Upon graduating from Brigham Young University and completing ROTC in the mid-1980s, I was commissioned a U.S. Army 2nd Lieutenant. The following spring I was playing softball one day and slide into second base and came away with a bad case of hives, all over my leg where it had come in contact with freshly cut grass. I was miserable all night and a day or so later went to see the doctor because the hives were so bad and weren’t going away. As he was prescribing an antihistamine, he mentioned something about how allergies are really triggered by something in the mind. I was looking at him funny, while thinking about how that didn’t make sense because the grass had clearly initiated some kind of skin reaction and he kind of laughed and said, oh, never mind.
That weekend, my nonmember buddy and some member girls went on a pilgrimage to the LDS Church historic sites in the area (my assigned post was close enough for a day trip). At one point, we took a break and were looking out over the valley below where a farmer was plowing his field, kicking up a cloud of dust. While sitting there, my eyes got really itchy and I thought that the dust from the plow was getting in my eyes. After some standard blinking and rubbing didn’t help, in fact, probably got worse, I washed them out – I mean, actually splashing fresh water up onto my open eyeballs. Still no relief and it continued to get worse and actually started to hurt. I spent the rest of the drive back in the back seat of the car with my eyes closed.
After several miserable weeks had gone by I realized that I had recently acquired a pollen allergy. Thereafter, every spring was miserable.