"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
September 23, 2013
Having the Last Laugh
by Kathryn H. Kidd

It’s September, and that means it is Worldwide Allergy Month. I do not know if it is Worldwide Allergy Month on Planet Earth, mind you. All I know is that it is Worldwide Allergy Month on Planet Kathy, and because that is where I live, that is what is important to me.

When I was growing up, I was not allowed to have allergies. Allergies, menstrual cramps and emotional depression were three symptoms of a defective character as far as my mother was concerned, and I could not have any of them. (My sister Sandee could have as many as she liked, but she had contracted polio, so none of the rules applied to her. Susie and I were out of luck.)

When my mother told me that only people who were mentally defective suffered from these things, I took her at her word. I never, ever suffered from a single menstrual cramp, but I had killer unexplained muscle cramps in my abdominal region on a semi-regular basis during my younger years.

I had doctors tell me for seventeen years that I was suffering from clinical depression, and I stoutly denied it. If I admitted it, I was admitting to a defect in character, and this I would not do.

I may have spent my whole life pretending that these three facets of my life did not exist if Fluffy and I had not moved to Virginia back in 1987. In the spring of 1988, I developed little water sacs on the insides of my eyelids. This was more than an inconvenience because I wore hard contact lenses, and those water sacs were excruciatingly painful when my contact lenses rested on them.

I made an appointment with someone who had a reputation as the best ophthalmologist in Northern Virginia, and I went to see him. Dr. Karlin may have been the best ophthalmologist in Northern Virginia, but his bedside manner was just a wee bit lacking. Of course, my bedside manner as a patient might have been just a wee bit lacking, too.

He peered into my eyes and said, “You have severe allergies.”

That is what he said. What I heard, as filtered through my dearly departed mother was, “You have severe character deficiencies.”

What I yelled back at him was, “I do not!”

He looked at me as though I had just escaped from a mental asylum and I had an axe hidden under my clothes — which, of course, is what I thought he had already said.

It took a long time before I finally embraced my allergies and the clinical depression. I became a poster child for Prozac, which I took for several years. I learned there is no more shame in clinical depression than there is in diabetes or strep throat or a case of chicken pox. When people around me show symptoms of depression, I send them right to the doctor. I believe that Prozac and its fellow antidepressants are gifts from God, just as surely as penicillin.

Unfortunately, God has not yet given me the gift of an allergy medicine that gets me through September. I am only glad that Kleenex are cheap, because I went through a whole box of them in my office alone in one day last week. There were similar boxes in the bedroom and in the family room, also being depleted. I am a sneezing machine of character deficiencies.

My mother would not approve.

Here’s a little postscript on the allergies.

Once again, God has trotted out His sense of humor. Yesterday, not two hours after I wrote the paragraph saying that God had not yet given me an allergy medicine that gets me through September, one of my friends who peddles essential oils walked through the door. You know them. You have eighty-seven of them in your ward, too.

Carol took one look at the overflowing trash can of Kleenexes, watched me sneeze five or six times in a row, and said, “I can fix that.”

I said, “I’m sure you can.”

She took some lemon oil and some lavender oil, rubbed a drop of each of them on the sinuses above and below my eye, and had me put a drop of each on my tongue. The lavender tastes vile! As usual, I hoped to have a huge attack of the sneezes, just to prove her wrong. As usual, I had no such luck. I didn't sneeze for the rest of the night.

It’s noon the next day. I haven't sneezed once, and I only used one social Kleenex. God is up there, once again having had the last laugh.

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About Kathryn H. Kidd

Kathryn H. Kidd has been writing fiction, nonfiction, and "anything for money" longer than most of her readers have even been alive. She has something to say on every topic, and the possibility that her opinions may be dead wrong has never stopped her from expressing them at every opportunity.

A native of New Orleans, Kathy grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana. She attended Brigham Young University as a generic Protestant, having left the Episcopal Church when she was eight because that church didn't believe what she did. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a BYU junior, finally overcoming her natural stubbornness because she wanted a patriarchal blessing and couldn't get one unless she was a member of the Church. She was baptized on a Saturday and received her patriarchal blessing two days later.

She married Clark L. Kidd, who appears in her columns as "Fluffy," more than thirty-five years ago. They are the authors of numerous LDS-related books, the most popular of which is A Convert's Guide to Mormon Life.

A former managing editor for Meridian Magazine, Kathy moderated a weekly column ("Circle of Sisters") for Meridian until she was derailed by illness in December of 2012. However, her biggest claim to fame is that she co-authored Lovelock with Orson Scott Card. Lovelock has been translated into Spanish and Polish, which would be a little more gratifying than it actually is if Kathy had been referred to by her real name and not "Kathryn Kerr" on the cover of the Polish version.

Kathy has her own website, www.planetkathy.com, where she hopes to get back to writing a weekday blog once she recovers from being dysfunctional. Her entries recount her adventures and misadventures with Fluffy, who heroically allows himself to be used as fodder for her columns at every possible opportunity.

Kathy spent seven years as a teacher of the Young Women in her ward, until she was recently released. She has not yet gotten used to interacting with the adults, and suspects it may take another seven years. A long-time home teacher with her husband, Clark, they have home taught the same family since 1988. The two of them have been temple workers since 1995, serving in the Washington D.C. Temple.

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