Like all bloggers, I constantly struggle to figure out how much of my personal life to share with the on-line community. In the past, I’ve tried to write primarily about the books I read and the books I write, and not to disclose very many details about the non-fiction part of my life.
Medical emergencies are very non-fiction. But in the past, I have complained about having a cold on-line, so I figure writing about far more sinister illnesses is also allowed. And I’ve spent more of my time in hospitals in the past week than I’d like, so I’m going to cross over to the personal side and tell you all what’s up.
I am allergic to nuts. Lots of people have food allergies, and it really isn’t a big deal as long as I pay close attention to the ingredients on everything I eat before putting it in my mouth. On Friday, I accidentally ate something that contained traces of nuts. Then I almost died.
I went to the emergency room shortly after eating the poison food and left a few hours later feeling sick but fully planning to live. In the past, my reactions to nuts have been dicey for a few hours but I quickly return to my old self. The ER doctor that I saw the first time told me that I should expect, or at least be prepared for, continued symptoms for two or three days. Until the nut particles had made it all the way out of my body, my immune system would continue to react.
I didn’t feel good on Friday night or Saturday morning. But I was happy enough lying in bed reading a book. Then on Saturday night, I started feeling worse. So I went back to the ER. Every symptom I had could easily be traced back to a severe allergic reaction. But knowing why my body was shutting down didn’t make me feel any better.
I was a triage level 4 (out of 5), which means I spent many hours in the ER and less than 2 minutes in the ER waiting room. The ER doctor told me I was interesting. He also told me it’s never good when doctors think you’re interesting. After lots of tests, a bunch of drugs, and an IV, my vitals stabilized enough for them to send me back home.
Eventually, the traces of nuts made there way out of my body. And I’m now back to my healthy old self. Except my tongue is still kind of tingly, but I'm trying to ignore that. This latest reaction definitely reminded me that I need to be a lot more careful when reading ingredients to all the foods I eat. My primary doctor once told me that one out of every seven anaphylactic reactions end in death. Today, I’m feeling happy to still be alive.