A year or so ago, I opened a bottle of wine one evening, then sat down to relax and enjoy it. A new world red of some kind — Australian or Chilean. Within a few minutes, my face got really hot, and started to itch. I had no idea what was going on — I’d been petting the cat and thought maybe I’d suddenly developed an allergy to him. I looked in the mirror, and my face looked like I had the worst sunburn ever, bright red and a bit swollen. Yikes.
It went away within an hour or so, and I didn’t worry too much about it. I’ve never had allergies, I was okay, and hey, I’m not giving up wine without a fight. It’s happened again intermittently since, but usually more mild, though it has expanded its repertoire and has occurred with beer and vodka-based liqueur, too. (It occurs to me that for a long time I thought it was only red wine probably since that’s what I usually drink.)
Then this March, immediately after congratulating myself for surviving the winter without getting sick, I got a cold, which lingered a bit longer than normal (especially for me). And then even afterward, not all the symptoms went away. I was sneezing fairly regularly and blowing my nose a lot. (And, still being winter, getting nose bleeds — fun!)
After a few weeks I started to wonder what the hell was going on, because as winter turned to spring, this sure as hell seemed like allergies (which I’d never had). Sherry and I discussed some possibilities — Anatole (though I’d just come from living with cats before I got him), unseen mold in the building, etc. What was weird was that I felt best when I was outside. Cut grass, pollinating trees, etc. — none of it bothered me, though it would leave Sherry and Andrew sneezing and snotty.
Oh, I managed to get conjunctivitis and a strep infection, too, and pretty much ended up with my own parking space at the doctor’s office.
Anyway, I started thinking it might be a good idea to get checked out, which didn’t happen right away because I wanted to wait til my own doctor was back to work (she had been off for some time after a knee reconstruction following a bad skiing accident). And then there was France, etc.
The visit finally took place recently, and she said it sounded like allergies and food sensitivity (I guess they classify them separately?) I got booked in for tests with an allergist (coming up next month), and was prescribed a nasal spray (which, apparently, if I don’t use it right, could cause a fungal infection in my throat — lovely!) and EpiPens. Yup, like for anaphylactic reactions.
I guess she didn’t like the sound of what has intermittently occurred with the wine drinking. She was also concerned when I compared my reactions in severity to ones my brother’s had, but then I pointed out that he and I are not related… (She recently developed a bee allergy, so I think she’s just in extra cautious mode for everyone.)
Only got the prescriptions filled this weekend, since I was waiting for the policy/plan info at the new job. Since I’d never had either prescription before, I got the run-down from the pharmacist, who seemed to have a bit of trouble with the EpiPen. I guess they’ve changed the design and there are a lot of steps leading up to “jam into body, get the hell to the hospital”. Good to know that by the looks of it I’ll be able to save myself… if I go get an engineering degree first. Sheesh.
Oh, and then there’s the packaging. Cuz, y’know, if my sensitivity decides to randomly become anaphylaxis, I know I’m going to pause during my throat-closing panic to think, “Hey, that is a bold new design!”