Am I allergic to penicillin?

Over-diagnosed and Under-addressed

penicillinMy allergist’s office sent me, and I suspect, many other patients a letter this autumn. I was genuinely excited to receive it. The notice indicated as this FAQ suggests, that “the majority of patients (greater than 90%)” who believe they have an allergy to penicillin may not be. “Most people lose their penicillin allergy over time, even patients with a history of severe reaction such as anaphylaxis.”

Why did I think I was allergic? I was 16 to 18 years old, but it was definitely before I went to college. I had a cold or maybe the flu that lingered. My doctor gave me a shot of penicillin. In fairly short order, I itched like crazy, especially on my arms. For three days, calamine lotion became my best friend. It was so PINK.

On Veterans Day 2020, I received a penicillin skin test. I got poked four times on my forearm. The fourth one itched a bit; that was a marker to make sure I had not in fact taken an antihistamine such as Zyrtec in the past 72 hours, as instructed. I passed that hurdle. Then a couple more series of tests. The whole procedure took about three hours, including talking with my allergist afterward.

There is a good reason for me to know this information. If I were to have major surgery, such as for this situation, one doesn’t want to deal with the complicating factor of this patient having a bad reaction from the antibiotic.

Go to the link above for a couple of podcasts, including Penicillin Allergies: Over-diagnosed and Under-addressed.

The peanut

Since we’re on the broad topic, my daughter is for sure allergic to peanuts. I found this article on the nose. ” Things I Wish I’d Known About Raising A Child With A Peanut Allergy. My daughter’s diagnosis made me realize just how misunderstood life-threatening allergies are.” That is for CERTAIN, especially when she was younger.

The plan is for her to be in one of those trials that will, over time, to become acclimated to small bits of peanut. Unfortunately, because of COVID, that testing, to take place over several weeks, has been postponed. I do hope she gets the chance to participate in the next year.

Happiness is Ask Roger Anything

You can add to my joy, gentle reader.

Charles Schultz came up with one of the iconic comments in comic strip history in Peanuts. And do you know which character originally said, “Happiness is a warm puppy”? I will give you a hint: she was usually considered crabby.

“Some of the most simple joys in life are free. People tend to forget this and try to fill their lives with material objects that may give them temporary happiness but these things aren’t exactly fulfilling. Try to find something simple and pure that give you joy.”

Do you know what gives ME joy? Writing this blog. And I hope that it gives you a modicum of pleasure once in a while.

Having time to write it is very nice. God bless three-day weekends!

You can add to my happiness, gentle reader, and Lucy Van Pelt’s, I am sure, by doing the Ask Roger Anything… whatever it is, when you may ask truly anything. I promise to respond, generally within a month. I’d rather answer those than post my emergency pieces that only see the light of day if I get no questions, which happened last time.

I will, as always, answer your questions to the best of my ability, which waxes and wanes over time. Obfuscation on my part, though, is always an option, though, truth to tell, I have not used it as much as I had expected.

You can leave your comments below or on Facebook or Twitter; for the latter, my name is ersie. If you prefer to remain anonymous, that’s fine; you should e-mail me at rogerogreen (AT) gmail (DOT) com, or send me an IM on FB (make sure it’s THIS Roger Green, the one with the Vezina duck) and note that you want to remain unmentioned; otherwise, I’ll assume you want to be cited.

The Lydster, Part 147: Oh, nuts!

This doesn’t alter our protocol in terms of looking for allergens in foods.

Mixed NutsWhen she was about three, we discovered that the Daughter was allergic to peanuts. We discovered this after we ascertained that she’d had peanut butter (one sandwich, one cookie) under someone else’s care.

Frustratingly, we had been following the then-conventional wisdom to have her avoid the legume. Current thinking is that she should have been introduced to them earlier.

This spring, she was retested for peanuts, and she is still allergic to them, though her reaction was less than the last time she was checked. She’s not a good candidate for those peanut allergy cures you may have seen in the news.

Worse, she also tested positive this last visit for several tree nut allergies and now must avoid having them as well. This doesn’t alter our protocol in terms of looking for allergens in foods, though. Since peanuts and tree nuts are often processed in the same place, we’ve been preemptively avoiding those as well. Has THIS backfired?

Her doctor says, at her age, she is likely to have both of these allergies for the rest of her life. No change to medication – still keeping the Epi-pen and Benadryl at the ready, at same doses.

This has to be a drag for her because it sets her apart from others. Still, with all the various allergies to foods in our extended family, to gluten, and to dairy, she’s at least in the same boat as her cousins, e.g.

April rambling #2: Smartest place on earth

A World Awash in Purple

Librarian.gang

The 2016 Pulitzer Prize Winners, with links to many of the written pieces!

The Vlogbrothers — John and Hank Green — summarize the tax proposals of the folks who want to be your next President.

John Green: Here’s to civil discourse and David Kalish: Comparing Facebook to a pee-soaked lamp post.

Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy.

Mississippi Interracial Couple Evicted For Being In An Interracial Marriage. In 2016.

Michigan mechanic refuses to serve people from the ‘ghetto’ — but insists he’s not racist – he was a bit coarser than that. “But Jim S. insists he’s not racist — which is exactly what racists usually say. ‘Race has nothing to do with this, let me clarify,’ Jim S. told Mic. ‘What we’re trying to avoid is people who number one can’t afford service.'” In 2016.

Michael Rivest: Thoughts on White Privilege and Colorblindness.

Why You Should Care about Felon Voting Rights.

Jeff Sharlet: Airbnb’s Paris “Open”, during the Paris attacks.

This is what happens when you bury a mass murderer in a small town.

John Oliver: Credit reports and Lead poisoning and Hollywood Whitewashing.

1939 news clipping re: Jack Benny’s “valet”, Rochester.

New York Times: How to Explain Mansplaining.

“Leftover women”, those unmarried by 25, in China.

Greg’s daughter Mia turns 13.

Dustbury: The years take their toll on a body.

Neuroscientists Can Identify You by Your ‘Brainprint’ with 100% Accuracy, and related story.

Albany, New York: Smartest place on earth? Probably.

16 Things I Would Want If I Got Dementia.

Jaquandor has been posting poetry all month, of many varieties.

How to Insult Like Shakespeare.

Now I Know: How Brazil Got to the 1932 Olympics (Mostly) and “We Won’t Give Up Until You Bleed” and A Weighty Issue (about clipboards!)

There’s a Scientific Reason Why Indian Food Is So Delicious.

Funnies

TWC Question Time #33: Part Two– Killing the King.

These Millennials!

Superman: tax evader.

NewYorker.newspaper

BBC have broadcast TWICE as many obituaries in 2016 compared to last year at this point.

The Prince section

“Am I black or white, am I straight or gay?
“Do I believe in god, do I believe in me?”
“Controversy” – Prince

A World Awash in Purple.

Arthur addresses how the Internet Age didn’t create social mourning.

Prince on Arsenio Hall’s show.

Prince & Tamar Davis(Good Morning America 2006)/a>, which I watched in real time.

Former Warner Bros. CEO Mo Ostin Recalls His Long Relationship: ‘He Was a Fearless Artist’.

Weekly Sift.

Prince refused to be a commodity and took a protective stance on music copyrights.

Paul Westerberg: ‘I Can’t Think of Anyone Better’.

Is the water warm enough? Cartoonist Hazel Newlevant discusses Wendy & Lisa’s contribution to Prince’s legacy.

Times When He Showed Us His Great Sense of Humor.

Do It All Night: The Story of Prince ‘s Dirty Mind. An in-depth look back on the 1982 album that allowed Prince to cross over as a rock’n’roll star.

From Bat Dance to his Alter Ego comic.

A guy on Facebook noted: “‪‎Prince‬ was a huge fan of Bonnie Raitt and when he covered I Can’t Make You Love Me for his Emancipation album (1996), in the liner notes, he wrote: bonnieisanamericantreasure. When Bonnie was between labels, before signing to Capitol, Prince wanted her to sign with Paisley Park. They worked together a bit to see where it would go, but then he had to go to Europe to film Under The Cherry Moon. In the meantime, the stars aligned with Bonnie, Don Was and Capitol Records. What followed was Bonnie’s breakthrough success with ‘Nick Of Time’. Whatever they did together remains in Prince’s vaults.”

More music!

Lonnie Mack, RIP.

Amy Biancolli: Music to vote by.

Coverville 1122: Cover Stories for Roy Orbison and Paul Carrack. Roy would have been 80.

Harry Hipster Gibson – Who Put The Benzedrine In Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine (1944).

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (1967 Broadway Soundtrack).

Lawrence Welk Meets Velvet Underground.

Friday Funnies: The Black Comic Book, Pt. 2

Clearly, the issue of racial intermixing has been highly charged in this country for generations.

More on The Colored Negro Black Comic Book by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon.

Note: in the comic strip tradition all the words in the strip are in capitals, but for readability, I’ve deigned to write in standard English. Also, the words that are in bold in the strip are in red in this text.

“Tarskin”, a 4-page response to “Tarzan”

Page 1- Tarskin saves guy with diamond from a roaarr!ing lion

Page 2:

 

Page 3, Panel 1:
Diamond guy: Amazing! That this great black man should help and befriend a white man!
Tarskin: ?
Page 3, Panel 2:
Tarskin: You- mean – you not black?
Diamond guy: Of course not! Don’t tell me you took my sunburn-…

Page 4:
Diamond guy’s hat on ground in foreground, lion chewing on a bone, going mmrraaarrmm– and Tarskin walking away with the diamond, passing a Pogo-like character.
The chimpanzee Cheetah (looks at lion) Ooh.
Daddy Warbucks (?!) (peeks from around tree): Ooh.

While I do appreciate the fact that the man was trying to rip off our hero, I don’t know how allowing the man to be fed to the animals was supposed to promote racial understanding. Even if he IS “The Man”.

***

“Laughin’ Black” a 4-page parody of “Smilin’ Jack”, a strip that ran from 1933 to 1973, and which ran in my local papers when I was growing up, as did most of the strips represented.

Page 1: (Three airmen in background, head officer shaking Laughin’ Black’s hand)
Officer: Welcome to our squadron, Laughin’ Black!
Laughin’: Thank you, sir!

Page 2:

Page 3, Panel 1:
Officer (next to Laughin’): We all fight for the same country, wear the same uniforms, and each of us has his very own plane
Page 3, Panel 2: Other pilots running to their planes)
Loudspeaker: Pilots! Man your planes!

Panel 4:
While jets are in the air, Laughin’ is shocked when he comes to his plane (Sign: L. Black), which is a rickety old biplane.
Laughin’: !

In the panel shown, the officer practically says the old cliche, “A credit to his race.” This story did portray some truths about separate but unequal treatment.

I’m reminded how the valor of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II helped finally integrate the armed services.

***

“Little Ofay Nannie”, a 4-page take on “Little Orphan Annie
The convention in this strip is to underline certain words, rather than making them bold. Since I’m loath to underline – it means hyperlink to me – I will italicize the underlined text.

Page 1:
Nannie (smiling): Oh, Dandy – isn’t it fantabulous that Daddy is coming home for my 65th birthday party?
Dandy (smiling): Arf

Page 2, Panel 1:
Nannie: He’s been on a business trip to wonderful places like South VietNam, the Union of South Africa and Rhodesia!
Dandy: Arf
Page 2, Panel 2:
Nannie (in a classic arm-up “Annie” pose”): It’ll be such fun to see him again!
Dandy: Arf

Page 3

Page 4:
Nannie (angry, pointing finger at Daddy): Turn blue, you @*O!![dagger]@ honky!!!
Dandy (growling at Daddy): Grr!
Daddy (shocked): !

While her anger was, and is, understandable, this rant left me cold, because it seemed to come out of the blue. It’s interesting how the panel before the flaming is the only panel where she does not have those hollow eyes.

I was interested in the citation of South Viet Nam as one of the places Daddy was off exploiting. The African countries’ white-ruled governments were obvious targets. (Rhodesia is now Zimbabwe.) I wonder if South Viet Nam was picked because a disproportionate number of black soldiers were killed in the war? Or maybe it’s that, as Martin Luther King, Jr. suggested, too many people of color, including innocent Vietnamese were dying there.

***

“Raisins”, a 4-page takeoff on “Peanuts”

Page l:
(A kid who looks like Charlie Brown makes one-handed catch off batter. Another kid and Snoopy in background. Ball hits glove: Boff!

Page 2, Panel 1:
(Kid catches sinking liner.) Ball hits glove: Biff!
Page 2, Panel 2:
(Kid leaves his feet to make another grab.) Ball hits glove: Waff!

Page 3, Panel 1:
Lucy in catcher’s gear walks to kid.
Kid: ?
Page 3, Panel 2:
Lucy (gear to the side) starts pulling off mask.
Kid: !

Page 4:

I tried not to show the punch lines in these tales, but this one pretty much required it.

Of course, this tackles the old (but ongoing) conversation about the supposed superior talents of black athletes. I think it’s funny because of Charlie Brown’s reputation as a less than stellar player, thus the juxtaposition is even sharper.

***

“Black Jack”, a 4 page response to “Prince Valiant”

Page 1

Page 2, Panel 1
Scene: Busy- with people on horses, wounded on the ground.
Narrative: The crows watcheth in perspirement as the Black Jack destroyeth 7 of the greatest swordsmen, 125 of the greatest lancers and 4 of the greatest stick-ball players on the block.
Page 2, Panel 2
Scene: Men in shock, or stabbed, or clubbed. Sweetpea (from “Popeye”) looking on in disbelief.
Narrative: Like one, the women throw flowers, their veils and lo, their very selves at the feet of the conquering hero – one, in fact, throweth her husband.

Page 3:
Scene: Montage of folks. Below that, graffiti: BJ +KA (within a heart); EC SJ; Gawain wears panty-hose
Narrative: “Sh!: sayeth a mighty count – “‘Tis the Black Jack!” A gasp graspeth the crowd, the word hitteth them like a blackjack!

Page 4:
Scene: About a dozen attractive women, and a drooling Olive Oyl(?!) from “Popeye” surround the hero. In the left of the picture, a man in a turban, with an N on it.
Narrative: As the most noble and beauteous women in the land carry the Black Jack off on their shoulders, the men feel crushedeth by the utter humiliation – It taketh the wise and noble, Noble the Wise to sayeth: “At least he isn’t Jewith.”
Next week, =Sammy Davith – the one-eyed Jack!”

What can I say? Dopey schtick “comedy” that probably wasn’t funny then.

***

“Big Eboner”, a 4 page response to “Li’l Abner”

Page 1:
Enober runs past two dull-looking yokels, with Daisy in hot pursuit.
Daisy: Ya-hoo!!

Page 2:

Page 3:
(You see the feet of the yokels, obviously knocked over by Daisy)
Daisy: Out o’ mah way! Yo’ is mahn, mahn, mahn!

Page 4:
With Daisy and Eboner in silhoutte in the background, she’s chasing with hearts over her head; yokels are sitting in a creek.
One yokel: Yo’ notice how them black @O#!# run after the blondest, most-beautifullest, white-skinned female they can find!!

Clearly, the issue of racial intermixing has been highly charged in this country for generations. If it is modestly less charged in the past couple decades, it still is an issue for people, black and white, believe me.