Friday, February 26, 2010

When cups attack

Every had one of those days when things are going well?

*Kids off to school -- on time, permission slips signed. Score!

*Good, albeit big, hair day--I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille!

*Stop for my bagel and coffee, and get a couple of treats for the ladies I work with and still am running on time--Nice!

I'm feeling very "you got it going on, Mama-san" while bobbing my head to the music I'm listening to...and look down to see peanut butter from my bagel has left a dribble on my jacket. I have napkins aplenty so I dab at it and manage to make it not too noticeable (another wardrobe crisis averted). I'm taking a sip of my coffee, and just as the light changes and I am putting my coffee back in the cupholder, the sleeve of the cup takes a weird turn and I dump coffee all over my lap.

On the bright side, I laugh, and think that maybe the caffeine will reduce the appearance of dimples in my thighs, without the expensive spa treatment.

I'm convinced I am the only adult in the world who should not leave the house unless she's wearing a bib.

In my case, given my graceful eating tendencies, it would have to be a bib....the size of Montana.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's raining, it's pouring

Nothing like a little rain to make me feel lazy.

I should be cleaning the house and making beds and taking care of a little grocery shopping, but I've been baking cookies and blogging.

I know if I go lay down and try to read, I'll be asleep. The dishes will stay in the sink, the chicken will stay in the fridge, and I will still be in my pajamas.

Pajamas being a far cry from yesterday, when I enjoyed a rare moment of glamour. I got my haircut in the morning, and she dried it straight. I love it when she does that, but I can't get the same smooth-like-glass sassiness she does. It's so awesome. I'd dropped by the mall to check out a new lip color I'd seen in a magazine. It looked terrible. And the lady at the counter intimidated me a little. Okay, a lot. In spite of my sassy coif. I tried another color of theirs and decided thanks, but no thanks. As I was about to head out to the van, I realized I hated the way my lips felt and before I knew it, my feet were headed towards the MAC counter. Oooooh. They were hosting an event, to roll out the spring colors and usually, when they have that many people in that particular corner, I am, again, intimidated, and don't stop. But my lips needed to go there, and as I scooted past the man wearing an orange coat and purple pants, not to mention the pink-haired model, I wasn't sure if I would stay long enough to do anything but grab a Kleenex. But suddenly, there I was, chatting up a salesgirl and looking at the colors, wiping the other stuff off my lips.

"Try this," she said, as she handed me a wand. I looked at my mouth and was a goner.

We started talking about some other things...and the next place I found myself was in a makeup chair, sassy coif pinned back, at the mercy of the salesgirl.

Man, she worked a mean brush. It felt soooo good as she painted and applied and chatted and explained. I could have sat there all day.

She handed me the mirror and I braced myself for the inevitable face-full-of-ohmygod-I'm-a-drag-queen makeup before opening my eyes to peek.

Holy cow.

"You'll be coming over every morning to my house to repeat this, right?" I beamed at her. I looked amazing. Even if it was more makeup than I'd use in two weeks, it was the most amazing bronze-and-reddishpink-and-glossy as I've ever been. It took an armload of personal restraint to not buy all the stuff I had on...except the lipstick.

Viva Glam Cindy, meet Viva Glam...Anna.

Of course, my husband was not home.

Of course, there is no photograph to post.

But it's nice to know that Glam Anna is still in here, even if she's hiding in pajamas.

My shirt's staying on

After my harrowing experience with the shrimp, I had to follow up with my doctor (who did prescribe me the epipen) and she recommended I go to an allergist (I'd already made the appointment).

The allergist was a little stymied, because usually, when people react to food, it's immediate. I was an unusual case. I told him I'd also poked myself on a cactus as I waited in line for my turn at the trough (who has LIVE cacti in a boardroom, I ask you?) and that I was not convinced that this event wasn't a contributing factor, considering I had to pull the thorns out of my arm (I had a sweater on and didn't realize they were there until they started making me itch) as I sat there having lunch. I'd cut some thorns off the thing to bring to my appointment and he said he'd make a concoction with them, and to come back for skin testing the following week. "No antihistimines in the meantime," he added.

Skin testing involves you taking off your shirt and allowing the nurse to poke you with little itty bitty needles that are dipped in various allergy-causing substances all over your back. And in my case, forearm and upper arm, too. I got tested for all the shellfish, fish, my cactus, nuts, and various "environmentals".

I knew I was not in for a good time when I felt spots on my back erupt and itch within two minutes of the nurse leaving. I'd giggled as she poked me as I am super ticklish, and now, in my agony, I felt I'd probably kick her the next time she came into the room. I concentrated on my iPod and just when I thought I'd not be able to handle it anymore, she came walking back in.

It's never good to hear a medical professional gasp as they enter a room and look at you. "I'm getting someone else to help me read this," she said, "so we can get it done as quickly as possible." I appreciated that effort, because had I not been sitting on my hands at that point, I'd most certainly have jumped off the table and started rubbing my back up against the door jamb like a bear. Maybe just a little rub here, I bargained with myself, gingerly easing my finger over a spot close to my shoulder just before she came back.

I heard series of numbers, like 8,20 and 11,45 and later I found out that the first number is the mm of width your hive is and the second number is for the redness/reaction flaring out from this. Once she was done, she wiped my back and arm off and then smeared anti-itch cream all over them. "He'll be in soon," she said, "go ahead and get dressed."

She didn't have to tell me twice. I got my shirt back on in record time and allowed myself to scratch a little. She came back in a few minutes later with a little cup of medicine and a pill. "For the itching," she said. While I reacted to the shellfish (the lobster hive was huge), my back reaction to me was by far worse.

My doctor came in and proclaimed, "You're allergic to the world."

I wasn't surprised. I knew this, but I didn't know to what degree. After we talked, we decided that I don't have a definitive answer for my reaction that landed me in the ER, but that due to my overall allergicness, maybe there were other environmental factors that, coupled with the shrimp, pushed me over the edge. Based on what has happened to me in the past, I was okay with this. I am not doing shots, and I will carry the epipen and liquid Benadryl with me at all times, and just be cautious, like I was before.

But I'll be a cheap date from here on out--no shellfish or lobster for me.

He did suggest I bring the food that I had that day to his office and eat it there, just to see what happens. I'm thinking I will pass on that--I'm just not up to it right now; maybe in a few weeks or maybe never...we'll see.

I called Mr. W as soon as I was out. "Guess what the doctor says I'm allergic to?" I asked with glee.

"Dust?" he replied hopefully.

"Nice try," I said. "Apparently, I'm allergic to everything in the world....except you."

I decided I'd wait to tell him I'd be needing a bigger purse. That Epipen takes up a lot of space.....

Purple is my color

I've had allergies my whole life, most usually the seasonal kind and occasionally the hive-y kind. I never know when they are going to hit. While I am universally careful about things I put on my skin, and plants I am around, I've never had to worry about what I eat.

Not until about a month ago.

I was at work and we were having a lab notebook signing party. I know. "Lab notebook" and "party" are not two words that are usually strung together to good effect, but for me and my geek colleagues, it means someone else picks up the tab for lunch and we get to nitpick over each other's lab notebooks, ultimately signing off (on each and every page) that the documentation of everyone's experiments is done appropriately. This time, we had Chinese food, from a place I've eaten from before and really liked. I branched out this time, though, and in addition to the garlic chicken, I decided to try the shrimp with pine nuts. I love shrimp. I've eaten it before, but.... came to pass that about an hour and a half afterwards, I was working in the lab, and my palm started to itch like mad. I figured I'd gotten some water under my glove, and that was causing the irritation...and then the back of my neck started itching. "Are you okay?" one of my friends asked, as she noticed me scratching. "Yeah," I said, "I'm just itchy, it's nothing, it's just hot in this coat." I blew it off for a few seconds, but then my, um, groin started itching, and there was no way to gracefully scratch that in public. I told my friend to take over for a few minutes so I could check out what was going on, because by that point, I'd ripped off my gloves to scratch at my neck. Once I got into the bathroom, my forearm was itching and parts of me felt like they were on fire. I pulled up my sleeve, and watched hives start popping out.

It was very "An American Werewolf in London."

I knew I was in trouble. I called down to my other coworkers for help and started heading towards the basement (where we usually work) to look for my boss. As I left the bathroom, my lip started itching. My boss and I missed each other because she took the stairs and I took the elevator. She ran back down to me and started popping Benadryl pills out to me (I took a couple) as I tried to not scratch and she started making calls, for help and maybe an epipen. I felt something in my mouth and suddenly, the itching didn't seem so important. "My tongue is swelling," I said to her as she said "I'm calling 911." I headed upstairs (finding us in that building is impossible if you don't know where to look) so that I could wait outside for the paramedics. I'm sitting on the bench, scratching, holding my cell phone, and doing the Mom checklist in my head of where all the kids were at and did they have rides home and where is my husband? I'm frustrated, because even though as I'm trying to make calls, I'm realizing no one will understand me because at this point, I wath tawthing like thwis. Finally the paramedics arrive, just as I'm starting to really panic, because my breathing feels shallow, and they want to chat. Really? I'm thinking, fixthisgivemesomethingnownownow and I'm miming for my boss to speak for me and the paramedics start looking like they are standing behind a tv screen gone to snow.

After we've provided them all the names of everyone I've ever met, they give me some more Benadryl through the IV they've started and within a few minutes, the tv screen of snow is gone. As they load me into the ambulance, my itching has miraculously stopped (oh, thank you) and I can breathe better (blessed oxygen), and I am feeling much more kindly towards the paramedics...but it was still the longest 15-minute ride of my life on the way to the ER.

Gawd. More questions.

I'm wishing for more medicine, because I'm so afraid the itching will return and don't want any part of that again. And I look up, just in time to see my husband in the doorway. The doc is standing behind him, cracking wise, and finally, finally, someone puts something in my IV that is sure to make the itching stay away for a while. After about twenty minutes, I hear myself talking but it's from that lovely Benadryl twilight-chill and I know I'm babbling and dozing at almost the same time but I really can't help it.

Great. My husband gets a preview of our golden years, minus the drool and pureed veggies.

I got discharged a couple of hours later, and my friend (who is my boss) that accompanied me got to ride back to her car in the back of a police car.

"It's not every day you get to ride in an ambulance and a police car," she joked as she climbed in the backseat.

"You just remember that when it's time for my review," I replied.

Later, I asked my husband why he was so non-plussed, so calm, adding for dramatic flair emphasis on the part where I pointed out "You do realize these kinds of reactions can be life-threatening." He gave me the look that says 'you're pushing it' and said that by the time he got to the ER, I was over the worst of it, and since he didn't witness the whole thing, it was easy for him to not overreact. I rolled my eyes and let the Benadryl take over. It wasn't until I overheard him telling one of his coworkers a few days later, "She was still all puffy when I got there, like that girl from Willy Wonka," that I even detected that he'd been a little rattled in the tone of his voice.

And it also explained to me why, as I dozed off that night in my Benadryl haze, I heard him say: "Good night, Violet."