Bad Breath

While at an appointment with my allergist at the beginning of the summer, a breathing test revealed my lung capacity was not what it used to be. Neither are the coordinates of my breasts.

To give all the allergens just hanging around outside an all-access, open invitation, and equal opportunity to waft into my body, she prescribed a nasal spray, and an Albuterol fast-acting rescue inhaler I was to use for the rest of the summer.

Rescue inhaler

I remembered how to use the nasal spray, so that was a no-brainer. But, it had been years since I’d needed to use Albuterol, so I thought I should read the directions located inside the box.

It’s a good thing I read them while inside my air-conditioned house instead of waiting until I was on the hiking tour I’d planned later that humid, 90-degree day through the smoke-stacks of Gary, Indiana. (It’s a joke, Mom. And I mean no disrespect to Gary, the original home of The Jackson Family.)

droopy inhaler 2

It took about 15 minutes for me to be able to pry the instructions out of the box because they were Oragamied around and underneath the inhaler, and then held in place by a tiny glop of that rubbery sticky stuff.

Why did the manufacturer think a tiny glop of that rubbery sticky stuff was necessary? Is Albuterol considered a gateway drug?

With sweat droplets beginning their descent down the sides of my face, I eventually unfolded the manuscript.

One thing was for sure: Those directions were never going back in the box the same way they came out. In fact, they’d probably never fit in the box again at all.

Side One
Side 2
Side 2

I felt as if I were reading this*:

Marcel Proust in search of lost time

Once opened, I couldn’t read a word of the 7-point font, so I had to search for one of my three pairs of reading glasses.

By the time I found my glasses, and had wrestled the instructions from their box, I was feeling slightly dehydrated. I took a washcloth from the linen closet to mop my brow, and a Gatorade out of the refrigerator to replenish my lost electrolytes before settling in on the sofa to read the instructions.

I expected the directions to be in bold print in the very first paragraph. They were not.

I had to Evelyn Wood speed-read my way through each and every paragraph only to find lots of big, multi-syllabic scientific words, and chain-link bracelets. Since I had no idea what they meant, I’d like to share my interpretation.

I’m allowed to do this because, as a writer, I have Pandemic Lices.

chemical chains4

The only thing I remember from chemistry class is the “The Elementary Periodical Table.” I took chemistry so long ago, I don’t know an atom from Adam.

After this extensive search, I finally found the treasure I had been seeking, tucked away between unintelligible rocket-science-speak.


The manufacturer couldn’t put that tiny, little bit of information in the first paragraph? Or on the outside of the box?

I always kept the nasal spray and inhaler in the drawer right next to my bed so I wouldn’t forget where they were.

But that didn’t stop me from eventually forgetting to use them.

Recently, I began feeling tired during the day, even after sleeping well the night before, plus I wasn’t enjoying my breaths to their fullest. Oh, the allergens I had been missing.

At least there was a reason I’d wake up with my laptop just sitting there on my, well, lap, waiting for me to type the next word after, “eiei-uh-oh.”

I usually have no idea where anything is, but remembered where I’d left the nasal spray and inhaler, and decided to do an experiment to see if using them would make a difference.

Almost immediately, I had more energy than I‘ve had in months. The nasal spray and inhaler were my Holy Grail of Geritol!

During the next two hours, I became Martha Stewart on steroids.

Martha Stewart on steroids! Original photo credit: Martha Stewart's Cooking School, episode 1; eggs
Original photo credit: Martha Stewart’s Cooking School, episode 1; eggs

I power-walked through every room in the house and found something of mine that needed to be put away. I had been leaving shoes wherever I took them off. I found the other two pairs of reading glasses, 17 bobby pins, and several days-worth of unopened mail.

I backed up my computer to the external hard drive, loaded the dishwasher and scrubbed the sink, put away five bottles of nail polish, and finally unpacked and placed my obnoxious faux diamonique jewelry I had taken to Vegas two weeks ago back in my jewelry box.

Now I try to remember to use the nasal spray and inhaler every day, because oxygen rocks!

But when I forget, I get reminders. The best one so far was waking up to find I’d fallen asleep while writing, and had used the top of my laptop as a pillow. With that reminder etched in my head, I doubt I’ll forget again.

Where's the spackle?

*In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust

Rated the longest novel ever by the Guinness Book of World Records, there’s no doubt that Proust’s masterpiece could quite easily double up as a mightily effective doorstop, with 13 volumes clocking up nearly 1.3 million words.

Source: (Ironically,),