What a week. After my mom left, my rash decided it wasn’t quite itchy enough and turned up the volume all over my body, including my face and scalp which I did not have the pleasure of experiencing last time. I was so incredibly miserable. When you get Urticaria hives on your palms and the bottoms of your feet, they don’t puff up like the welts elsewhere, instead the tighter / thicker skin there just turns red and hot, and the entire palm / sole swells up. I had to prise off my wedding ring before it cut off circulation, and my toes were so red and swollen that they wouldn’t bend properly when I tried to walk.
Anti-histamines weren’t even taking the edge off, and on top of it all, I was weaning off of my beta blocker medication (it was making the dizziness and fainting worse, plus extra itching). So I was experiencing erratic heart activity, plus some weird anxiety and panicked feelings as my body adjusted to regulating blood pressure on its own.
One night I was tossing and turning in fitful rashy / burning sleep and became disoriented and took too much anti-histamine, thinking that each time I’d woken up, four hours had passed and it was time to take more. Finally I woke up more fully and couldn’t figure out where I was. My brain wanted to make the dark shapes in my bedroom be the bedroom of our last house, and everything was spinning. I sat up and the shapes in the room lurched like my desk, mirror, dresser, and closet door were all doing the wave at a football game.
I felt so strange, and the beta blocker withdrawal panic turned my confusion into terror. I made my blurry eyes focus on the swimming clock numbers and realized it was only 2am. My stomach did a flip as I tried to piece together how many times I’d woken up since 11:30 and taken more Benadryl. I googled overdose symptoms which is EXACTLY what you want to do when you are already scared and anxious. Coma! Seizures! Death! I was soon quite convinced I was going to be dead by sunrise. I started frantically calling friends and family, but go-figure, everyone was asleep in the middle of the night. So I called poison control and the nice lady on the end of the line helped me try to figure out how many I might have taken. She was very reassuring and not at all concerned that I now had two closet doors instead of one. She suggested I try to sleep it off.
I couldn’t sleep, I sat wide-eyed and frightened in my bed, calling all my friends again. I felt like if I could just get someone over here to sit with me I wouldn’t feel so scared. I couldn’t get anyone to pick up, and then a wave of… I don’t know, weirdness? Swept over me and I felt like I was falling. I called 911.
I will spare you the play by play, but I passed the rest of the wee small hours with a very jolly cop (who I swear told me he ate left over macaroni in my kitchen with my cats, this made perfect sense at the time, because why not?), three volunteers from the local fire department who took my vitals but forgot to write it down and had to do it all over again, and a very calm, very professional paramedic who, when I started to feel very foolish for dragging them all out here, was nothing but kind and reassuring. They deemed me lightly ‘buzzed’ and ‘worked up’ over Google death sentences via WebMD. The paramedic consulted with a doctor and went over all my meds and what I could best figure as far as my drug-taking timeline, and said he did not think I was in any kind of danger, but could choose to either sleep it off at the hospital under observation, or sleep it off here if we could locate a friend (E was out of town for work, did I mention that?).
The cop was willing to go knock down Tracy’s door (maybe he was hoping for more mac & cheese), but we finally got her to answer the phone. She claims I sounded like a party-going extrovert, all cheerful-like, exuberantly inviting her over for a slumber party. I don’t remember any of that, but I do remember feeling much less frightened when she arrived and all the uniformed people left. I was able to sleep a little after 4am even though my furniture was still dancing around, because I felt safe with her here.
My amazing (and long-suffering) friends took shifts the next day to help with the kids, and made sure I wasn’t disoriented and trying to swallow dog medication or anything. I didn’t take any more antihistamine for a 24 hour period, as per the paramedic’s instructions, so I progressively got itchier and progressively crankier, but at least got caught up on some sleep, which was good so I was rested for the next night’s escapades which maybe also should have involved 911, but didn’t.
Stay tuned for more adventures in the life and times of the dork who now has alarms programmed into her phone instructing her on when to take two more Benadryl.
* I have no punchline for my title, but wouldn’t it be funny if I could think of one?