Sunday, June 7, 2009

Well Doc, It All Started When My Lips Tried To Eat My Face.

Yesterday, I was mercilessly attacked by a one-two punch of gastronomic mortality. tried to kill me!

big giant lips Pictures, Images and Photos

I'm pretty sure I managed to be assailed simultaneously on two separate and unrelated fronts...either of which would have been highly unpleasant all on their own.

First, there was the apple. As a child, I loved apples and ate them constantly. Somewhere in my 20's I developed an allergy to them. If I ate one, I'd feel like my lips were puffing up and my throat was closing. I stopped eating them for a while, though I'd have a little taste every once in a while, just to see if it would still happen. (You might view this as equivalent to hitting my thumb with a hammer once every 3 years to see if, maybe, it wouldn't hurt this time, but it made sense to me.) Anyway, about 5 years ago, I discovered that I only had a bad reaction to certain varieties of apples and...oh joy...I could eat others. I'm still usually careful to just have a bite or two and make sure I don't have a bad reaction before diving in and eating the rest.

Yesterday, I had three little slices of an apple. It's important to know that previously, my allergic reaction consisted of my lips feeling like they had swelled up...there wasn't actually any visible evidence. Yesterday, my lips actually grew to three or four times their normal size and threatened to eat my face. I swear, I was waiting for them to explode. Benadryl was having no effect whatsoever.

There's a couple of things you should be aware of at this point. 1.) GF and I were supposed to go to a wrap party last night for the movie she just finished working on, (Don't worry honey, I 'll be fine in another hour or so), and 2.) the leftover shrimp (at least I think that's what gets the blame), I had eaten around lunchtime were brewing some evil concoction in my belly, just waiting for the right moment to launch their sneak attack on my undefended flanks.

First, it felt like a little heartburn. Some Tums and a glass of seltzer oughta fix that up in a jiffy. (Drinking fizzy water when your lips have expanded to the size of monster-truck tires is actually not all that fun, but I figured it was medicinal so I soldiered on.)

The heartburn morphed into something else. I won't go into too many details about it, but I was beginning to feel downright uncomfortable! Uncomfortable morphed into slightly painful stomach cramps. Slightly painful stomach cramps were merely a mild prelude to all-encompasing full-body cramps. At various times during this interlude, I felt like passing out, experienced uncontrollable shivering from sudden cold sweats and lacked the energy to roll over in bed trying to find a more comfortable position. My lips were still reaching for epic new proportions so they could suffocate me.

I was rooting for one of my maladies to just get it over with and kill me quickly.

Eventually, I slept. Ah...sweet, blissful, benevolent Hypnos (who also saw fit to keep his son Morpheus at bay).

I woke up at about 6:00 a.m. feeling entirely human again (albeit wrung out from a night of defeating(?) my gastronomic insurrection). And, no...we didn't make it to the wrap party. Truth be told, I wouldn't have wanted to upstage the movie's star with my lucious, bee-stung lips, so all's well that ends well.


Jim Wright said...

Seriously, Nathan, you need to get a full allergy test battery.

I once had to help a medic do an emergency tracheotomy on a guy who went into allergic anaphylactic shock. Dude, seriously you don't want that. Go get tested.

Or called Mick Jagger and see if he needs a stunt double...

Nathan said...

I think my allergies have morphed again in my pending dotage. I know I have reactions to bee stings that I didn't have when I was a kid. (My hand blew up like a basketball once.) might not be a bad idea to run around equipped with an epi-pen.

Ilya said...

What does it say about me that I mostly pity you for not being able to enjoy apples, as opposed to feeling sorry for your gastro-insurgencies, of which I have too many myself...

Random Michelle K said...


What Jim said.

Allergies can change over time, and I'm pretty sure that Anon GF doesn't want to do a tracheotomy on you.

Nathan said...


Your POV is totally understood. Why do you think I keep trying the damned things?

And Michelle...I'm not so keen on the idea of her cutting open my throat either.

Dr. Phil (Physics) said...

"Love means...

... she'd slit your throat for you."

Awww. Actually, the leftover shrimp line reminds me of an episode of Cowboy Bebop. The one with the spare refrigerator. (grin)

Dr. Phil

vince said...

Bummer, dude. No more apples or shrimp for you.

vince said...

Radio show in half an hour.

neurondoc said...

I knew someone who died of an anaphylactic reaction to chili. The restaurant thickened the chili with peanut butter and never thought to mention it (this was in 1986). She never thought to ask. An Epi-pen would've saved her life (but they didn't exist yet).

Your free medical advice from a doctor: Get thee to an allergist.

WendyB_09 said...

I've got a lot of food allergies and over the years manage to avoid most of them. But they do change over time and every once in a while I'll discover a new one.

A few years ago I'm at a Japanese steak house with some friends. About half way through my salad with house dressing, I can't swallow properly, thought I had something stuck in my throat. Excused my self for a while, and was gone longer than I realized.

Someone at the table asked where I'd gone, person next to me said I'd left suddenly. Couple across the table exchange looks, husband sez...she's got food allergies... and the wife takes off to find me.

The worst of the reaction was over, but when I told her benadryl did nothing, she whips out an epi pen. Warns me I'll have a hot flash, whatever, I'd already had one with the reaction. And sticks it to me.

Now, before you ask why I let someone shoot me up with an epi pen and didn't ask questions, I'll assure you the person doing using me as a pin cushion has been a RN for nearly 30 years. Had the epi pen because her husband (my former roomie) is severly allergic to pine nuts, practically can't be in the same room with them. (Before they met, I'd been known to sprint across a banquet hall to warn him of pine nuts hiding in a salad!)

Then my favorite nurse goes to find the manager, who is reluctant to reveal the ingredients in their house salad dressing. She threatens ambulances and attorneys (the husband), owner relents and we get the list. Only thing on it I'd only had once before was lemon grass. Last time it only pissed off my stomach, but it was in a much more diluted form. In the salad dressing it was one of the main ingerdients!

With the crisis averted, we go back and I was able to finish my entre. Once the reaction stopped I was able to eat normally, although I had a massive headache the rest of evening.

So add Lemon Grass to the list, along with peppers of any kind and most types of beans.

Glad you're doing better.

MWT said...

The act of testing the allergy can actually cause it to worsen. You'd do better to just stick with the known safe ones and stop trying others.