Saturday, November 14, 2015

Anaphylaxis

Before we left Utah we celebrated our tenth anniversary. I always thought we would do something grand like go on a cruise or visit Europe together. However, circumstances as they were (only days away from our journey to the East) we had to settle on a dinner at Cheesecake Factory. I had Parmesan Crusted Chicken and Sean had Cajun Jambalaya. As usual, we had a bite off each other's plate to taste. We had a lovely time, great conversation, reflected on the past year and talked about hopes for the next ten years together.

On the way home, I began to get congested and my mouth felt itchy. I told Sean I felt like I was having allergies. We thought it was weird but kept driving. Within a few minutes my eyes started to water and I was getting uncomfortable. I had experienced allergies before so I wasn't completely alarmed. As we got closer to home, I continued feel more congested. When we got home, Sean suggested I try a hot shower to see if that would clear my congestion. I thought it wasn't a terrible idea. I went in the bathroom and noticed in the mirror that my eye was a little bit puffy but still wasn't terribly alarmed. No sooner had I turned the faucet on, that I felt a swollen lump on my tongue. Okay, now I was alarmed. I went straight out to Sean and told him he has to take me to the Emergency Room right away. We apologized to the babysitter and ran back out the door. The hospital was a 12 minute drive (I know the exact time because I used to work at this hospital). En route to the ER, my eyes began to rapidly swell, my throat was so swollen I could barely talk and it was very difficult to breathe. I sat in the passenger seat, leaning forward, starting to feel desperate for relief. I am very familiar with what anaphylaxis is, but it wasn't until I actually experienced it that I realized what anaphylaxis FEELS like.

In the Emergency Room, they quickly got my name and walked me straight back to a room. I couldn't see because my eyes were swollen shut but I remember IVs, a lot of hurrying and then being wheeled in to "Bed 11" which I was well aware what room that was: one with a crash cart because patients in that room are at risk of death. I didn't care, I just wanted to breathe. Once I was in that room, I heard someone say they were going to give me some Epinephrine. I am also well aware of what this medication is used for and I wasn't too worried. When they gave me the medication in my IV, it was then that I really thought I was facing death. There was a sudden elephant sitting on my chest, my extremities and head went completely numb, it was dark, my body felt heavy, and I couldn't move my hands. I literally thought to myself "I am dying, right now, this is it."

The symptoms subsided and I came to. I was happy to be alive but I was still very swollen. I stayed in the ER for about 6 hours until my throat swelling had significantly subsided. Before discharge, I asked the Dr to have a look at my cardiac strip during the Epinephrine. He returned and informed me that I had a 20 beat run of Ventricle Tachycardia (AKA V-Tach). This is a rhythm where, often times, the heart is not perfusing but there are crazy electrical things happening. Essentially, the reason why I thought I was dying is because I was. He said he does not typically see that with Epinephrine. I guess I am just the lucky one.

Could be a new onset shellfish allergy, or maybe just a random freak thing. Until I can get in to an allergist, I am not coming near shellfish or anything crazy. I now carry an Epi Pen a long with a little bit of paranoia.

So instead of a romantic getaway on a cruise boat, we spent our tenth anniversary in the Emergency Room making some serious memories. I have now come pretty close to death, much too close for me. But we made it through our first ten years of life together. We have taken many adventures and there are many to come....they just can't include Shellfish!
 Without the photo, you really can't get the full effect. Sweet dreams! (evil laugh)

2 comments:

Melanye said...

WHOA!!! This is crazy! So glad you are okay, now I'm going to avoid shellfish too just to be safe!

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