No, I am not dead...although I did have a close call last week. I was at work, and realized I was getting hungry around 3:30. So I decided to run to the break room and make a quick peanut butter sandwich on a vegan sandwich round. Someone had left a sandwich baggie and knife out, so i cleared it away before making my sandwich. I was so hungry that I had my sandwich eaten before I had even made it back to my desk.
And this is when things started to go horribly wrong.
I sat at my desk and tried to finish some work, but the tickle in the back of my throat was starting to feel rather itchy. I kept clearing my throat. I got up and went to the ladies' room. There is a chair in there, and I promptly sat in it and tried to decide what the heck was going on.
One of my co-workers came in and asked if I was ok. I am afraid I may have been a bit terse when I assured her I was. Clearly my being rude was some sort of code to Send in Someone Else--namely, one of my best friends, Angela.
Angela came barrelling into the bathroom, her eyes full of panic. After quickly assessing the situation, Angela went and got my Benadryl (which I was loathe to take, since taking it meant that my allergy testing would have to be postponed). While Angela asked how much I should take, I swigged a mouthful, and felt my throat continue to tighten.
Angela ran and got my purse, which had my EpiPen. Now, back when I first filled my prescription for the EpiPen, Angela and I had had the "EpiPenTalk." She knew how to use it, but that did NOT mean that she was ready for it. Hell, I wasn't ready for it.
But, once I actually had it in my hand and felt air becoming harder and harder to come by, I removed the endcap and looked Angela in the eyes as I jabbed it into my thigh. She looked away.
At first, I thought something had gone wrong. I did not feel the injection at all. No pain, no prick, no...nothing. Finally, after about ten seconds, I felt my hands go cold--like someone poured ice water under the skin. I felt relieved, because I knew that "something" was working for me.
Then I grew shakier.
Angela went to go tell the office administrator that she was taking me to the hospital. When she was gone, I was struck by the feeling that there was lightening trapped in my hands. It felt like electricity was blowing through my fingertips. (For all your Doctor Who fans out there, think of those regeneration scenes...
personally, I adore Doctor 10). Sigh. Sorry...where was I?
Oh, right! Angela came back to tell me she was going for the car. I tried to ask her to have someone sit with me. I was suddenly worried about being left alone. When I tried to talk, I became aware that my words were slow to come...halting...I felt like...William Shatner. Then I realized that it was not my words that were slow to come...it was my thoughts...the cadence of my thoughts sounded like William Shatner's speak pattern.
This alarmed me more than the lightning hands, which was actually kind of cool in a geeky sort of way.
I remember calling my husband. I do not remember what I said. I do, however, remember shaking a lot.
Apparently, I somehow half-walked and half-staggered with assistance until I reached Angela's car.
In case you wondered, Angela drives like shit when she is nervous/scared/worried. I remember asking her not to kill me while trying to save my life. She stared ahead, hands clenched around the steering wheel and said, "I know, right?"
We made it to the hospital (and Angela parked illegally over several "bicycle" parking spots). She never mentioned having gotten a ticket, so I am assuming she didn't. Which is good, because I feel guilty enough as it is.
The good news is that, apparently, if you have anaphylactic shock, they make a point to get you RIGHT BACK into the ER--no waiting. The bad news is that we were asked to follow some unnaturally spry older gentleman who took no notice of my staggering and proceeded to sprint ahead of us as we tried to navigate the twisty turns of the "Fast Track Triage." We did not even bother trying to keep up. By this point, I felt fairly certain that we had kept Death at bay, so why run down corridors now?
My husband met us at the hospital, and I actually ended up getting home about the same time I would have if I had not decided to make a dramatic exit.
For those that have actually read this far, we do not know for certain what I reacted to. I suspect that the mess I had cleaned up in the kitchen had one of my allergens on it. (Thanks, Office Slob, for nearly killing me!)
And, having been deep in my reading of "A Dance With Dragons" (which, I lamented to Angela, I had left at work in all the allergy madness), I will end with the line that kept trickling through my brain as this all transpired:
"What do we say when the god of death comes for us?" "Not today!"