Monday evening I pick up my feet and sluggishly step into the tiny cubicle. Familiar faces and bodies occupy a majority of the seats, but I manage to snag one. I catch a quick glimpse of the clock on the wall. Only a few endless minutes until I'm summoned by Joan, the nurse. Today this normally chaotic atmosphere is rather tranquil, except for one solitary sound that overwhelms the peace - the heart-wrenching screams of an infant.
The minute hand of the time-keeper reaches six p.m. and Joan calls me into her office. Between the period of placing my foot in the doorway and sitting on the stool, I go through my usual anxiety attack. Would the intrusion of the syringes in my arms leave me in excruciating pain or would all be well after the storm has passed? The sleeves of my shirt are yanked up and I stare into a pair of unfamiliar eyes.
This isn't Joan. Rather, Joan is seated by her computer with soothing classical music floating through the room. This is a complete stranger. This unknown nurse fills the syringes with correct dosages. My body grows tense while my temperature skyrockets - like an angry geyser spewing its boiling contents. Sudden chills creep up my arms as she rubs an antiseptic on the projected targets.
Into the right arm, the mold-dust anti-allergen is injected. My face squishes together as I cringe from the shot. Every visit the amount in the syringe is increased, causing more soreness. Five seconds later the cat shot is pressed into my other arm. Again, I wince, but the pain isn't as great. Soothing Sarno cream, anti-itch lotion, is applied to the slightly bleeding bumps. I jump from the stool and leave that agonizing rat's nest of hell.
Just minutes, and I mean literally minutes, after I received the injections, the reactions come. Welcome, itchy eyes! You too, stiff muscles! And to put that last cherry on the sundae, I have to prolong my agony by waiting an extra half hour to ensure no adverse reactions.
I flop back into my chair and rummage through my bag of books, papers and junk. Out comes the biology book, but my concentration is lost. Across from me sits a hyperactive eight-year-old boy bothering his mother. A cork would be handy, so I could plug his mouth from further yapping. In the opposite corner is another sufferer. This particular man is usually here when I arrive. Since day one of my shots, he's done nothing but talk in my ear constantly, or snore loudly. Luckily, both the man and boy are quiet tonight.
Thirty minutes zoom by and my conversation with the other patients draws to an end. Up go my sleeves again. No swelling is detected, yet my arms still throb. I think I'll resort to Tylenol. Hopefully it will dull the pain. Back into the old pack goes my biology book and on goes the coat. Good-byes are exchanged and I make my departure from the allergy ward. No shots for two weeks! Oh, those injections! Allergy shots, ever had them?
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.