Friday, January 22, 2010

The Incident, as we are calling it

Last night, I got to tag along with some friends (thanks again, you guys!) to see Eddie Izzard. In a word: awesome. I had such a great time.

In other news, let’s see, what’s been going since last we met? Hmm. Not much. The holidays were pretty uneventful.

Oh, yeah, I haven't talked about The Incident yet. Cheese and crackers, y’all, I owe RR big time. BIG TIME. If it weren’t for her, I might be dead.* (link contains NSFW language). Ok, I may be exaggerating slightly. But here’s what happened.

See, because I am sick and tired of feeling like dirt all the time because of my allergies, I signed up to get allergy shots. You know, you go to your doctor and get injected with minuscule amounts of what you are allergic to, and then when your body gets used to that, you start getting injected with slightly less minuscule amounts of the allergens, and so on, until eventually you have trained your immune system not to freak out that "holy moly, it's duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust!!!!!"

On a side note, I hope it helps with the cat allergies soon because Wally has started doing something RR and I call “upcreep.” He used to sleep down by my feet, and, in cold weather, behind my knees (or, if I made the mistake of sleeping on my back, then on my knees, and if you’ve never had 10 pounds sitting on your knees, pressing them slowly but persistently backward in the direction that knees do not bend, be glad). But lately, he’s started creeping upward in his quest for prime cuddling real estate.

It started when the weather got colder. He’s always turned into velcro when it’s cold, but this year, man, I have one leg under the covers, and he’s already trying to climb up the sheets that I’m holding up to get under. It’s very pitiful. So, I guess the knees don’t generate enough heat, and maybe he was informed that women have most of their heat not at their extremities but to keep their innards warm, because he started creeping up to sleep on my stomach. Which, hey, great, let’s just think of that as a diet aid because you can’t eat too much at night or too close to bedtime if you want to get any sleep with ten pounds standing on your stomach and if you don’t want to, you know, throw up, or, best case scenario, spend the night with excruciating acid reflux. And if you think I can just roll over and get him off of me, you are mistaken. He’s very good at shifting his weight.

Anyway, then he started creeping up to “the girls,” if you will, which also, DON’T WANT TEN POUNDS PRESSING DOWN. If I slept on my side, he creeped up to my upper arms, and ten pounds on arm=arm falling asleep. But now he’s almost to my collarbone. I think he’s either trying to get to my axis of snorgling, or it’s part of his master plan to suffocate me one night. Either way, he seems pretty pleased with himself.

ANYWAY.

So, on the Monday before Christmas, RR and I had taken the day off because we had not done one bit of Christmas shopping, and we wanted to knock it all out in one day. RR agreed to go with me to get my allergy shot first. By now I’ve worked my way up to only slightly diluted shots. I didn’t feel great that day, and they say don’t get your shot if you don’t feel well, but I’d done it before, and it was on my to-do list. So we go, wait the 15 minutes they make you wait after your shot, and leave. So far so good.

Then we go right around the corner to get Einsteins coffee, where this incredibly rude couple practically slams the door on us going in and then takes freakin’ forever to decide on their bagel order, because oh, I don’t know, maybe I want to breakfast bagel, do you have any more of the plain ones? just the plain ones? like in the back? hmm, I don’t know, so, hmm, and SWEET BEANS AND RICE I JUST WANT COFFEE. So, hated them.

Anyway, we go a few minutes up the road to our first shopping destination. While we were there, I started coughing a bit. No big deal. But I kept having to cough. And I kept coughing for longer, and it was like one of those coughs where you get into a loop, and the more you cough, the more you need to cough. And I thought, what the frak is going on here? And then it dawned on me, thank God, that maybe there was the sliiiiightest possibility that it was in some way related to my allergy shot. Not wanting RR to be alarmed, but thinking it might be a good idea if someone else knew what might be going on, I nonchalantly mentioned to RR that I could maaybe be pooossibly having a bad reaction.

She, of course, was exactly as alarmed as I thought she’d be, but I insisted, hacking all the while, that we go to the store next door because they had candy. RR looked skeptical but agreed not to drag me bodily to the car, keeping her eye on me the whole time. I agreed to let her drive when we left, though. You know. Just in case.

So as we were leaving the candy store, the coughing got worse (this whole period since the coughing began in earnest probably wasn’t more than 5 minutes or so?), and then the wheezing began. Wheezing that started out sounding like an asthma attack and then moved into wheezing that made me think, “crap, was that me that just made that sound?” RR wanted me to use my epinephrine pen. Me: (cough) No (wheeze) I’m feeling better. RR: [Skeptical look]

RR said she was driving me straight back to the doctor. I said she wasn’t. She reminded me that she had the keys, and I didn’t really have a choice in the matter. I didn’t want to look like one of those people who assumes she’s about to die when she gets a paper cut, so I asked if she’d just call the doctor’s office, and if they agreed that they needed to see me, then we’d go. So she talked to them and, yeah, they made me come back.

The whole drive there, I was all, “I'm feeling better!” and "I don't want to get on the cart." RR: [not buying it]

I really did seem to be wheezing less, or at least, the sounds started to sound like wheezing and not non-human sounds. So I fully expected the doctor’s office to be all, “well, let’s take a look at you, hmm, yep, sit here for a few minutes, and if it gets worse, we’ll do something.” Instead, I walked back to the nurses’ area and said, “my sister just called about —“ and before I could get any further, the nurse cut me off, said, "Yep, let's go," and took me into the little evaluation area, where three nurses started taking my vitals and asking for details (maybe it was a slow day at the office). My doctor, who I love, was out on vacation, but her practice partner, who is also great, was in the office that day. He came in and asked me about exactly what happened, and when I told him about it, he asked if I’d used my epinephrine, and I said no, and he and the nurses said, exasperated, basically, “FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, WHY NOT?” And I tried out my “feeling much better” line and said I was just waiting to see if I got to where I couldn’t get in any air, because surely that is when I could be certain I was having anaphylaxis. And the doctor’s kind but firm response involved the phrases “by the time” and “would be dead.” So, basically, DON’T wait until you actually cannot get any air in to use your epinephrine. It maybe will not go well to try and use your epinephrine after you've passed out.

So then, yeah, I started to cry. I just felt so, so stupid. Plus, I felt like crap. You know, from the anaphylaxis. And stupid. And then they all looked like they felt really bad for me, the poor crying stupid woman, and one of the nurses handed me a bunch of tissues with this "there, there," pitying look. They were sweet. It was so embarrassing.

Somewhere in all that they gave me a shot of epinephrine, and then they kindly but firmly reminded me that taking your epinephrine when you don’t need it won’t cause any health damage but not using it when you DO need it will.

Then the doctor asked if I needed a breathing treatment, and I said, “No *wheeze* *sob* *wheeze* I’m feeling better.” Seriously. What is wrong with me? But he just gave me a look, kind of like the look your parents give you when you’re a kid and you say that yes, you did brush your teeth, when really you hadn’t. And I said, ok, yeah, maybe, treatment, yes. And so they gave me a breathing treatment and some other kind of medication. And after the breathing treatment, the doctor asked how I felt, and I said much better, and he said, “See, now I don’t believe you.” Which, of course, I deserved. But I DID feel better. Shaky from the epinephrine and the breathing treatment, still a little reaction-y from the shot, but no longer like I was facing (bum-bum-bum) Certain Doom! After making me sit there for a little longer, and pretty much every nurse there coming to check on me (they are all so sweet), they finally let me go.

The positive that I’m taking away from the experience is that I feel like I have permission to take a bad reaction seriously and not feel like I’m a hypochondriac for using the epinephrine. The lingering downside, however, is that RR was right. And everyone at the doctor’s office told her so. And, in front of her, asked me, wasn’t I glad she was there with me? Which I was of course. But now I will never get to be in charge of my own health again. Anytime I think I don’t need to go the doctor, this is going to come back to haunt me. She’ll be all, “you’re not alright, you had a ‘sode.

But I’m glad that she was there and that she’s all paranoid about my health, so I guess I’ll just have to take it. And also, this past week, the shoe was on the other foot (how's your finger, sis?), so there's that.

1 comment:

RR said...

I am just waiting for the chance to say that you're not all right, you had a 'sode. Waiting! And also, I loved that when the nurse called me back to come sit with you, everyone on staff told me I was right. Now that's nice to hear. Oh, yes, and also, I'm glad you're all right.