Marketman’s Hay Fever Woes


Spring in New England. Finally, after a strange and late winter, plants are emerging from an unusually long hibernation. Imagine a VIGINTILLION SPERM floating wildly in the air and you inhale thousands of them with each breath you take as you stroll languidly through ahay2Central Park, attempting to overcome jetlag. A vigintillion is a number 1 followed by 63 zeroes or equivalent to 1,000 decillion, if you don’t subscribe to the American numerical system (e.g., you are European). Sounds pretty yucky, huh? Then take that vision further, and your body, now aware it is being invaded by airborne sperm, creates special antibodies to fight the intruders. Then as a result of the antibodies, your body releases histamines into your system, causing itching, swelling, congestion, nasal drip, loss of smell, scratchy throat, rashes, etc. that results in a wicked case of hay fever. Hay fever is actually an allergic reaction to the inhaled pollen (sperm) of grasses, trees and flowers. It does not affect everybody nor does it strike with the same vengeance from year to year. In many cases, its severity is linked to the pollen count in the air. And when I arrived in New York in early May, every frigging grass and tree in the Northeast United States must have agreed to spread their seed (sperm, yes the phrase is literal) at the exact moment after I cleared customs and immigration at JFK airport…

The result? The worst case of hay fever I have ever experienced. And we’re not talking Claritin, Zyrtec or other such over-the-counter anti-histamine (see the logic ahay3of the name) medications would make right. By day 3 in New York, my lungs had practically shut down and in the wee hours of the morning I could barely breath and frankly, thought it would be a cruel and slow death before sunrise and breakfast. I exaggerate, but just. After a week of misery and staying mostly indoors in an airconditioned room despite the 40-50 degree weather outdoors, I finally got myself some serious medication, a few wickedly expensive, doctor-prescribed, steroidal pills (I have forgotten their name) that served to open my lungs back up overnight, plus some of my favorite antibiotics (ever seen a biot?) to ensure that I didn’t come down with something worse than “just” the allergies.

At any rate, the hay fever really did put a bit of a damper on things. My taste buds and appetite were slightly affected and my desire to just get up and go were really constrained. But Marketman loves New York, and this was a designated eating and shopping trip, so despite the floating plant sperm and resulting hay fever, stay tuned for several, possibly dozens, of posts on the recent trip to New York! From flowers, markets, restaurants, kitchen stores, shoe shopping, ingredients, dinners, silver, china, to a rant or two on pre-departure and post-arrival snafus, I hope you will enjoy this mini-series on “Marketman does New York 2007”!!!


23 Responses

  1. Hi, I came across your blog through blog links. Your articles are interesting. I’ll look forward to your NY posts. I’m off to NY in two weeks to visit my friend. It will a short trip though – one week only.

  2. oh that’s such a bummer on a great vacation, but am still glad you were able to get those medications on time. i also get the nasty allergies here though am used to taking advil for colds and rhinitis in liquicaps everytime i feel like i won’t be able to endure the sneezing and drips.. we’ll be waiting for your posts and of course your photos!! hope your doin’ pretty fine now..

  3. mag arrived via NY Athens Antibes… thanks
    dont tell me that hay fever… i need 100g of clarityn the captain gives me like 10g does not work on me.

  4. Yay! Glad that you’re back and sorry at the same time to hear about your terrible and nasty allergy experience.Looking forward to your NY posts!We hope all’s well with you and family!

  5. Not that am insensitive to your hay fever super duper misadventure but is the dog in the photo a terrier or what? Mighty cute :–)

  6. Bummer, what a way to start a vacation.
    We have loads of mature pine trees grown all over. I dread the months of March until early May. Everything is dusted yellow and green, as in everything, the cars, the deck, the patio furnitures and the cats loves rolling in it and brings it inside the house, I so hate cleaning it up. I do get hay fever but not as bad as yours, and it’s terrible you didn’t enjoy the first few days of your vacation.

  7. woooow, just reading this post, i think i can feel my nose clogging up and my throat constricting! but, MM, did you get to have a frozen hot fudge sundae at serendipity?

  8. You are a profile in courage Marketman (tic). I just wish that the sting of this intense bout of allergy was somehow redressed by new culinary epiphanies and reaquaintance with previous NYC discoveries such as, for instance, a square of Rigoletto from Maison du Chocolat or a scoop or two of gelato at Grom.

  9. Apicio, you are reading my mind and itinerary…yes, Grom, La Maison, a steakplace, a candy wholesaler, the new Asprey shop, my favorite Il Laboratorio del Gelato, a dinner at Cendrillion incognito, dessert from Balthazar, shopping at Sur La Table, a day at Woodbury outlet mall, a rash of single use silver implements from Sister, flowers, Union Square market, blood oranges, Meyer lemons, pastry, Hot Chef watering hole, Lobster in Boston, etc. all coming up in the days ahead! How’s that for a sneak preview?! :)

  10. Yikes, sorry to hear about the sickness. Getting sick abroad is the absolute worst (especially when you’re in a country where they don’t understand what you’re trying to say).

    My asthma actually clears up when I’m in the US (cleaner air and all that).

  11. It’s called the “starburst effect”. Mild winter, cool, wet spring and hence the record pollen count on the east coast… everything bloomed the minute you got here.

  12. I have allergic rhinitis which is similar. Zirtec works for me but only at bedtime because it makes you drowsy. Also try Nasonex, an anti-histamine nasal spray, but it is steroidal so don’t take it for too long.

    I can also direct you to an excellent allergy specialist in Asian Hospital who got my rhinitis under control.

    Looking forward to hearing about those Lobsters in the Ruff!

  13. mr market man! :)this “comment” is out of this world. but i’m desperate. what i’m interested in is bout ur budbud kabog see,my thesis is about millet. i’ve tasted budbud kabog just recently and it was wonderful! maayo na lang naa ka recipe..hehe..anyway, i was wondering, do you happen to know the cultivar or variety of the millet you used? pls tell me, through email, if you do…thanks a lot! ;] please po…thanks a lot! ;)

  14. Hi MM! Welcome back! I’m sorry to hear about your hay fever. From what you wrote, you had a really bad case. It’s really a bummer you had to start your vacation that way. But seem like that didn’t deter you from enjoying yourself on the remaining days of your vacation. Like your other followers, I can’t wait for you posts with photos of your trip. I hope you’re feeling better now. Take care!

  15. glai, I have a post on millet, here, try reading that. Otherwise, you need to go to the purdue university website or other websites featuring the grain millet. Teresa, thanks for the concern, I am recovering…oddly, slower than I thought, the pollen must really be stuck in my lungs!

  16. Marketman, I can totally relate to your misery. When I visited NYC with my kids, my son and I were miserable with hay fever. It was mid-April last year when we visited. Ok, we were just physically miserable but we otherwise loved the city. No amount of nasal congestion could stop me from exploring the place. I had, in fact, forgotten about that until your post resurrected those memories that had been buried in the back of my brain.

    I am looking forward to reading about your vacation. Your foodie trips in NYC always make me drool.

  17. Nice to know you are alright.

    i am not sure if it is just me but it seems all your fonts are larger.

  18. Still suffering from hay fever? I hear Nasalcrom is a good over-the-counter nasal spray that coats the nasal passages & protects the nose from pollen & all those air-borne allergens. I hear it takes a week of continued use for it to fully work, but it’s supposed to be a safer, more effective alternative to decongestants & antihistamines. Note that it’s PREVENTIVE medicine, so it doesn’t work to get rid of already existing symptoms. Haven’t tried it myself, but you might want to ask the local pharmacist about it.

    I’ve had my own bouts of hay fever to deal with (not abroad, fortunately), so I can totally relate to the misery.=S Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  19. Love your site. I found about this site from reading about the Blog Awards. And you truly deserved your award, I must say.

    Isn’t that just a’re in New York in spring/summer and you have hay fever. That’s exactly the same reason why we postponed our 3 week (like you) honeymoon. 4th honeymoon, actually. I have the most horrible case of rhinitis that when bunched up with hay fever can render me almost comatose. It happened to me on my last trip to NY and on the night before coming home!! My husband insisted that it was an allergic reaction to the Grilled Portobello mushroom sandwich I had but I knew better.

    I’ve been on medication since. My pulmonologist gave me Flixotide spray which I used for a month then whenever I feel an attack coming I take it for 3 days straight. It’s been ok.

    I’ll be reading your posts to prepare for our honeymoon in NY September. It’ll be fall by then so no worries.


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