Are you one of the many sufferers of Oklahoma allergies? Think about it. My friend, La Nita, called me this week to visit and I asked her if she went to church this past Sunday. She said she had gone to Sunday School but was unable to stay for church because she was sneezing so badly. She was miserable. She said, “It is ragweed time.” Fall is here, folks.

We had a doctor friend who had practiced medicine back East somewhere with a specialty in allergies. He was barely eking out a living. He moved his practice to this great state and was so busy he could hardly find time to go to lunch. He told us once that this area of the United States is the allergy capital of the world and he was glad he moved here.

We have dust all the time. We have pollen all the time. We have mold all the time. We have cedar trees, and cottonwood trees, and Bermuda grass and wheat chaff and elm trees and goldenrod and ragweed and sand and every kind of allergy-causing substance known to man right here in our own back yards. We cannot escape it. It stays with us in the spring when things are blooming out and in the fall during harvest time. Is it any wonder that we all sniff and blow and snort and sneeze and cough all the time, and have watery eyes?

Even our pets suffer allergies in Oklahoma. Our precious little dog had grass allergies and other contact allergies all year round. Our wonderful vet tried everything, and I mean everything, to find help for him that would not harm him in the long run. After years of research by medical experts, they finally came up with a med for dogs that itch for no apparent reason. Richey finally quit scratching and was a happy, healthy dog. We felt so sorry for him, but we had seemingly tried everything and he still scratched and was so uncomfortable (the dog, not the vet).

It seems allergies to medicines are the worst. People can have reactions to antibiotics or other medications develop all at once after the patient has taken them for years with no side effects. I (with my vast medical training and knowledge. Ha!) assumed all allergies were caused by soap or food. Well, I am wrong; allergies are often due to medications. Sometimes the cure is worse than the sickness. I did not know allergies were developed suddenly. I thought we were born with them.

I feel so sorry for people who are allergic to foods. It is no laughing matter to those who have terrible reactions to chocolate, gluten, peanut butter and/or peanut oil, eggs, milk products, fruits, vegetables, and most anything edible. It is very difficult for them to dine out and know what they are ordering. It is even worse for little kids who are deprived of popcorn, and ice cream and other goodies that kids enjoy at parties. They must feel terribly left out of things.

Many people are allergic to animals, including cats, dogs, birds and other pets. They begin to cough and wheeze and their eyes water just being around pets or where pets have been. I recently went on a weekend trip with dear friends and as soon as we picked up their dog from boarding him, she began to sneeze, her eyes swelled, her nose ran and she had trouble breathing. She had a terrible allergic reaction. She is deathly allergic to pet dander.

We had a neighbor who is very, very allergic to wasp stings. The first time we met Tom, his eyes were swollen shut. He could barely see through the little slits in his eyelids. My brother is the same way with bumblebees. He has to be very careful when he mows the hay meadows that he doesn’t drive the tractor over a nest. He will abandon the tractor and field, if need be, to avoid being stung. He carries an EpiPen with him because of his allergies.

We invited some dear friends over to our ranch once to ride horses and spend the day out in the outdoors picnicking and seeing the countryside. We had a great time, except for their oldest daughter, Nancy, who was deathly allergic to horses. We had not gone a mile before her eyes swelled and she could hardly breathe. She was so allergic to horses and barns and hay and was absolutely miserable all day until we got back to Enid.

Another allergy that occurred that same day was after we got back to Enid, the chiggers took over. No amount of doctoring will make the irritation go away. Chigger bites can actually make a person sick and run a temperature. One doesn’t really know they have been bitten until about eight hours after they strike silently ... then it is too late! Needless to say, we had an eventful outing in Pawnee County that day! Oh what awful memories and allergies!

This little poem sums it up:

“I couldn’t do a thing today. I had asthma and was wheezing

“I had a stuffy nose, red eyes, and rash, and some very powerful sneezing,

“And itchy eyes with blisters. I was blotchy, red and hivey,

“Like chiggers, stings, or bites, and a patch like poison ivy.

“I had trouble with my breathing, It could have been from mold.

“But I’m sure it was from allergies, and not a “common cold.”

“I have suffered! It was awful! But I’ll feel much better soon.

“The pills are finally kicking in to save me from my doom.”

We have heard of people who say they are allergic to work. Oh, sure! It does make a good excuse. But I don’t cook like I once did, but I still enjoy it. I grew up on this recipe served with mashed potatoes and creamed peas.

Salmon patties

Ingredients

1 (14.75 oz.) can of salmon, drain and remove bones and skin

2 eggs beaten

1/2 cup finely crushed crackers

1 tbsp. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper (or lemon pepper)

1/4 cup grated onion

1/4 cup finely chopped celery

Vegetable oil for frying

Directions

Mix all ingredients together (except oil). Heat oil in skillet. Form into five or six patties. Place in skillet and cook until brown on one side. Turn and cook on other side. Do not crowd in skillet. Add more oil if necessary as it cooks down. Sometimes I add 2 tbsp. ketchup and 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce to the mixture before making into patties. I have even added finely grated carrots (about 1/4 cup). Dipping them in an additional egg and rolling in bread crumbs make them real crispy. Then fry as usual. Note: Some people use tuna or mackerel in place of salmon.

Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food for Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.

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