Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Fishbone is Slowly Driving Me Mad

Okay, so, as most of you know by now, whenever I say "Wow, this has been the most awesome day ever!" something horrible happens.

This was particularly evident on my birthday: (see Birthday Bashing)

Here are some pictures I drew that may help describe what I've been feeling:

You know, like a chest burster from Alien, but in my throat.

So, here's what happened.  Ready?
The day was awesome.  I had gone out with a friend and her mother thrift-shopping.  Then, we wandered around town a bit and looked at some artwork, including some awesome outside sculpture.
Then, there was dinner.  They had made reservations and included me!  YAY!  People think of me! 

This is where happy set in.

This was a terrible mistake.

I got a salad, wary that I often don't think I'm going to be having an allergic reaction to something, and then something goes terribly wrong.  I had this weird "Something bad is about to happen to me" feeling, so I figured a salad would be safe.

Technically speaking, it was.

(EDIT: Okay, as it turns out, the reason bad things often happen when I have a bad feeling is because it's really just a panic attack waiting to happen.  Otherwise, I probably would have been...well, not "fine" but less bad?  I guess?)

On this salad was an anchovy.  Three of them, actually.  They mocked me.  Since they had been sliced open and had all their innards removed, I popped one into my mouth. 

The whole thing. 

Even the head.

I'm an idiot.

I felt that there was a bone, but there wasn't really any pain.
Instead, I got this sudden warm sensation followed by a serious sense of light-headedness. 

This is generally the first sign that I've eaten something I'm deadly allergic to, so I assumed I was going to die unless I took the necessary steps. 

I calmly excused myself, saying that I thought I might be having an allergic reaction, and went to the bathroom to desperately try to vomit up the offending food item.

I couldn't puke.

This is a terrifying thing, knowing that all I had on me was a couple benadryl and an expired epi-pen.

Again, I'm none too smart.

EDIT:  I couldn't vomit because of an amazing amount of throat damage that I was unaware of even having.  But shh... I didn't know that when I wrote this entry. 

So, I sat my ass back down and drank some water, noting that the flashing warmth and panic seemed to be going in and out, which is admittedly odd for an allergic reaction.  I took the benadryl and requested that I go home.

I felt like garbage, and my housemate took care of me.

By "took care of me", I mean that he was polite enough to ask if it was okay that he was going to have a girl over and have sex and not really pay attention to me.  If I had looked worse, I'm sure he would have rushed to my aid, (Probably.  ...Hopefully) but over all I was just confused and miserable and I assume he was well aware of that.

A week went by and I was fine.  I forgot about it entirely.

Then, the fishbone moved.

This is where some may say, "Bullshit.  If it was a bone, you would have noticed the discomfort for that whole week."

Clearly, these are people who do not have chronic discomfort.
I do.
My throat is always a little wonky.  My glands are always kinda puffy.  I'm always a little physically miserable.  So, no.  I didn't notice a difference.

Every time I swallowed anything, even water, that warm sensation and head spinning flared up. 

I called Boyfriend and he and Housemate came to pick me up to take me to the ER.  They had errands to run and people to meet up with, so Boyfriend wasn't going to stay with me there.  He looked very sad about this.  He held my hand, kissed me on the head, and DID stay with me at least until I was all checked in.

(EDIT: This is the part that makes my father want to punch everything in the world.  While I am endlessly forgiving to a fault when I'm in a relationship, this doesn't change the fact that he left his panic attack ridden girlfriend at the ER.)

I was fine, obviously not dying, but very much worried and panicking. 

What I didn't know was that I was surrounded by quacks.

After waiting a thousand trillion bazillion years, I was ushered into a cubicle.  Not an examining room... A cubicle.  I waited for the doctor there.  I could hear everyone else's ailments.  I watched as a girl in the stall next to me got up and walked around a few times, explaining that she was claustrophobic.

Then, I felt myself swallow the bone. 

The doctor came in.  He was nice enough, but he looked down my throat for all of a second with a flashlight and no scope, and then proclaimed that it must not be a bone and must be seasonal allergies. 

As someone with a shit ton of allergies, I can tell you, no. 


Just no.

(EDIT: Turns out, he wasn't entirely wrong.  Check out Okay, So it Wasn't the Fishbone.)

Then, I was moved to another not-examining-room to sit in a circle of chairs with a bunch of other people where were sitting by their loved ones.

Oh, look.  Some people have loved ones.

A nurse man came in and handed me a little bottle.  I thought about keeping the bottle because it reminded me of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but filled with a numbing drug, rather than something else.

I was told to chug it.

Then he ran away.

Okay, yes, I was in the ER so if I had keeled over, someone would have (hopefully) noticed and done something, but I'm used to a doctor or nurse sticking around when I'm taking a new medication to see if there is any bad reaction.

Nervous, I drank it down.  It numbed up my throat, but since I wasn't really in any direct pain to begin with, making my throat numb and making it warm and even more difficult to use for swallowing just made me panic even more.

Thankfully, it wore off quick.

The nurse came back and asked if it helped.  When I said no and why it didn't help, he let me leave.

...Then a nurse looked at my chart, back at me, back at the chart and said, "Oh, this is totally a fishbone.  This doesn't make sense as allergies.  It'll pass."

Thank you nurse lady.

So, a week after that, I'm fine, until it flares up again.  It wasn't as bad that time, but still jarring and a bit fucked up in the grand scheme of things.  I called the ear, nose and throat doctor to make an appointment and this happened:

So, okay.  Two weeks isn't bad.  I had already gone that amount of time with this bone reeking havoc on my life, so fine.


And then it got worse. 

No more warm sensation, or spinning... But my throat was healing whatever had been scratched up, and so, still, it's difficult to swallow and sometimes to breathe.

I noticed that tilting my head felt better, and found myself doing it all the time.  Even when talking to people.

After a while, I stopped eating, afraid of what it would feel like.

Even with barely any food in my stomach, I started getting nauseous.

I became weak, walking around on the floor on all fours, because when I stood up, I'd just fall over.

And then finally:

Which somehow led to me questioning my entire position in life and what the Hell I'm doing at 26 instead of following my dreams.

It was like the stages of grief, but with more stabbing pains in my stomach from trying to digest a freaking bone and nothing else.

I've gotten a system of eating everything very slowly and trying to take benadryl on occasion to reduce swelling.  I see the doctor in three or so days.

(EDIT: As it turns out, what I did during this time turned into what some do on purpose as the "Apple Juice Detox Diet" and I would not recommend it.  I did lose fifteen pounds but to begin with, I was only about a hundred.)

Really, I just want to know if it's itchy and extra puffy now because it's healing, or if I'm just infected.  We'll find out soon.  Woo.

(EDIT: Again, check out Okay, So it Wasn't the Fishbone for more.)

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