To conquer his allergy, our author has undergone desensitization every month for five years. And learned a lot in the process – not just about the pollen.

On a windless April day in 2022 – the weather forecast announces an above-average pollen count – I’m sitting in the practice of my ear, nose and throat doctor in the middle of Hamburg and finally hear the sentence I’ve been waiting for for years: “Mr. Seiler, I think you are through.”

What a relief. But also kind of sad. I came here every month for five years to have my ENT inject a clear liquid into my upper arm. That’s about 80 visits, which the doc and I often use for other things. But more on that later.

Even as a child, birch, alder and hazelnut influenced when and where I played