Bill was at the office working late again last night and I was at home with Sam. I finally got Sam bathed and off to bed and sat down to eat my tea around 8. I got about halfway through my Trader Joe’s ravioli when I started to feel funny – scratchy throat and tingling lips. I stopped and went to double check the packet, okay it did warn “Made on equipment shared with other tree nuts and shellfish” but most food tends to say that (I suspect mainly to cover legal) and I’ve never been so sensitive as to make me worry about the slightest contamination that that implies. Still feeling peculiar, I triple checked the ingredients one by one, this time I spotted “walnut meal.” Okay, we have a definite problem!
I tried calling Bill, and calling Bill, as I was racing around the house trying to find Benedryl but his phone just kept ringing. No allergy medicine either as with the “move” I’d had a clear out and thrown away any expired medicine, my Benedryl being one of them, and I’d not remembered to restock.
Logging on to Bill’s computer I accessed his instant messaging and sent out a text to a work colleague to see if she was still at the office and could find Bill. Yes! That worked and soon I had him on the phone to explain the situation.
I was just about to throw Sam into the car and charge to Kroger or go hunting a nice neighbour, when I found one lone sealed capsule in a drawer. I took that and hoped that an expired Benedryl was better than none. Wasn’t sure what my reaction to walnuts would be or where this was heading and it seemed like it was going to be a bad one and I was very nervous to be on my own with Sam. Bill still had lots of work to do and was very stressed out, but he decided to come home immediately and stop by the pharmacy on his way. I’m very glad he did.
Hubby arrived on the scene, I took another Benedryl, guzzled much water and began to feel a little better. Throat scratchiness subsided and lip swelling had gone down (they had puffed up nicely) so I started to relax a bit.
A little later though I began to feel much worse again, I felt like I was really swelling up again and I couldn’t breathe through my nose at all. I went to the bathroom and when I looked in the mirror around my mouth and nose was bright red. I was so puffy I barely recognised myself. I took a third Benedryl.
Bill saw me and decided a direct trip to ER was in order, do not pass GO, do not collect £200. He practically threw Sam and I into the car and we drove to DeKalb Medical Centre. Began to panic somewhat on the way as I was really feeling swollen up inside by then and having difficulty breathing.
We found the way to Emergency and were really hacked off when we found ourselves in a queue because two cars had parked themselves on the ramp and both just seemed to be having a chat or picking an employee up. No sense of urgency at all. I had to get out on the ramp without Bill and wander up to try to find the entrance while these dumbarses carried on their little social gatherings right next to the “no parking” signs.
Once inside it wasn’t clear where to go and a member of staff ran into me wanting to know what I was looking for. I tried to speak and she couldn’t understand a word I was saying. Managed to get “nut allergy” across and she bundled me straight into triage.
From there it all gets a bit hazy but I pretty quickly ended up in an ER bed, attached to an IV* and being injected with various stuff, more antihistamine and some steroids I think. Bill and Sam (who was a very good boy and amazingly patient while all this was going on) eventually found me and we hung out there until I was discharged when the swelling had subsided and I could breathe more easily again.
Phew. It was all a bit scary last night. I’ve been told to go see my doctor to follow up within the next five days and this reaction was deemed severe enough that I have been prescribed an Epi-Pen to carry with me in case of a future nut encounter.
*Getting the IV was a bit of a worry too. The doctor came in to see me, authorised the treatment, then left. I had been told a nurse would be hooking me up asap, but then I waited, and waited, and waited. Instead of the nurse someone from registration came in and started asking me more insurance and registration questions which I couldn’t answer because I couldn’t form the words. Tried to ask about where the nurse was but couldn’t get that out either.
Eventually the nurse returned, took the IV stand from beside the bed and said he’d be right back before disappearing and never returning. Finally another guy came into the room and went to hook me up. He asked for my surname and located an Allen on the computer. I noticed he picked the wrong one and when I tried to point this out he started getting in my face and shouting “it doesn’t matter!” That scared me but I couldn’t do anything. I don’t know whether because I couldn’t speak properly he thought I was trying to correct the spelling of my name rather panic because he was selecting a completely different person, but either way his behaviour was totally uncalled for. That guy was nasty.