I was one of those people who has never been allergic to a single thing, ever, in her entire life. Until today.
  1. I'm home alone; my husband has already left for work. I wake up with swollen and itchy hands. No big deal.
  2. Wait. What are these itchy lumps all up and down my arms and stomach. Are these ... hives?! Huh! Never had hives before. Whadday know? First time for everything.
  3. And my lower lip feels like it's on fire. I look in the mirror. Lower lip is bright red and swollen. Redness and swelling remains, but fire lasts less than a minute, thank God.
  4. But now what's up with my tongue?! Oh, my God! Oh my fucking God! My tongue! What the fuck?! I can't move my tongue! It's getting bigger! My fucking tongue is getting bigger!
  5. I tell myself not to panic but who amI kidding. I try really hard to: Calm. The Fuck. Down.
  6. Whatever this is isn't good, but the hospital is literally across the street - I can walk there quicker than I can drive.
  7. But I go through a period of denial. How serious can this really be? I do prone to overreact in situations like this, so...
  8. I take the time to take the dog outside to pee, and leave a check for the cleaning lady.
  9. By then I'm like, yeah, this is pretty bad. I can breathe but I can't swallow.
  10. So I walk over to the ER. You have to sign in at this electronic kiosk. What the fuck?! I want sympathy right now, not fucking Siri! Computer gives me a list of potential complaints to chose from. I pick "other" and type in "swollen tongue."
  11. So I sign in and scan my driver's license, and electronic hospital voice tells me (most unsympathetically) to have a seat.
  12. I wonder briefly how electronic kiosk lady performs triage. But fortunately I was the only one there, and I didn't have to wait long.
  13. Nurse comes and gets me, asks a bunch of questions I'm having a hard time answering because I: Can't. Fucking. Talk. And I'm drooling all over myself because I can't swallow. Nurse gives me one of those curved pans to spit in.
  14. Doc comes in and takes a look. Says, "wierd," and "huh" a lot.
  15. Doc concludes it's probably a drug allergy to a recent course of antibiotics, tongue is probably going to continue to swell (here I start to worry about taking time for dog and cleaning lady).
  16. Doc says he can hear it in my voice that my throat is starting to swell and we have to stop the swelling *now* or they'll have to put in a breathing tube. I start to cry.
  17. Doc tells me I need a shitload of intravenous drugs, plus a shot of epinephrine. I've seen ER - that's what they give you when they need to fuck with your heart. Doc says there's a risk of heart attack, but not as great as the risk of a blocked airway. I cry some more, but I trust the doc so I tell him to do what he thinks is best.
  18. First they give me Benadryl in the IV. THAT is FREAKY. Feels like there's shit crawling on my skin.
  19. Then Prednisone. I'll feel that later when I want to eat everything in sight.
  20. And something else - forget what.
  21. Then I get the shot of epi. It's like drinking a fucking 5-gallon bucket of coffee. I'm drowsy from the Benadryl, and jittery from the epi. You'd think these conditions would cancel each other out, but they don't. It gave me the jimmy legs.
  22. Then they leave me there in the dark to contemplate what's happening to me, while these drugs take affect.
  23. I called my husband shortly after I checked in, and he shows up at the ER and sits with me while they observe my reaction to the meds.
  24. It takes a couple of hours. My tongue stops swelling almost at once, but it is a long time before the swelling goes down.
  25. Doc tells me that he's happy because he was pretty certain when I showed up that I'd end up admitted with a breathing tube. He says I can get admitted if I wanted, but it'd be OK to go home so long as I wouldn't be alone;there's a possibility that the reaction could recur. Doc tells husband he has to set alarm at night and check me every hour.
  26. Prescribed an epi-pen, more Benadryl and prednisone, and sent me home. Says if it starts up again, use the epi-pen and come back in.
  27. That was 14 hours ago. I still feel like I'm having a reaction, but it's controlled by the drugs. My lip and tongue still feel funny, but they're no longer swollen. And I have a headache.
  28. OK, so it was more frightening than hilarious. But kind of interesting, too, to me, anyway.