Orchid Fever

May 10, 2013
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By Kathy Miele

I carefully carried the orchid into the house as if I were carrying a Ming vase. “I think I’ve solved our flower problem,” I called out to no one in particular.

Steven walked out from the kitchen. “What flower problem?” he asked.

I set the orchid down on the counter, its delicate yellow flowers gently bobbing on a stem so slim that it needed to be clipped to a stick anchored into the pot. “The problem we’ve had where I can’t have any flowers in the house because you and Alex are allergic to them,” I answered.

I turned the pot until I found the best view of the cluster of flowers. “Isn’t it beautiful?” I asked, then leaned over and put my nose close to the flower. “Better yet, they don’t have any fragrance, so they won’t be a problem for you or Alex.”

Steven already had a spring cold so I wasn’t really thinking it was my orchid that was the reason for his watery eyes and runny nose. “You do realize it’s not just the fragrance that we’re allergic to? It’s the pollen that the flowers carry that bothers us, too.”

“Orchids don’t have pollen,” I blurted out. I couldn’t believe the lie just flew out of my mouth.

Steven looked at me for a moment before the sniffles overcame him and he went in search of a tissue.

As soon as he left the room I grabbed my phone and went to Google to look up some information on orchids. To my relief my research found that most orchids don’t produce pollen allergies but they could cause a skin reaction if someone allergic touched the flowers. By then Steven had come back into the room.

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“See,” I said, holding up my phone. “Just like I said, these are the perfect flowers for the two of you. They don’t have any pollen allergies. As long as you don’t rub your face on them you should be fine.”

“That’s great,” Steven said as he watched me move the pot from one tabletop to another trying to find the perfect spot for my new floral addition.

It was while I was putting them back on the countertop that Alex walked into the room. “So what do you think?” I asked him.

He looked over at Steven. “Aren’t we allergic to flowers?” he asked.

Steven shrugged his shoulders. “I’m pretty sure Mom said these were fine as long as we don’t rub them on our faces.”

Alex looked confused. “Why would I rub them on my face?”

“I don’t know,” Steven said as he put his hand up to his forehead. “I haven’t really been paying attention.”

He then walked over to me. “I think I might be running a fever. Do I feel warm to you?”

“You can get a fever when you’re allergic to flowers?” Alex asked.

“Neither of you are allergic to orchids,” I said and then felt Steven’s forehead. “You do feel a little warm.”

“Wow! That hit you pretty quick,” Alex said, backing away from the orchid.

I was done trying to explain it to him. Lucky for me I was pretty sure Alex would forget all about my orchid by dinner.

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