The Night I Almost Died

by janet on May 5th, 2008

OK, well, the title is … hyperbole. I’m sorry that I’ve been missing. It’s not really all due to my near death experience. It’s more about being busy as shit.

Anyway, I read once that people should stop apologizing for not blogging and just fucking blog already. Here I goooo!

I have this crazy overactive immune system that thinks I’m allergic to everything. I mean, I’m not one of those loser peanut kids. But still, I have gone to the emergency room more than once because I ate something weird.

My symptoms – hives, puffiness, itchiness, stomach pain, diarrhea, wheezing, and, eventually, throat closure. The first ER trip was after a crazy dinner in Chinatown in NYC – the culprit was either crab, shrimp, or jellyfish. That time I started dying on the subway, continued dying in front of the New York Stock Exchange, and was finally revived in the ER closest to the Twin Towers. The second time was in Marina del Rey, after eating an entire can of lychees, where I freaked James the fuck out with my scary Japanese horror-movie swollen eyes. This time it was…a salad.

Suspect #1: Whole Foods Organic Mixed Baby Greens

A SALAD? RUFSM? I knew, though, instantly, from the unique “this-is-anaphylactic-shock-you’re-fucked” pain in my tummy. I immediately took two Benadryl and futilely tried to sleep it off. But then I started wheezing and went out into the living room where Tinx said, “Dude. You’re puffy.”

Nestled in my bag, my Epipen beckoned to me with its glistening automatic trigger needle. At this point: To inject or not inject? Too soon, too soon. I had at least an hour before my throat would close.

I wanted to go Urgent Care instead of ER, so Tinx drove me to St. John’s instead of the ER that is next door to my apartment. But then we ended up in the St. John’s ER anyway. After traveling through a maze of corridors, we were told to sign in.

Let me tell you, there is NO SUCH THING as patient privacy. The waiting seats are probably 11.5 inches behind the check-in window. The lady behind the window alternately screamed, “What’s the matter?” and “What’s your mother’s maiden name?” and “Tell me your social security number!” at me. I wrote them down so I didn’t have to broadcast it and then she just yelled the information back to me. Fucker.

Suspect #2: TJ’s Sunflower seeds.

Given priority ahead of me in line were (1) a man whose mother had had a stroke and couldn’t get to the ER from the car (they wouldn’t treat her unless she came in WTF?!) and (2) this poor guy who, when asked “What’s the matter?” said, “Um, I’m trying to figure out how to say this. Um, I think I might be a danger to myself.” Poor poor guy. The lady was not impressed and made him wait, where he promptly lay down in the hall and started crying (punctuated by bouts of insane laughter).

When I saw the triage nurse an hour later, she was very concerned. My wheezing was dramatic by then and my blood pressure was through the roof. But that’s normal for me. I was whisked into a bed where a flaming nurse and a nice doctor lady took care of me.

The rest of the night was a blur because of the drugs but I’d been through this enough times to know exactly what was going to happen. Some super strong corticosteroids and some super strong antihistamines, and some albuterol. I got reeeaaallly loopy and sassed my nurse out and Tinx shushed me. We played Monopoly on her cellphone (NOT FUN) and went home a couple hours later.

Suspect #3: TJ’s Greek Goddess Dressing

So. What the fuck was I allergic to? I’ve had everything before. But I was fine with shrimp and crab until I turned 17 so perhaps I have acquired some sort of allergy. The sunflower seeds seem suspicious because they are in the nut family? Is that even true? While the name of the dressing is exotic, the ingredients in the dressing are completely benign. Which leaves…the fucking lettuce? I think it was some sort of weird mold because the greens were over a week old.

Anyway, I refuse to get food phobic and will continue eating everything under the sun. Big thanks and roomie love to Tinx for driving. I leave you with a loopy conversation –

Me: [loopily, slurring, opening and closing mouth] Dry mouth. Dry mouth. Ha ha haaaa side effects may include dry mouth, constipation –

2 Responses to “The Night I Almost Died”

  1. tinks says:

    anytime, roomslice

  2. Liz says:

    Oh Janet, this sounds so scary! I’m glad you’re ok!

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