Dear Gentle Readers -- it's been an eventful week and no, it's not because of the Olympics, nor the Democratic National Convention, nor even, for the first week of classes. No, none of that. I have discovered that I'm really allergic to something but I don't know what it is. It all started when I went out with Ken in his batmobile (custom made 2008 Honda Accord with leather seats!) for ice cream on Saturday. We drove around in the back country and he even let me take over the steering wheel -- which is impressive because I didn't let anyone drive MY new car.
Then we came back to my house and watched TV. All of a sudden, I was really itchy. I would scratch and scratch and all these welts rose up on my skin. I could feel my legs burning. Although I had never had hives before, I knew what they were. So, because I had accidentally dried my clothes with a used dryer sheet, I thought perhaps that was the cause because I've been itchy doing that before. So, I changed my clothes and didn't think anything about it. But the hives kept coming back and nothing I could do would help. I'd wake up in the middle of the night, scratching an itchy heel. Then an hour later, my shoulder! And so on -- skritch, skritch, skritch.
On Sunday, by the middle of the day, my tongue started to swell and I became very nervous. I looked up hives online and all the medical websites said to seek medical care when hives reach the face. I know how alarmist these websites can be (never go to a foot problem site, for instance) so I called a friend of mine who is a doctor and he recommended that I go because this symptom indicated that my airway could close. At one point, it was so bad that I couldn't speak! I called the Queen who rushed to meet me at the emergency room. By then, the swelling in my tongue had gone down so I could carry a conversation. After a relatively short wait, I was admitted and they put me on a heart monitor and all the bells and whistles. The Queen was an awesome friend, putting me at ease as I faced this crisis. Did I mention that I'm between health insurance? Isn't it a sad state that I almost delayed care because of this fact?
The ER doc had the nurse put in an IV and they shot me up full of a powerful steroid, Benadryl, and Pepcid (which I didn't know but is also an antihistimine). Let me tell you that Benadryl can knock you for a loop normally and once I felt it flowing in my veins, I was, as I put it to the Queen, feeling pretty groovy. The hives went away. I also sent the Queen away because I didn't know how long I'd be there and I knew I wasn't making any sense. I couldn't quite finish my sentences. So, I stayed in the hospital for another hour and then I went home. I have a course of steroids to take and I am also taking Benadryl to keep the hives at bay. They keep coming back! Right now as I type, I can see the redness rise. Time for my meds. My doctor friend assured me that it will take time for it to finish with me. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to teach because of all the irritation (excuse me, class, I need to take a bathroom break and scrub my body with steel wool) but I timed my medicines well.
Next up -- get health insurance and go to an allergist. Was it the maple walnut ice cream? (I hope not! I love walnuts). Was is the chemicals in Ken's car? Was it the generic fabric softener? Or something else all together?
The funny thing is that the medicine I'm taking is exactly the same that my sister takes when she has a flare-up with her MS. We commiserated on the phone.
Anyway, thanks to the Queen for being such a great supportive friend. Keep my in your thoughts as I scratch my way through the week.