As you can see, I've been doing some redecorating around here. I was getting tired of the 1999 blog look, so I've upgraded to late-1999. May not be totally done yet, but it's allowed me to add some new features on the right side of the page, as well as expand the reading area. That means pictures will also fit better from now on.
But that's not the topic for today.
Detours. As a father of two children under the age of 5, nearly every week we experience some kind of family detour. Plans that were made and have to be changed or scrapped. Directions that have to be shifted due to new roadblocks that were impossible to foresee. Last night was our detour of the week.
I was at work at 4:30 pm yesterday, nearly done with a half-day of training for a new software program our company is using. I had taken a quick break to get the power cord for my computer (training had 30 minutes left, my computer had 4 minutes left before shutting down). On the way, I spotted some leftover sandwiches in the company kitchen. I asked around and heard that they were chicken salad. Don't think I've ever eaten chicken salad before, but I love tuna salad, so it works for me. Grabbed a sandwich and headed back to the training room.
I was on my second bite when the familar feeling hit me, a feeling I haven't experienced more than once in the past decade. I was allergic to something in the sandwich. My tongue and mouth started to itch.
I immediately left the room (again... can't you tell I was the star pupil), went back to the kitchen and opened up my wallet to get the Benadryl dissolvable strips that we kept there for emergencies with Samantha's food allergies. They were nearly impossible to open -- requiring a very sharp knife and the removal of three of the package's four edges. Seemed overboard for a medicine sometimes used to halt or lessen an allergic emergency. I took two strips since they were Children's strength.
Went back to training, and that lasted for about three minutes before I realized my stomach wasn't feeling so great. Left again, this time for the bathroom. The next half-hour is a blur of unproductive heaving (from the gallons of mucus my body was producing, and dripping down my throat) and constant back-and-forth in my head on whether I should leave or stay. My nasal passages had become completely blocked and my skin was hot, but I could still breathe through my mouth. Eventually I left the bathroom and went back to my office.
Called Jamie and explained what was going on, and she said she was coming right away to pick me up. She instructed me to find out who else was in the office and to make sure they would watch me until she got there. I complied and then sat back at my desk.
Shut down the computer. Then slapped my head and turned it back on (the computer, not my head) -- the whole internet is at my fingertips! I can look and see if perhaps my dose of Benadryl was too small. Sure enough, it said I could easily take 100mg or more in case of an allergic reaction. And with the way I metabolize medicines (near legend status, I tell you), I could probably exceed 100mg and still be just fine. I dug up the third and final Benadryl strip from my wallet and read that it has... 12.5mg. So I've only taken 25mg so far. Oops. I downed the third strip and then went to the kitchen to see if they had any Benadryl pills. They did. I took two. Up to 87.5mg now. Suck on that, allergy.
Very interesting things were happening to my skin. My arms and legs were getting very red and splotchy. My stomach and chest were the same. My face and neck were very, very hot and itchy. I filled a ziploc bag with some ice and put it on my face and neck. Every few minutes I would still have the dry heaves, but it seemed to be happening less often.
The skin thing was just freaky. It was so pronounced that you almost couldn't tell what my natural color was. Like a zebra -- is it black with white stripes, or white with black stripes? I couldn't tell if I was a white boy with red splotches or a red boy with white splotches. I was admiring my new hue when Jamie came into the office. We chatted for a second with my fellow employees and then headed down the elevator.
Why is it that whenever you are very sick, and holding a barf bag, the elevator is guaranteed to be completely full of people squashed around you?
We got to the van and Jamie asked if we should stop by the hospital on the way home. Memorial Hermann hospital is less than a half-mile from the office, so I said "yes". I was 90% sure that I was getting better already, but boy I'd feel dumb if we drove home and then my head exploded or I suddenly obtained the ability to be a handyman. Some things just aren't worth the risk.
Got to the Emergency Room and Jamie parked the car while I went in and started with triage. Holy crap that was slow. Dozens of questions and insurance checks. At one point, holding my bag, I almost said, "Look, lady. There has to be a different process for people too sick to go through all of this. Can we switch to that process now and do the paperwork later?" But she finally finished and a nurse started taking my vitals (blood pressure, pulse, oxygen levels).
Those readings came out fine, except that the blood pressure cuff couldn't get a reading on my left arm, even after four rounds of squeezing and attempted measurements. The nurse took it off and tried a different one on my right arm. For some reason I wanted to look at the old cuff and say, "That's right! Don't bring that stuff in here unless you can handle the muscle!". That means my dark humor is still alive and well, albeit a little inappropriate. At least that was all inner monologue and not actually said... I think.
The doc checked me out quickly and said he'd give me a shot, and some medicine to take home for the next several days. It was about a 30-second visit -- he'd probably seen this a thousand times and could tell I was already on the rebound. We waited a few more minutes.
Another nurse came in with a syringe, saying she'd be giving me a steroid shot. Steroids.... awww, yeah. I'm gonna be hyoooge! I stood up and lowered my pant line a little (the shot goes in the hip), and she counted, "One, two three."
I thought she would go, "One, two, three, poke", but she poked on "three", which suprised me a little. Reminded me of this classic scene from Lethal Weapon 2 (the countdown starts at the 7:50 mark, but the whole scene is one of my favorites). Remember that it's Lethal Weapon, so there's some language, if kids (or their parents) are reading.
The nurse asked if I was OK, and I said, "Yeah. It's just been a while since I shot steroids into my rear." She laughed. Another score for dark humor. Over the next 90 minutes we left the ER, filled my prescription, made a stop at Chick-Fil-A and headed home. By 9:30 last night I was passed out in bed. Up at 4:30 this morning and haven't been able to go back to sleep.
That was our detour. Time to go take my steroids. I'm thinking about eating chicken salad every three weeks or so, to add some muscle during the off-season. Think the hospital will figure it out?