Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Not A Pretty Sight

I was cleaning out some of my computer files last week when I came across one of the newsletters I used to write when I first went on the road with Ed; I didn't have a blog, so I created a newsletter to send my family and friends. The following is from the original newsletter post I wrote in March 2005, which details a small portion of my trip to Florida to visit my cousin and her boyfriend.

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So, what was the highlight of my time in St. Augustine, you ask? My trip to the emergency room. First, let’s remember the stunning beauty I really am. You may not think stunning now, but just wait.

Before scrolling down, know that the following pictures are of a graphic nature and may not be suitable for children. If you have a weak heart, have been known to faint at the site of abnormalities or cannot handle the oddities of the medical world, stop reading now.

On Wednesday, March 16, 2005 I experienced a teeny allergic reaction to something I ate. I don’t know what could have caused it, since I only had some soup and a Caesar Salad for lunch….oh, and four hot wings, a bite of Ed’s burger and a few onion rings stolen from his plate. Along with my usual Diet Coke and lemon, that was a normal meal. I had a similar allergic reaction about three years ago that I attributed to the ingestion of berries (straw, blue, black….) and I’ve been staying away from them ever since.

But once we got home from lunch, my chest started to feel weird and my right eye started to puff up a little. Since I've had this happen before, I was not immediately worried. I decided that I'd take some Benadryl as I had in the past and we’d continue on with our plans to hit the outlet malls.

As the group of us continued to drive to the outlet mall in St. Augustine (after all, there was shopping to be done) I was sitting in the back seat, becoming a blow fish as each minute went by. Still, I was stoic and not worried. Ed, my cousin Ro and her boyfriend Brian were all convinced I should go to the hospital. Meanwhile, I was saying, “No, don’t worry about it. Ro, you really wanted to go to the Yankee Candle outlet, I don’t want to mess up the plan.” Far be it for me to put a kibosh on the fun.

They kept insisting we go to the hospital and only when my throat began to close up and my voice got all pinched off and tight, did I think perhaps they were right. Then, my pesky right nasal passage had mysteriously stopped working (probably because my right eye swelling was getting in the way). When I lost the use of that little air intake channel, I figured I only had a portion of my throat and barely a left nostril for air; maybe it was time to hit the ‘ol ER.

Here are the first pictures of my allergic reaction, taken when we first got into the emergency room, as I was waiting to be called into Triage. (sorry for the crappy quality)

I thought I should smile for the second picture. Makes a big difference, huh??

I started swelling more as I sat there; cheeks, chin and neck were getting puffier by the minute. My face felt twice its normal size. The Benadryl I usually took didn't seem to work as well as it had in the past. When I told the nurses I took 75 mg of Benadryl, they glanced at each other and one of them said "I'm surprised you're still standing". Usually 50 mg of Benadryl knocks me out, but this time it didn't seem to take hold that quickly. When I got to the ER, they gave me an IV with even more Benadryl, in additoin to Prednisone and an anti-inflammatory.

This next shot shows how I look with lip liner and lipstick. I mean, when you finally have lips like Angelina Jolie, you have to experiment, no?

Prior to putting on the lip liner, the most GORGEOUS doctor came in to tend to me. I joked about showing him my driver’s license picture so he could see what I really looked like. He was extremely cute, but SEVERLY lacking in personality. The jokes did not go over very well with him. Besides, he was married and Ed was sitting nearby, so I couldn't really offer him up a tasting of my juicy Angelina lips.

Finally, here I am in my new "Jackie O" sunglasses so I could get out of there unnoticed…since I was in Florida among the beautiful people perhaps everyone would just think I was coming from a collagen lip injection or that I was swollen from a "procedure".

I am feeling better now. I'm less puffy, but still not back to normal. My nose is still wide and under my eyes are puffy. My lips went down but I no longer look like Melanie Griffith OR Angelina Jolie. Damn it!! But, at least I am not the hideous creature I was just a few days ago.
So, $120 later, I walked away with some steroids and a prescription for an EpiPen just in case this happens on the road and I'm not near a hospital. I can’t wait to see the bill from the hospital that I’ll be getting in the mail; I surely don’t think that the vacation is going to be worth THAT money.

After my little ordeal, I was tired, hungry and a little cranky so we promptly drove to Outback for a nice juicy steak. I figured it couldn’t get much worse, so I ordered another Caesar Salad. After all, I did have my EpiPen now.
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So here we are five years later, and I've never had to use that Epi-Pen. I still have it, but I'm sure it's not any good. I've never before and never after, had a reaction quite this bad. I have had a few incidents with swollen eyes and a couple of mini throat swellings, but for the most part, it seems to have gone away. I can usually tell when it's coming on, I get a little warning. Ed is also well aware of the issue just in case something happens so quickly it renders me speechless.

Although, I'm not sure that'll happen because even with my restricted airway and big lips, I was still able to talk.

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Marking This Day In History With A Vibrant Spot Of Color
Lighting To Do Laundry By
The Benefits Of Dating A White Boy
Shhhhhh, You’ll Wake The Driver


Gil said...

This stuff really scares me. You have to forgive the doctor with no personality as he knew what to do to save you. Did you ever find out what caused it?

MAE said...

...renew that Epi-pen first chance you get...not something to fool around with...especially because you never found out what caused it...MAE

alique said...

Wow....never seen anything like that....Thanks for sharing it.

Gina said...

haha this is too funny. my hubby had this happen to him once, but unfortunately, he didn't take pics, and i wasn't there to see. :(