Sunday, September 2, 2012

So I guess I have an allergy

Around 5am on the Wednesday of our honeymoon, I woke up and in my half-sleep stupor scratched at an itch on my belly and realized I needed to use the bathroom.  I knew I couldn't go back to sleep if I needed to pee, so I got up.  When I looked in the mirror in the bathroom, I noticed by chin was all red.  Weird, I thought.  Maybe I got sunburned?  Then as I scratched at the itch on my belly I noticed I was actually scratching red spots.  Chicken pox?  I had chicken pox on my 5th birthday so that didn't make sense.  What else could it be?  I was all confused and sleepy and just wanted to go back to bed.

I climbed back into bed, but I couldn't sleep.  I thought about the spots and I continued to itch.  I got on my phone and started Googling chicken pox symptoms (I was definitely not fully awake still).  After 20-30 minutes I got up again and went into the bathroom.  Now my nose was red and swollen, the redness was spreading to my forehead, and I noticed my lips were definitely not normal.  I stopped Googling unhelpful things and started Googling the nearest urgent care or ER.  I naively hoped I could just sleep though whatever was happening until, like, dawn, but then I noticed the spots on my arms.

I finally decided to alert my husband.  I climbed on the bed and gave him a soft shake and said his name. He quickly rolled over. "I think there's something wrong."  I tried to sound calm.  This kid has been my husband less than 4 days.  I didn't want to give him a heart attack. But my resolve all broke down when I pleaded pathetically "Look at my face!"

Since it was still pre-dawn, of course he couldn't see anything.  I pulled his groggily alarmed self to the bathroom and turned on the light.  Ya, something was definitely wrong, even worse than when I checked 10 minutes earlier.  We quickly dressed.  He started to search on his phone and I told him I already found the ER just up the street so we headed out.  

I still didn't want to make him worry too much, but I also didn't want to gloss over anything that might be really serious, so I quietly murmured that I thought the itchy spots were going down my throat.  He drove a little faster.

Thankfully, there isn't much going on in the Yampa Valley Medical Center ER at 6am on a Wednesday in August.  When I reached for the pen to sign the paperwork the admitting lady saw my arm (totally covered in rash by now) and asked if that was normal.  Nope, that is why we're here lady and there's lots more where that came from.  She said it certainly looked like I had a good case of the hives.  If "good" means I'm covered from head to knees, then yes.

I got taken back immediately by the nice night nurse who quizzed by about my most recent behavior and food while a tech hooked me up to an IV.  They loaded me up with Benadryl.  Husband finally joined me after finishing answering questions up front.  The Benadryl started working soon and the itching started to abate.  Then it started coming back so they finally gave me a few other things which combined finally stopped and reversed all my symptoms.  Pretty soon they sent us away with directions for staving off further reaction.  In all we were only there about 2 hours, but I left feeling 100% better than when I arrived.

We were supposed to do an ATV tour that morning, but thankfully they let us reschedule for Friday.  I slept off the Benadryl most of the day while Husband went to the store to fetch medicines.  Bless him. He was so patient and sympathetic and totally not spending his honeymoon how anyone wishes or imagines he'll spend it.  Thankfully I felt well enough to go out later for food, and we were able to participate in all other scheduled activities the rest of the week.  

So there's my first anaphylactic reaction.  I'm probably allergic to something on the pizza I had for dinner the night before. My appointment with an allergist last week wasn't entirely conclusive; we ruled out more than we discovered. The uncertainty makes me paranoid.  I've never had a reaction like that before, and I hope I never have it again.  EpiPen is my new security blanket.

The only conclusive result is I'm with 100% certainty allergic to cats (sorry Mom, I guess I can never take Ms. Kitty) and I'm about 70% certain allergic to dogs.  Possibly allergic to barley.  I'll have a followup appointment in a couple of weeks to bring the pizza ingredient list and do a few more skin tests using fresh foods since they can generate a different reaction than the commercially-produced tests the allergist has in the office.

Please pray it wasn't the pineapple!  
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