Friday, November 19, 2010

Bugs part 1

I have hayfever.  This is a new thing for me since moving to New Zealand, as I am sure I never had it in England.  In fact, I remember faking hayfever at primary school, so I didn’t have to play on the school field at lunch time, and could hang out in the playground with the other cool kids.

I had an allergy test last year to determine the exact cause of my hayfever…actually, hayfever is a pretty rubbish word for something that makes your entire face feel like it is being gnawed by hungry termites.  I think I should come up with a new name for it, based on the symptoms it produces – streaming nose, alternately watering then crusty eyes, bouts of sneezing, feeling like all your eyelashes have just decided to molt simultaneously and are scraping their way round your cornea like a sadistic synchronized swimming team.

It should be called Itchy Face Torture.

So, I have Itchy Face Torture, and my allergy tests confirmed that I have an allergy to rye grass.  I thought rye was something in that very healthy brown bread people pretend to like, along with buckwheat and falafel, but oh no; it is what NZ dairy farmers grow to feed their cows.  So we moved into the countryside and the Itchy Face Torture began.  I am usually the sort of person happy to load up on appropriate medication and get on with things, so I am not used to having to suffer through discomfort (except with childbirth, but that’s a whole other blog post), but as I am breastfeeding, I cannot take anything that would get into my bloodstream, and therefore into the breast milk.

I have a nasal spray which works for about 20 minutes, and 3 types of eye drops; one from the pharmacy, one from the doctor and one from the surreal herbalist in the airport which Tareka refers to as hippy juju medicine.  So I basically squirt my mucous membranes every 20 minutes and soldier on.

Along with Itchy Face Torture, I am learning just how much of a townie I really am.  Now I’ve grown a few of my own veggies in a little patch of garden before, and bemoaned the usual garden pests – slugs, snails, goldfish-memory forgetting to water the plants – but being out in proper countryside has brought me into contact with a whole load of new animals trying to either eat me, my crop or take over my house.  I am fortunate that pretty much all the bugs in NZ are non-toxic ones (unlike Australia where you are under threat of death from anything with more than 2 legs, or even less if you count the snakes), but that is cold comfort when they are sucking your life-blood from the back of your knee.

The trouble is that a lot of the bugs trying to systematically destroy my hard work in my little veg patch are comic-book cute.  It’s the ultimate defense mechanism “I’m going to decimate your pumpkins but you can’t kill me cos I look like THIS!”


Tiff said...

Have you tried eating local honey daily? Or at least honey produced in a rye grass area. Challenges your immune system and helps to 'vaccinate' it. Has helped me in the past..

Louise said...

I can't see how that would work, as grass is pollinated by the wind, not bees.

Tiff said...

Bees are pollinated by grass though surely. Bees are in wind and so is pollen and bees are all fluffy and must get covered in grass pollen too? Obv they don't actively collect it, but it's prolly in there? Perhaps SCIENCE can tell us!