So I am sorry that you aren’t getting your weekly tree today. In fact I am writing this blog while using Dragon software because I can barely string two sentences together if forced to type them out. Last night I had another reaction — food allergy reaction, that is. It has been quite a while since I have written anything on the subject, so now seems a good time.
For one thing, I want to remind you who are supposed to carry your EpiPens—make sure you have them with you at all times along with your Benadryl.
I went to bed as usual last night, after eating a light snack. A few strawberries, this time. Now, over the years I have been cautious about strawberries, because my mother was – my sister is — anaphylactic allergic to them. And since my sister and I seem to mirror reactions in terms of developing them, I just try to be careful. Anyway, I went to bed and everything was fine until 3:30 when I woke up in the middle of an asthma attack. The kind you wake up from gasping for breath, totally terrified.
I decided that I had better go sit in the living room for a while until it eased up, and was about to do so when I noticed that not only was I having trouble catching my breath, but my lips, my left cheek, and left eye were all tingling. I was also experiencing that familiar sense of spaciness that I get with reactions.
I woke Sam and asked if he would come and sit while I waited to see how strong the reactions were going to get. He did. A few minutes later it was getting worse so I took a full dose of Benadryl. Now for me, that’s like slamming several shots of hard liquor one right after another. It hits my system hard. I used my inhaler, made sure my EpiPen was ready, and waited. Twenty minutes later the tingling was a little better but not much, and neither was my breathing, so I took another full dose of Benadryl and used my inhaler again. By then, my chest was itching and turning red, and my scalp was itching and my face was looking puffy, which scared the fuck out of me. That seemed to jog the reaction and it started to fade. Within another 20 to 25 minutes I was able to fall asleep in the chair.
So, today. I feel like I was slammed by a truck. My body’s relaxed, but aching, and my mind is about as swift as a tortoise. I’m exhausted and I feel very fragile, like I could burst into tears at any minute. I am also having trouble getting anything done that requires any effort. Tomorrow, I should be relatively okay again, but I expect this week to be one of recuperation.
What makes it so incredibly hard is that I don’t know what triggered it. It could be a new reaction—either to a food I never had a problem with, or to one of a couple I’ve suspected as being troublemakers. It could be cross contamination. Sam could have forgotten to rinse his mouth out after he ate something that I can’t touch before he kissed me. Maybe some of his creamer got on the counter and dried there and I forgot to wash the counter before I set some of my food down. And the thing is: I probably will never really know. All I know is that I’ve spent one more night in hell due to my allergies, and that I’m tired and my body needs me to chill out.
This morning I emailed my doctor so she can file this episode away in my records. And for the next 3-4 weeks, I’m going back on the diet I go on when these things happen. Give my body a chance to rest by eating only those foods I know are absolutely safe. It will be boring, but I’ll have a chance to recover. And then? I may go back to my stand by. Add in one food at a time every few days until I run across the culprit. The elimination diet has been the most accurate diagnosis for what foods hit my body hard and what don’t.
So yeah, tired. And going to rest for a couple days while I quietly do some work. And this is why you didn’t get your tree picture today—I could barely think, let alone go out of the house. And please, if you need an Epipen or Benadryl, for the sake of the gods carry them—know where they are, and train your peeps in how to use them.