Monday night at work I got some money out of the ATM and wanted some change. I had eaten the “lunch” (in quotations cause it was 11 p.m.) that I had brought but I thought that maybe I could get some dessert in the cafeteria and get some change. Two birds thing, ya dig?
I walk into the cafeteria and the first thing I see are these scrumptious looking brownies. They look exactly like the brownies that Marilyn cooks and, man, are those some delicious brownies. I pick one up and head to the cashier.
Just so happens that the cashier is eating one as I get up there.
“There aren’t any nuts in these, are there?”
She shakes her head no. I pay my little dollar, get my change and sit down to enjoy this delightful looking brownie.
I take a bite and think, hmm, this has an odd texture. I swallow the morsel just as I realize that the brownie didn’t have an odd texture. It was my tongue. It was already starting to swell from the layer of peanut butter in the middle of the brownie.
I’m not just a little allergic to peanuts. I’m violently allergic to them. Always have been.
I spit out what I can, head immediately to the bathroom to wash my mouth out and spit out anything remaining. I then go straight to my crew leader to tell him that I was in trouble and needed medical attention.
I head down to medical and talk the security guard into giving me some Benadryl to suppress the histamine reaction. He looked at me a little askance because I think he believed that it was just for sinus problems. Doesn’t matter, though, he gave it to me.
We discussed sending me to the ER and I was thinking that I could tough it out. Five or ten minutes later, my tongue had gone back down and I felt bad, but not imperiled. The security guard and my crew leader talked me into chilling out a bit longer just to see. About 10 minutes after that, I started wheezing and coughing and my nose started running. I changed my mind at that point and told them that I should probably go to the ER.
Ben, a crew leader from Curing, drove me to the ER and I was admitted promptly.
They put an IV into my arm without an actual IV. It was just the thing the IV attaches to.
Then they forgot all about me. I sat there, thinking that someone was gonna be right there. For an hour. At that point my breathing had gotten to a whistling wheeze and I felt a little light-headed. I got up and walked to the nurses station and informed one of them that I was having a hard time breathing.
Things happened quick after that. A doctor saw me about a minute later, and another minute after that the nurse comes into the room with several syringe things that fit into the IV hookup they had implanted in me.
She told me what each one was before she shot them into my IV, but really all I heard was the first and part of the second. Benadryl was the first one (HA, I knew I was right about that) and the second was a steriod. “Steroid” was the only word I heard because my head was already spinning. My breathing became easier instantly.
Have you ever gotten so drunk that when you laid down on the bed and closed your eyes the world seemed like it was spinning? Try that sober. With your eyes open.
The nurse sat me up all the way and I immediately clutched my stomach.
“Are you feeling sick?”
All I could do was nod. If I had unclenched my jaw, it would’ve been all over.
She rushed out of the room and came back quickly with one of those little pink plastic trays they use for everything in hospitals. I unclenched my jaw.
I threw up everything. Repeatedly. I threw up my knees.
Since work had begun that night, I had eaten 2 pickled sausages that I had bought from the gas station, 2 hot dogs, some potato chips, a peach, plenty of Diet Mountain Dew, a small bite of brownie and a half dozen cinnamon breath mints. Most of it was still there. Man, what a smell.
The nurse kept repeating, “I’m sorry”, over and over again. I guess for being a party to my regurgitation. All I could think was “Thank you”, over and over again. I could breathe. Between heaves, of course, but breathing nonetheless. And puke breath is better than no breath at all, I say.
The next couple of hours were very boring in comparison to that. I passed in and out of consciousness as the chemical combo they shot in me had my head wrong but, again, my breathing right.
Ben came and picked me back up and got me back to the plant at about 6 a.m. My shift doesn’t end until 7:15 a.m., so I went back to my machine for the last hour. Heck with it, why not? I needed some more time for the shakes to go away before I got on the road.
I call my lovely wife and tell her the story on the way home and get to the house grateful that the night is finally over.
As I’m getting ready for bed I take all the little bits of paper and releases and whatnot that I got from the hospital and look over them. I find the one that has the post-discharge instructions on it, guess what it says.
“Stay away from peanuts”.
Thanks, Doc. Wish I had thought of that.