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The Onset of Air Conditioner Season

 

The onset of air conditioner season, and allergy season, seemed to merge this year, at least, here on Long Island. I’m used to sneezing, and having itchy eyes, despite daily allergy medication, and I knew the heat would be a problem for me, because it’s a problem every year, but this year it all added up to more than the sum of its parts, as a kind of conflagration under my skin. The allergies were worse. The heat, even the tiniest bit of it, made it hard for me to breathe. And then there was the pain, in too many places at once. Still in my neck and left shoulder, still in my lower back, right hip, knees and ankles, but also in my right shoulder, right forearm, and breast bone, making it hard to move around much, or breathe deeply, or rest comfortably.

IMG_1035

“Huh, we’re pretty comfortable.”

 

At first I thought it was all caused by depression, that I was having a somatic response to the stress of the job search. There’s always been a disturbing fluidity between my physical and psychological symptoms, making it hard to identify what’s going on, or what kind of treatment might help. But I noticed that I felt significantly better later in the day, as the air cooled and the inflammation receded, somewhat.

The flare, if that’s what it was, lasted about two weeks, and then I woke up one morning and I was able to breathe, and exercise, and even shave my legs! The dogs barely noticed the changes in the weather, or in me, and they seemed to enjoy chasing all of the allergens drifting in the air that were knocking me out like baseballs to the head.

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“Yummy, yummy allergens!”

In the end, I went back to my normal level of disability, and was even able to focus enough to send a long essay to a few literary magazines. In the process of choosing where to send that piece, I looked through my list of submissions over the past few years, including the queries I sent to 78 agents, over a two year period, for a single novel. I didn’t realize how persistent I’d been in trying to get that novel out into the world. I thought I’d given up too easily. I keep thinking I’m giving up too soon, being too meek, and lazy, but it turns out that I haven’t been giving myself enough credit. The novel that was rejected by 78 agents is still sitting in my computer, waiting for the next revision, for which I already have substantial notes. And Yeshiva Girl, which spent a year or two looking for an agent, and then six years looking for a publisher, still found her way out into the world, because I persisted.

YG with Cricket

“What, this tasty paper thing?”

 

The pain, fatigue, and depression are bad, sometimes, but they pass, and I manage to push myself back on track, every time. I have to keep reminding myself that I’ve never given up, and there’s no reason to start now, even if, for a little while, the best thing to do is just to rest next to my air conditioner, with some soft pillows, and feel whatever I feel.

The dogs don’t seem to mind the company.

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If you haven’t had a chance yet, please check out my Amazon page and consider ordering the Kindle or Paperback version (or both!) of Yeshiva Girl. And if you feel called to write a review of the book on Amazon, or anywhere else, I’d be honored.

Yeshiva Girl is about a Jewish girl on Long Island named Izzy. Her father has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with one of his students, which he denies, but Izzy implicitly believes is true. Izzy’s father decides to send her to a co-ed Orthodox yeshiva for tenth grade, out of the blue, as if she’s the one who needs to be fixed. Izzy, in pain and looking for people she can trust, finds that religious people are much more complicated than she had expected. Some, like her father, may use religion as a place to hide, but others search for and find comfort, and community, and even enlightenment. The question is, what will Izzy find?

About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

62 responses »

  1. The Life of Pi, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, A Wrinkle in Time, even Harry Potter. Just a few books rejected by publishers. L.Frank Baum actually kept a rejection journal.

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  2. Ah, I remember hay fever allergies. I discovered recently during our trip to Boston that oak trees were in bloom. Making my eyes itch and nose sneeze. Now back to Los Angeles where all I get is smog to breathe. Hope you manage to get through spring allergy season okay.

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  3. Hang in there, Rachel, on all fronts. I’m so sorry for all of the pain you’re experiencing. I have trouble with any form of heat. Particularly, indoor heat. Thankfully, here in Vegas we used it once in seven years. But, it really got to me when we lived in northern climates. So, I totally sympathize. I also love my air conditioning. I also wonder if wiping down Ellie and Cricket might help, since a pulmonary doctor told me to wash my hair after I’ve been outdoors, since allergens adhere to hair. Along with transferring to bedding.. especially pillows. Hugs to the allergen lovers. 😊

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  4. Weather and allergens can have huge effects on people’s health. Hope you continue to find relief in cooler temperatures. And yes, keep up your persistence.

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  5. The humidity of Florida is unspeakable. The air-conditioning…..what are those germs blowing around the office? Claritin is my friend. My sympathies, Rachel.

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  6. I never had any allergy symptoms until my heart surgery. Now I am sneezing, eye watering, and coughing ….. no fun. For the first time in 2019 it was warm enough to follow Jack the dog and move my chair out of the sun and into the shade. Here in NH it’s sneezey fan time.
    Love reading your writing!

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  7. Ah, allergy season. For me, it is worst when I have long-delayed weeding and trimming my bushes. I am not bothered by the bees in my flowering shrubs, but the pollen and itchy sap that makes me a itch when I am sweating and it finds bare skin on my arms or neck. Cool showers and soap seems to make the chores easier to bear. I am grateful for your comments about persisting in your novel publishing journey, too. And love your dog pics – mine are not very willing subjects when I try to capture their adventures.

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  8. I’m subjected to allgeries as well, mine are usually in the fall tho, unless we have a very wet winter and spring (like this year) then the mold and mildew get me. Mine use to be severe but I did the allergy shot thing and it took about 2 years but they are better, enough that reg antihistamines do the trick in taming them, sometimes I don’t even need them :). Might be worth a try ;). They do tests which will also tell you which things you are most allergic too. 🙂

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  9. To everything there is a season – even our allergies…thank goodness for our babies who love us in every season.

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  10. Rachel, Keep up your energy and take care of yourself. Your writings pass a lot of energy to your readers. Thank you!

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  11. Obsessing about the weather won’t change it. Train yourself to ignore it.

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  12. Being rejected by publishers doesn’t mean a story is incapable of finding an appreciative audience. Look at the great reviews your book has gotten!

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  13. I hope you can stay cool. I’m enduring subzero (Celsius) mornings here so heating is what I’m spending money on at the moment.

    The allergy season here will begin in earnest in a few months.

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  14. The stuffiness at night is what gets to me most. We’re supposed to have thunder which would clear the air, but so far nothing!
    Hope you feel better soon Rachel

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  15. May I say congrats again for finally making it?

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  16. You wouldn’t need that A/C here, Rachel. It was cold enough to put the heating on yesterday. (But I didn’t) It is also allergy season here, but some heavy rain has kept that lower than usual.
    I don’t envy you that oppressive humidity, that’s for sure.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  17. In spite of your pain, it’s good to see you giving yourself a pat on the back. It’s well deserved.

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  18. Come live in Florida 🙂

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  19. Keep tellin you you’re amazing, you need to start believing it! 🙂 And I can’t wait for the new novel!

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  20. how about transfer this novel to other language.

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  21. This year was especially bad in the Northeast, I guess because of the mild winter. I hope you at least have some good books to read when you are hunkered down. I was talking to a friend and saying I never had allergies, just hay fever. She started laughing and told me hay fever was an allergy.

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  22. Allergens! My husband suffers more than me. This summer we are going to have all the carpet taken out of the 2nd floor and replaced with a non carpet flooring of some sort. Downstairs we have hardwood. I believe that carpet is the source of many allergens. I hope the change will help him. And I hope that air conditioning will help you. The quest to be published? Yes persist. Keep on! I know it is easy for me to say and hard for you to do but you right persistence will pay in the end.

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    • We got rid of a few of our rugs (because Ellie thought they were wee wee pads), but we’ve had to keep a few for noise canceling purposes, and to give Ellie some traction when she goes to jump on the bed.

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  23. Oh, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, right? Health, writing, and getting published. Wishing you many blessings on all fronts.

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  24. Do you use an air filter in your apartment? One might give you a break from the allergens when you are at home. My allergies were so bad for a while that I wore a breathing mask outside. (No wonder the neighbors think I’m nuts.)

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  25. Lovely pics… still a bit cold here for AC

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  26. You have a lot of the same aches and pains that I have. What’s frustrating for me is that I react like I’m allergic to airborne pollutants, but when I get allergy tests, I’m not allergic to anything according to the tests. I read an article recently that people with A, B and especially AB blood types are more prone to react to pollutants and allergens, even if they are not allergic, than people with type O blood. I’m AB. If true, my blood type is against me. Good luck with the hunt for publishers.

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  27. A friend in Austria told me to eat fresh pineapple with raw honey I buy locally. It has worked for me. Allergies are gone or not bad… (and persist, Rachel, that is the writer’s life. Books choose their authors.)

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  28. Yeah allergies are killers. I hope you feel better. 🙂

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  29. Thanks, great in your dog is

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