January 29, 2020

red shrek

I did the smart thing when I started my allergy shots in October.  I signed a waiver that allowed me to leave the office the minute my shots were given.  Who has time to sit there for 30 minutes to be confident there won't be a reaction?  

A few times since Thanksgiving I got itchy once I got home.  Like palms, scalp, chest.  One time I got home and wheezed for awhile.  The wheezing and the body itches faded within an hour or two, OK maybe 3 tops.  The site of the shot was always crazy-ass itchy and puffy as hell.  This lasted for a few days.  I admitted this to the peeps at the doc office and they told me to take an antihistamine 2 hours before I arrived for a shot.  

Since I didn't always know when I was going to get a shot, I didn't always time the antihistamine pill popping at the right time.   Full disclosure:  sometimes I took it in the doc parking lot before I went in.  I never wanted to alarm the nurse, so I always told her I had taken it 2 hours prior.  All good, wink, wink.  

A few days before I left for Dallas I raced off to get my shots.  It was a day when Coach should have been home in theory, but theories are often laughable.  He had to work later than usual and was then going to head straight to Reg's away b-ball game.  I was planning to go in the wrong direction (from the beaten path of Irish dancing) to get the shots on my way/out of my way to drive Curly to dancing - but that was not going to be easy.  

Instead, I saw an after school window and I took it.  I popped a antihistamine pill about 45 minutes beforehand.  The minute Curly got home from school, I bolted.   Curly was watching the 15 month old who was napping, 'Give him his bottle when he gets up.'  His folks know that Curly was a wet nurse in a former life and they are good with her watching him for short stretches if I run an errand, etc.  Then I took the 7 month old with me to the shots.  Honestly, his folks would probably also be OK with 12 year old Curly in charge too - but I was like one kid in a carrier is a piece of cake.  

This was my first time getting full strength injections.  I got the shots and said, 'Great - see you in 2 weeks.'  Then I sneezed 3 times - like full, body-jolting sneezes.  I hoped I was not getting a cold as I was soon heading to Dallas.  

I walked down the steps of the building one minute later.  My palms started to itch like a mother.  Crazy, bright red itching, and I was bummed.  This was a Von Maur night for me, and I hoped the itching would fade soon.  I took a few steps closer to the car.  

My head.  I cannot even describe what started happening to my head. I felt like a cartoon character.  My forehead was pulsating and my ears started to feel like they were as big as balloons.  I was like 'Shoot - I hope this doesn't last long.  Don't want to deal with a headache.' 
Well here is a boring photo, but I was,
 um, a little
too preoccupied to ask the doc to take
a photo of my red Shrek face.
This is Coach's Texas waffle that he
 made at the hotel once we
got to Dallas.  It is true
everything is better in Texas.  Is that
even a saying?  Or is it bigger in Texas? 
Anyway - I am sure this was delish, but my
celiac self had enough allergy
 issues.  No gluten for me.

I put babykins' carseat in the car and drove out of the parking lot.  Um, not a headache.  My head started heating up like I had swallowed a stove.  I glanced in the rearview mirror and I looked like a red version of Shrek.  My features were messed up.  My lips were big.  My coloring was off-the-charts red.  The pulsating was unbearable.

I had to get home, right?  I had to get babykins home.  His mom would be there at 5 and it was 4:30.  I kept driving.  Then, despite the fire that was consuming my brain, I managed to produce a thought.  If I go all the way home, I am going to just end up driving myself to the ER.  This is silly.  

I was on a two lane road and the cars on the other side were not quite close enough to me to be a concern - but they would be a problem if I did not move fast.  I did a wide-ass u-turn in the Great White (12 seater, Chevy express, former airport shuttle for any newbies) and started heading back to the doctor office.  I was just a few miles away, but it felt like I had to climb Mount Everest.  

I called Coach.  No answer.  I called my Mom.  "Mom, (pant) get (pant) to (pant) my (house).  This (pant - Oh, hell - you get the idea) is an emergency.  I am reacting very badly to my shots.  Curly is home with world's-worst-baby.  Go be with her."  

(I don't think I have shared much about world's-worst baby - nothing Curly cannot handle but in this neck of the woods he is known as the fussiest small person alive.  We blame his folks who cave constantly and keep him plugged into their phones and other devices or carry him around to ward off tears.  It is literally insane, but not worth a whole post.  Becky watched him one day when I was in Dallas and she said 'Never again' - so it is not just me.)

Coach clicked in.  I answered.  My throat was not closing but I was panting like a fricking dog that had just pulled a sled up Mount Everest.  It was a huge effort to talk and drive and breathe.  "Coach.  Bad allergy reaction.  I am heading back to doctor.  Call babykins' mom and tell her to meet me at the doc office.  Can't talk."  

Coach later told me (because news flash:  I survived) that he could not stop shaking.  He wanted to call 911, but he didn't know my location.  He didn't even know the name of my doctor or the location of the office.  (Um, I have told him where the office is before, but that is another story that will never be told, because listening is not a thing for men and I don't have to tell you all that).  He wished I had kept him on speaker phone.  I guess I could have, but I was concentrating on staying alive and my thoughts weren't exactly crystal.  

Then my gut started to feel weird and I worried I would soil myself before I got to the doctor.  Death might have been a welcome alternative at that point.  I was not driving slowly - actually I don't know how I was driving, but if a cop had tried to pull me over it would have been an all-out replica of the OJ-chase in a white van.  No way was I stopping now that bathroom issues had started to threaten to undo me.

More to come, bear with me (you know I survive, so I think you can handle the cliff hanger here) . . .  


Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

Oh my goodness! After the first few shots at full strength with Peter, we never stayed the full 30 minutes either. And thankfully we never had any problems. So glad you survived!!!!

Kari said...

You need to stay. I know it's not always realistic but stuff like this is scary AF.
I had a bad reaction once and had to go to the ER after for industrial-strength Benadryl and shots and breathing machines.

Glad you are okay but STAY THE 30 MINUTES. :)

Ernie said...

Beth- My other issues were so mild compared to this one. They introduce the shots so gradually. They kept asking if I did anything different. Nope. It was nuts!

Kari- I totally had to forfeit my leave-instant-shot-is-given card. I now get to stay 30 min after every shot. And the duration of shots will not be lengthened. SUCH A BUMMER. I was so happy to get most of them done before my deductble restarted Jan 1 but now I pay full price for every shot and I am not as close to the finish line. I am waiting for my epi pen to come in the mail - cannot go for shots again unless it is with me.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh my lawd....can you just have a normal day? Ever? This IS so scary! I'm with the coach; I would have been shaking too. Do you think he's terrified that he may have to take your place if you go down for a few days? (Kidding!)
I'm thinking you should always stay for the allotted time, for now, one; they probably have that set for a reason.
Also, you should get the life360 app so that Coach always knows where you are and vice-versa.
I know you survived, but I hope an answer has been found too.

Gigi said...

Oh no! I'm glad to hear that you survive!

The saying is "Everything is bigger in Texas" (and the better is implied) says the Texan - me. ;-)

Ernie said...

Suz - Normal day? What's that like? Ha. No worries - from now on they will lock me up and throw away the key for at least 30 minutes each time I get a shot. Can't wait to work that extra time into my hectic day. According to my mom, my brother Pat has had to wait there for 2 hours. Yes, I do find it incredibly annoying that no matter what my 'deal' is, Pat's is more of a 'DEAL'. Sigh. I doubt that he has had to wait for 2 hours but Pat walks on water and anything that happens in his world is a supreme focus. If this topic interests you, I will send you an advance copy of my memoir where that is the dog-gone theme, retold countless times. I guess the answer is just stepping the shots down a bit and increasing more gradually. This sucks on many levels. Cost because deductible has not been met. Time/duration - now I get to continue to get the shots for a longer stretch. I also have to carry an epi pen to my shots. Thankfully I called the doc office to ask if there was an alternative to picking it up at my pharmacy where it was $300. Yes - how about in the mail for free?
I might look into that life360 app. We have android phones, not iphones - not sure if that matters. I'm thinking when I haven't heard from a college kid in awhile, this might come in handy.

Gigi- I thought you were the Texas gal. Loved Grapevine. Hung out at a place called Katy's trail. My friend Dee Dee is 59, but she was like 'this is my favorite place' - we were BY FAR the oldest people there. Ha! She can't help that she is still hip.

Nicole said...

Omg! This is so stressful to read, I can’t imagine going through this! Eeek!

Ernie said...

Nicole - It was stressful. I never felt like my throat was closing or that I was short on air - thank God. I was panting but I think that is because my heart rate must have been off the charts. There is a funny end to the story - that I promise to share in an upcoming post.