rinse that bad boy for ten days, no time off, and see how you're doing at the end. You lose your ability to gibber on about day 5 and become irretrievably punchy on day 8.
And *that*, my chickens, is why I'm going to hide all the sharp things, make sure there's plenty of farina in the house, and lock all the doors before I take my first antihistamine today. If I start dreaming I'm back at the bookstore, at least I won't be moving other peoples' books around.