For three months of the winter that seemingly would not end we waited for the dawn of Spring.

Now I’m waiting for a chance to enjoy it.

At age 62, I’ve apparently developed hay fever and related allergies. Spring has become my enemy.

It began Thursday as I rode my Harley along a country road. Suddenly, my eyes teared up and sneezing fit hit — something you don’t want while cruising along on a two-wheeler at 50-plus miles per hour.

I took it easy going home but had to stop often to clear out my sinuses and dry my eyes. Picked up some over-the-counter allergy medicine.

On Friday, the symptoms were worse: watery eyes, constant sneezing fits and constantly draining sinuses. Stayed in bed and nursed the conditions.

Woke up feeling better on Saturday. New River Valley Harley-Davidson had a bike event scheduled so I rode over to eat some free lunch and listen to country music. Later, I headed west on U.S. 460 towards Pearisburg, planning to pick up Rte. 100 for a leisurely ride back to Floyd County.

Heading into a turn at 60 miles per hour, my eyes teared up again and I lost vision — something you don’t want to do at speed on a motorcycle. My eyes cleared just in time to see the side of the road approaching. I turned sharply, braked and brought the bike to a stop just as a sneezing fit hit.

Took a while to calm down. I walked off the nerves from the near crash, blew my nose, and climbed back on the bike and rode into Pearisburg at a more sedate pace, finding a drug store and grabbing some Sudafed. Headed for a nearby Dairy Queen, drank a bottle of water and waited for the medicine to kick in before headed home.

By Sunday morning, my eyes were swollen and red along with non-stop sneezing. Went through two boxes of Kleenex. Called the doctor first thing Monday. She took one look at my red eyes and swollen sinuses and said: “Allergies.”

How?  I grew up around here. Never had allergies or hay fever in my life.

Doesn’t matter. Apparently, Hay Fever can strike at any time, even if you’ve never had it before.

Notes the Mayo Clinic Web Site:

Hay fever affects up to 30% of all Americans, including up to 40% of children and 10%-30% of adults. Over $1 billion is spent each year in this country to treat this disorder, and millions of school and work days each year are lost by sufferers of hay fever symptoms. These figures are probably an underestimate because many of those affected may attribute their discomfort to a chronic cold. Although childhood hay fever tends to be more common, this condition can occur at any age and usually occurs after years of repeated inhalation of allergic  substances. The incidence of allergic disease has dramatically increased in the U.S. and other developed countries over recent decades.

Hay fever is a misnomer. Hay is not a usual cause of this problem, and it does not cause fever. Early descriptions of sneezing, nasal congestion, and eye irritation while harvesting field hay promoted this popular term.

So I’m on a treatment program that includes allergy medication, anti-biotics and codeine-laced cough syrup to offset the chronic bronchitis that always sets in when I get a respiratory ailment. I have to wait a few days to see how my body reacts to the medicine before trying to ride a motorcycle.

The constant watery eyes and blurred vision make it difficult to do simple things, like write this article. I have to stop several times to dry my eyes and let my vision clear.

I was looking forward to Spring Fever — but not this.

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