I had taken some meds at 11:00 before running errands. It was a hot and humid afternoon, and this particular sort of weather exacerbates my Fibromyalgia, so I wasn’t feeling super-duper, folks. I stopped by the pharmacy to pick up some over-the-counter stuff, and I chatted with my daughter (she’s a CPhT) for a bit while she worked. The time was 12:00. By the time I left the pharmacy, I was feeling itchy and burny from the inside out.
At 12:30, I picked up a giant sammich to share with Jim–we live just a few blocks from his work, and he comes home every day at 1:00 for his thirty minute lunch break. I had taken a shower upon returning home from the sandwich shop because I had broken out in hives. It was the worst case of hives I’ve ever experienced. My eyelids, earlobes, and lips were swollen and red. Wheals were raised all over my body–my scalp, neck, face, chest, armpits and legs. It was painful, still I wasn’t worried. I’d just have to go back to the pharmacy for Benadryl after lunch. I really wanted to eat that gorgeous sammich. In fact, I’d been so looking forward to lunch, I’d skipped breakfast. I do kind of hate the love I have for a meaty and vegetably sammich on nice bread.
At 1:00, Jim arrived, and upon entering the house he said, “Hello, Beautiful!” as he always does; this time I didn’t run into the kitchen to greet him like Edith Bunker always did with Archie. “What’s the bad news?” he asked.
“I don’t feel good,” I answered, creeping into the kitchen. “I’ve broken into hives, and it’s bad. I can’t catch my breath, and my chest is so tight and twisty.”
“Do you need me to take you to the doctor?”
“I need to go to the hospital. I can’t breathe. It hurts so much.”
Jim doesn’t fuck around when it comes to me. He drove 75+ miles an hour to get me to the closest E.R. On the way, I was coughing and wheezing. My skin was on fire, and my nose was bleeding.
At the hospital, I explained that I had taken such and such medication, and an hour or so later, I broke into hives and couldn’t comfortably breath. My skin was so inflamed, the nurse had a difficult time finding a vein for an IV. She had to settle for one on the inside of my forearm near my elbow, which was fucking uncomfortable. The lab tech couldn’t find a vein to do a blood draw to save a goddamned life. He tapped me everywhere, trying to coax one into puffing up. He found a weak one, and tried to fill the required six tubes, the vein wouldn’t give. He passed the task to an R.N. who managed to fill the last two.
Meanwhile, another nurse was injecting three different meds into my poorly positioned IV. My breathing was labored, and I wanted to crawl out of skin. But I didn’t cry–I’ve been through worse, and never cried. Unless you count child-birth–thanks, Nicole (P.S. you were worth it.).
After hour one had passed, a different lab tech showed up with her equipment, and apologized straight away. “I’m sorry, but we have to draw your blood all over again. The earlier samples were no good, and she proceeded to explain medical shit that I had no patience to try to understand. At this point, the itching and burning had long faded, and the wheals were beginning to disappear. My arms were bruising, and so fucking sore. All together, I’d been pricked at least twenty times to draw twelve tubes of blood.
Hour two–I’d had an X-ray of my lungs, which came out clean, and I was ready to go home. But my chest tightness remained. The doctor had come in to see me, and said that if the chest pain persisted, he was going to admit me. I was in the E.R. for five hours. Thank fuck my breathing returned to normal, and the chest tightness finally relaxed.
When Jim and I arrived home from the hospital, I killed that sammich. And it was fucking beautiful.