Well, it happened.
It is a first experience that I never want to have a second one of.
I went to the hospital because of an allergic reaction to something I ate. Luckily, I was in Martha’s Vineyard and not a country where I didn’t speak the language.
I walked away from the hospital without any serious, lasting effects and am here to tell my story as a warning to those with food allergies to take care of themselves.
BE YOUR OWN SELF ADVOCATE!
Let’s run down the list of my allergies real quick:
Yes, ONLY flounder and halibut. No other fish, that I know of. In the past, these two have made me break out into giant, welt-like hives that itch like crazy and made my breathing get a little difficult. Two benadryl and a good nap would make the symptoms go away.
Well, apparently in the couple years since I tried these two fish my reactions to them have intensified immensely.
My parents came to visit me for a long weekend and I decided to take them to Menemsha, a town that is known for the most gorgeous sunsets on island. We got take out from a restaurant there for dinner.
I feel it is important to mention that this restaurant did absolutely nothing wrong and actually went out of their way to make sure I had gluten free and egg free fish tacos to enjoy!
Little did I know these fish tacos were made with fresh flounder. Dun dun dun.
I scarfed down my tacos and we made our way to the beach to watch the sunset.
After a few minutes, my lips started feeling like they were swelling.
I thought that was weird.
Then my tongue started swelling and getting numb. My skin joined in the fun and started getting bright red, swelling and itchy.
Uh oh. Time to go.
I thought all I had to do was get home and get some benadryl and I’d be fine. I expressed this to my parents and we made our way to the car.
In that five minute time span, I started to not be able to move my tongue and started having problems breathing. We were a solid half hour away from my house and I was afraid that it was just going to keep getting worse.
I told my parents that I needed medical help, I needed a doctor.
My dad tore off to the closest police officer and explained I was having an intense allergic reaction and needed medical attention immediately. He asked if anyone had an epipen or benadryl.
The police officers and EMTs were great. They called an ambulance and knew a little shop around the corner would probably have benadryl and they put my on oxygen to help me breathe while they went to get it.
I tried to stay calm but internally was freaking out.
Apparently my reaction to internally freaking out is full body shakes and everyone thought I was going to pass out or seize or something. Sorry guys.
I got a couple benadryl down but kept getting worse.
Eventually the ambulance got there and I was able to receive the medical attention I needed.
I was given all the antihistamines, epinephrine, and steroids I needed for my body to chill the fuck out and start breathing normally again.
I walked out of the hospital a few hours later, a little dazed and confused but coming down gradually from the reaction.
This could have been a lot worse. I know that, as did everyone around me.
I hadn’t even stopped swelling before the doctors and my parents started hounding me to carry my epipen and benadryl with me at all times.
Don’t worry family and medical professionals, these things will always be on my person from here on out.
Another lesson I learned, always inform people of all of your allergies. It’s obnoxious I know, to rattle off everything you can’t have. I constantly feel like the most annoying customer ever, but ya know what? If it’s a matter of life and death, a little embarrassment is worth it.
The owner of the restaurant got wind of my situation and actually called to apologize. I told her over and over again that it was nothing they did but she still felt awful! If I had just asked what type of fish it was, none of this would have happened.
Please, let this be a lesson, carry your medications with you and be your own self-advocate.
You never know what could be in something. I never thought flounder would make its way into fish tacos, but hey! I was wrong. (Imagine Si from Duck Dynasty saying this.)
Have you ever had an intense allergic reaction to something? Could you have prevented it?