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I already said uncle

I already said uncle

March 18, 2007

Last night after all the children were in bed, I sat on the couch, feet propped up on the ottoman, surfing the internet and watching that show Flip This House. Have you ever seen this show? The people buy houses, completely renovate them in a couple weeks and then turn around and sell them for ungodly sums of money. They make it look so easy. I have yet to see anyone who lost money on the show. Personally I think that would add a nice dramatic touch.

As I sat there I heard my name being called. I realized it was the last lone cupcake in the refrigerator, calling out to me to eat it.

I got the lone cupcake out of the fridge and sat back down where I inhaled it in a few bites. I felt slightly guilty about eating it because I have been eating really poorly lately and my jeans have been fitting really poorly as a result.

After a few minutes of checking email I got up and went into the bathroom. I glanced in the mirror of the dimly lit bathroom and noticed my faced looked bloated and bumpy. “Oh my God,” I thought, “I have cellulite on my face?!?”

I can not tell you the depths of the despair and depression I suffered while I peed. Cellulite? On my face?

After I peed I looked at myself again in the mirror. And I realized it was hives. My cheeks were bright red, puffy, and covered with raised bumps. I could almost see it getting worse before my eyes.

And thus began the portion of my evening called freak the fuck out.

I immediately went and got the benedryl and took 4 teaspoons of it. By the time I did this and walked back to the mirror it was even worse.

The thing that is strange about allergic reactions like this, if you have never had one, is that it feels similar to a panic attack. Which makes it all the more confusing and stressful. And I began to question myself. Am I having a severe allergic reaction? or am I having a panic attack because the idea of having an allergic reaction is frightening to me. But why would I have a panic attack when I never have panic attacks?

I have anaphalactic reactions to shellfish, but have never had a reaction to anything else.

I walked around the house pacing and fretting. Then I went to get my Epi-pen and realized it was expired.

Then I went into my oldest son’s bedroom where he was awake reading.

“Do I look weird to you?” I asked.

He looked at me quizzically. “You mean your pajamas?”

“What? What’s weird about my pajamas? I was talking about my face.” I answered.

“Yeah, it looks red and bumpy-ish.”

I had him get out of bed and come downstairs with me. I was trying to play it off, probably unsuccessfully, as no big deal.

“I just want you to let me know if my face gets worse so I don’t have to keep looking in the mirror.” I said.

A couple of minutes passed and he said, “Your chin is all red now.”

At this point it was 11:45 at night. Less than 15 minutes had passed since the beginning of this and it was still getting worse in spite of the benadryl.

So I called one of my best friends and as soon as she heard my voice said, “I’ll be right over.”

She came, she looked at me, and off we went to the ER, the good one.

Blah blah long story short, many jokes about shellfish filled cupcakes later, they filled me to brim with prednisone and zantac. And it all began going away. By the time I left the ER 1.5 hours later I no longer loooked like I needed to have liposuction done to my face.

This morning I look pretty much normal. But this has shaken me. I have no idea what caused the reaction. Most likely dairy was the culprit, but I don’t know that definitively. I am angry at myself for letting my Epi-pen expire and not replacing it. I would never let that happen if it were one of my children, why do I treat myself with any less consideration.

I have been saying that I needed to take care of myself better and stop making excuses for why I can’t find the time to exercise, eat health foods, and stop the negative self-talk. This was a huge wake-up call.

And then while talking with Rob on the phone he tells me that he stabbed himself in the palm of his hand with a knife while cutting up cabbage. He said it bled everywhere and his friend was trying to convince him it needed stitches. But he MacGyvered himself a some bandages. Which is good. Two visits to the ER in one week is already over the acceptable limit of zero.

Posted by Chris @ 11:47 am  

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  1. Annika says:

    Jesus, I’m glad you’re OK. And because whenever I hear a story like this I think, “What would I do if that happened to me?” I’m also glad you have older kids and can go to the hospital when your husband is out of town, because I’m not sure I could handle having my 10-month-old along. (Of course, I am just assuming you didn’t bring any children. I certainly might be wrong about that.) Did I mention I’m glad you’re all right? And for pete’s sake, get a new epi-pen!

  2. Merry says:

    *Gasps in horror* My 3rd daughter had her fisrt epi-pen prescribed for her this week; a tree nut allergy. It has “freaked the fuck” out of me too. Do you have to sell your granmother to pay for a good allergy testing thing over there? because if not, do it now :)

    Lots of sympathy from across the pond and in the Puddle :)

  3. Merry says:

    (PS… but hey, it could have been cellulite on your face, so you know… you got off lightly ;) ;) ;) )

  4. Kerry says:

    What, no photos? hehe

  5. Sara says:

    Never had hives, never want ‘em. But, you know, if it would keep me away from the cupcakes, that would probably be okay. Glad you’re on the mend.

  6. Joy H says:

    maybe it was some weird food coloring in the cupcake icing????

    I’m glad to hear that you are feeling better now.

    side note: is the epi-pen being expired REALLY that big of a deal. Couldn’t you have used it in hopes that it would do something??? A doc. told me once that expiration dates don’t mean a whole lot; it’s mostly the med. companies wanting you to buy more stuff.

  7. annalise says:

    Very, very scary. So glad you are okay, and that you have friends you can call in the middle of the night when you need them.


    but still - cellulite on your face … now that would have been *really* scary ;-) No use taking a sarong onto the beach with you, even!

  8. Lilly says:

    Well, you’re still funny despite the trauma. You had me laughing out loud again. So sorry that you had the allergic reaction.

    As someone else said, if it isn’t whoppingly expensive it would probably be a really good thing to find out what in that merry little St Patrick’s cupcake caused the allergic reaction.

  9. Debbie says:

    I have to say, you are still funny even after what happened to you! OMG how scary!!! I’m so glad that you’re ok!!!

  10. robiewankenobie says:

    yeah, uh, the hell? from a cupcake? that’s so unfair!

  11. Liz in Australia says:

    So glad everything worked out okay! What a scary thing to happen.

  12. daysgoby says:

    Poor scared tomato!

    That happened at my house a few weeks ago - I’ve never seen my husband so frightened. He said it felt like his body was turning on him.

    Glad you’re okay.

  13. Tamatha says:

    Ohh, my stomach hurts from laughing…but then I feel guilty about it (damn those Puritanical anscestors of mine). Glad you’re on the mend.

  14. fairly odd mother says:

    Wow, that is something else! Glad to hear you are ok but what the heck? From a cupcake? My oldest is allergic to dairy—if you need any product info, let me know!

  15. Heather says:

    God hives are terrible. SO glad to hear you’re alright. You really should think about testing perhaps, make sure you know where it came from?

  16. Carolynn says:

    Why the Benadryl??? isn’t that for coughs???

    I can understand the ER giving you prednisone but Zantac is generally used for stomach ulcers or gastritis and the likes. You could probably have gotton away with using the Epi pen, I stopped keeping that sort of thing (I am highly allergic to Bee stings) as they were always expiring on me and I was never getting to use them


  17. zookeeper says:

    Glad you’re ok! Hmmm..dairy? Really? Is it normal to suddenly develop a dairy allergy as an adult? I would be more likely to point to the food coloring or gum drops. Those aren’t things you eat all the time, so more likely they hold the culprit.

  18. Heather says:

    Glad you are okay. I would have freaked out in your situation just being alone, minus the hubby. Why do THESE kind of things happen?:

    A) In the middle of the freakin night
    B) When we are minus a husband & alone with kids.

    Was this the first cupcake you had eaten? If so, you have strong will power. :P

  19. deborah says:

    I actually laid in a hospital bed, after taking a med having an anaphylactic reaction; just laying there wondering why I couldn’t swallow. For like 10 minutes!! Then I went to the bathroom, like you, looked in the mirror and realized what happened. DUH to me. you had me laughign again. thanks. scary though, isn’t it

  20. amy says:

    I am really sorry this had to happen. I do hope you put yourself on your own list! One thought — could the food coloring in the cupcakes be the culprit? (I thought you said you made green cupcakes but maybe I am just imagining that?)

  21. deb says:

    I’m so glad you’re ok.

    Don’t ‘freak the #$%& out’ if it happens — but my hives play ‘peek-a-boo’ for a few days even with the good drugs from the hospital.

    allergic to fun drugs, shellfish and nuts

  22. liz says:

    Holy guacamole.

    I’m glad you’re okay. You’ve got good sense.

    I’m gonna guess the food coloring too.

  23. Lillesol says:

    Many others have suggested it — but it’s actually a valid thought — that it may have been the food coloring in the cupcake/frosting/whatever. One Christmas, at 18 mos., my son had hives all over his body. The culprit: the FIVE pieces of fruitcake he had devoured which were filled with red & green maraschino cherries. We also had a “freak the fuck out” experience at the ER, but it has never happened again. Although we now wisely do what an Edward Gorey cartoon suggested we should do with Christamas cake: we bury it.

  24. Shannon says:

    OMG! That reminded me of when I was in high school and my dad was out of town. I woke up at about three in the morning hearing mens voices outside of the bedroom. I opened the door and there was a hallway full of paramedics and my mom mostly unconscious on the floor.

    That was the day she found out she is very allergic to walnuts!

    Good move going to the ER!

  25. cakebaker says:

    I’ve gotten over the freaking out, only because I’ve had the same experience several times. I keep good old benedryl, zyrtec and cortaid in the house now (my epipen expired too). The biggest thing for me is trying to stay calm - I mean, your body’s gone crazy, how can you not flip! I went through the testing, came back as slightly sensitive to some proteins. I diagnosed myself though - don’t overeat things like, say, bratwurst!(that’s what caused one of my attacks) You can get hives from food additives and also from indigestion… I suppose that’s why they gave you the zantac? Glad you’re feeling better.

  26. Laura K. says:

    ummm no benadryl is not used for coughs dear previous commenter!

    Glad you’re ok though! You always make it so funny even when it’s so serious!

  27. Novaks8 says:

    Glad you are okay!

    My son started reacting to tomatos a few years ago. His lips swell up like hot dogs and he feels generally bad.

    We just adapted and make sure to always keep tomatos away from his food.

    Then last weekend, he ate at a Thai restaurant and God only knows what he got into but he was in the bed for DAYS.
    His entire mouth reacted and swelled up. We thought it was something wrong with his gum where a tooth had been pulled at first.

    Now I think we need to get an epi-pen for him.

    Did you make the cupcakes or buy them pre-made?

    Perhaps they (or their container) came in contact with seafood at the store.
    I worked with a woman once who could rub up against a bowl that once contained seafood and go into severe shock.

    Hope you figure it out!


  28. Darren McLikeshimself says:

    What I find amazing about this is that you made it in and out of an ER in ninety-minutes.

  29. Mom101 says:

    Wow, so glad you’re okay. I know what you mean about taking care of ourselves worse than everyone else; isn’t that the mother’s curse?

    Meanwhile what does it say about our society when your first instinct that you have cellulite on your face? Having seen you in person, I don’t think you have it anywhere.

  30. rachel says:

    eeeeek! I guess your dairy allergy has gotten worse. gah. so glad you’re OK now. And you inspired me to make shamrock cupcakes myself, so my body thanks you.

    I just realized I need to redo our Epi-Pens - another set expired in February. I’ve relaxed since berries is such a weird allergy.

  31. ben says:

    Revenge of the Cupcakes.

    Sounds like something you’d see on the Playboy Channel.

    And I agree on the “flip this house” thing - how do they do that? Sometimes on some of these shows it ends without saying they sold it for gobs of money, I think THEY are the ones that lose money, but they don’t want to ruin the concept of the show by saying that reality got in the way.

  32. Kelly says:

    The ‘weird pajama’ part got me snickering here at work. So glad you’re okay, and I hope you can eat cupcakes again.

    Benadryl isn’t just for coughs/colds, it is also for allergic reactions (anti-inflammatory). They give it to me with my chemo drugs as a pre-med along with Zantac to counteract the side effects. I’m guessing in this case the Zantac was to counteract the Prednisone (steroid).

  33. Jennifer says:

    This happened to me exactly 1 year ago for the first time. They had no idea what I was allergic to, we had eaten out. It happened again in July. I had to actually use the epi-pen as I was blacking out off and on. They still had no idea what I could be allergic to. I had a couple of more episodes, but was able to talk myself out of them by laying down, forcing myself to be calm, and breathing deeply. Hmm, I think now that they were panic attacks. Very scary none-the-less. I am glad you are ok. I know how scary it can be. I guess you shouldn’t eat anymore cupcakes, right? LOL


  34. Stacy says:

    Wow! Super scary Chris. Gl;ad you went to the ER.
    Similar thing happened to me last month, after taking a medicine I have been on for 2 years. Suddenly hives all over and trouble catching my breath…Freaked me the *&#$ out!
    Could a dairy allergy really do that? Yikes!

  35. Rebecca says:

    Hey there… I’m so glad you’re okay. I had three bouts of anaphylatic shock — hives, swollen throat, swollen ear passages (??) and the ER trip with IV benadryl and steroids — before my allergist and I finally figured out what it was (it was celery… and if I could change the font size to make that smaller, I would; it sounds so stupid, yet the f-ing vegetable almost killed me — thrice! yay!).

    Anyway, I can definitely relate to how scary that kind of reaction can be, and I’m sorry you had to experience it. And I was going to say what Joy H. said above: if you think you need your Epi-pen, expire date be damned — you should whip that sucker out. My father-in-law is an MD and told me the same thing that Joy’s person said.

    I grew up hearing from my mom (who’s not a doc) that drug expire dates were really important, and always had this notion that to use meds after the dates would poison you, but I’m taking the doc’s word for it over my mom’s. That’s not to say that you should never refill your ’script again, just don’t put off using your Epi-pen just because of the expire date if you think you need it. (Frankly, I have never yet used one, and the idea scares the crap out of me — but I guess in the moment, I need to trust that dying would be worse than stabbing a needle into my thigh. My husband, by the way, seems entirely too eager to use it on me…)

    Anyway, glad you’re doing okay.

  36. Karyn says:

    Eggs! Eggs in the cupcakes…after reading your current post then this one…it looks like the foot is down on EGGS!

    I’m just sayin…

  37. laura says:

    Eeek. I know how scary that must’ve felt. I’ve had that happen…look in the mirror to find something is clearly wrong. And, as someone prone to panic attacks AND allergies, it’s so hard to know which is which! If it’s panic, you know you can calm yourself down. But if it’s allergies, it could be serious. How long do you wait to find out? Anyway, glad you were ok. I stumbled across your site looking for info on prednisone.