They call it an "emergency room" for a reason

When I tell people I’m deathly allergic to peanut butter, I mean it. As in, if I have peanut butter, I will have an allergic reaction so severe the result could be death. Peanut butter to me is poison. I am also allergic to tree nuts, anything in the legume family, and honey. And that’s just my food allergies.

Yesterday I went to the blessing of my cousin’s darling baby. Afterwards there was a luncheon at her house. As I was waiting for the food to be ready, I was getting really hungry. It was after 2:00 in the afternoon and I had barely had a small bowl of Cheerios for breakfast. My mom’s cousin was eating a chocolate chip cookie and it looked so very good to me. I asked her if it had nuts in it and she said no. I went over and grabbed a cookie and started munching down. BIG MISTAKE. A few bites into the cookie I started noticing the signs of an allergic reaction. I can’t really describe it, but it feels like a thousand needles are poking me in my mouth. Then my mouth and throat start to swell. Next my body is covered in a rash and hives and my face swells up. My palms start itching and I can’t stop scratching them.

I asked my cousin who made the cookies if there were nuts in it. She said no but she had put peanut butter in them. RED FLAG! I spit out the cookie, rinsed out my mouth, and begged her for Benadryl. A predictable reaction to poison (and peanut butter is poison to me) is vomiting and I threw up the dang benadryl pills I had just taken. So I took two more. While I sat there and waited for the Benadryl to kick in, I started feeling worse and worse. When I couldn’t take it anymore I told my husband to get me to an emergency room. On my way to the car, I threw up in the snow. Not fun.

Luckily my cousin only lives about 5 minutes away from a hospital. My husband drove there at top speed and dropped me off right at the door. I rushed over to the clerk who checks you in and told him what was going on. He asked me why I ingested the peanut butter. Because I have a death wish? It’s obvious it was by accident, you twit.

Next I sat in the waiting room waiting for the triage nurse to check me in. Knowing that time is of the essence during an allergic reaction, the longer I waited the more annoyed I got and the worse I hurt. I could barely swallow my own spit at this point and I kept having horrible pains in my chest and back. Finally the triage nurse called me back and then took off with another patient. Hello lady, I’m dying here! When she came back she took my vital signs and then proceeded to sit down at her computer and slowly input my information. Then she asked what I was being seen for. Didn’t that stupid desk clerk tell her? I’m having an allergic reaction in case you couldn’t tell from the swollen face and red rash. It took her forever to input my information and I thought I was seriously going to die over her incompetence. Couldn’t they shoot me up with epinephrine now and ask questions later?

I was finally shown to a room and luckily the nurse and doctor who took care of me there were much more competent. The nurse didn’t wait for my benadryl and solumedrol (sp?) to be mixed before she gave me a shot of epinephrine. That stuff is powerful. I felt better almost immediately. They gave me the other two drugs via an IV. And then the benadryl did to me what it always does…it knocked me out. They let me go after about an hour to make sure the medicine continued to work. This was after the doctor told me a story about a woman who was jogging along the east bench and was stung by a bee, to which she was allergic, and even after the EMTs gave her epinephrine she still died. Way to install some confidence in my survivability, doc.

I want to know why that particular hospital would put the slowest typer in the world in triage. It’s called an EMERGENCY room for a reason. People are usually involved in some type of emergency when they come there. I told my husband that if I died because of her, to sue the place. Lesson learned. I will carry my epi pen with me wherever I go from now on because I don’t want to die because some lady didn’t learn to use QWERTY properly.


One thought on “They call it an "emergency room" for a reason

  1. Dude! I am so glad you are alive! That is insane!!! I totally dig ya on the whole emergency room thing. When I was nineteen I had kidney stones and was rushed to the hospital. As in, I couldn’t stop moaning and moving around in pain, looking like I was in a perpetual rocking chair from my movements. I get there and elevator music is playing and sit IN A WAITING AREA, then I finally get back and they did the same thing. Typed in all my information sloooooowly. Then they ask you, “On a scale of one to ten, how much pain would you say you are in?” Well, lets see I’m in the Emergency Room, so I WOULD SAY ABOUT ELEVEN YOU MORON!!! Then they sit you in your own private hell, where they refuse to give you pain meds until the doctor sees you. Finally, after several messups on the nurses and doctors end including a catheter, assumption that I had an ovarian cyst or something, as well as four doses of morphine (i have a high tolerance for pain meds) I passed out. Kidney stones are pretty basic med school stuff right? No no no, four different diagnosis before I left the place and on the way out they tell me I have minor scoliosis. Nice. So I know exactly how ridiculous your experience is. I’m glad you made it through, although I’m sure it was living hell! I am so sorry for you 🙂

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