I post vegan baking recipes not because I am vegan but because my myriad of allergies means that my baking is vegan. I had a severe scare two weeks ago. I went out for lunch with The Boyfriend before heading out to another engagement. I ordered tacos and made sure there was no cheese on them (dairy allergy). They arrived, I ate them. As I ate them my throat started to tingle. All you allergy kids know what I’m talking about. Did I stop eating? Did I call over my server and list all of my allergies for him? No. I decided it was just spicy. I kept eating. Within 20 minutes of eating the tacos my eyes went red and began to water, my ears felt blocked, my nose got incredibly stuffed and I had an asthma attack. Things escalated quickly after that. My face and neck went red and blotchy. My body started to itch like crazy and when I lifted my shirt to see what was going on my stomach, back, chest, everywhere was covered in hives. Absolutely covered. Then I noticed that the palms of my hands were bright red. That’s what really scared me. I had never seen my body do that before. That’s when I decided I needed to get to a hospital. My friend drove me to the emergency room. It took about ten minutes for me to be registered and whisked into a room where they gave me an ekg to check if my lungs were clogged and then started me on an iv of benadryl. The Boyfriend arrived at the hospital just as they were hooking me up to the electrodes to check my lungs. He called my parents who drove into the city as quickly as they could.
Luckily I responded quickly to the drugs and my symptoms calmed down and by the time they started me on an iv of steroids the symptoms had all but disappeared. I was lucky. I was really lucky. It could have been so much worse. We were in contact with the restaurant and got a detailed list of what was in the tacos and in the middle of the ingredients were peanuts. I knew I was allergic to peanuts because my parents had me tested as a child. Since I had tested as allergic to peanuts I had never eaten peanuts in my life until two weeks ago. Suffice to say I am extremely allergic. The doctor at the emergency room told me that this kind of reaction will only increase in its violence the more times I am exposed to the allergen. She wrote me a prescription for an epi pen and informed me that I was at risk of going anaphylactic if I was to eat the allergen again.
What I want all of you grown up allergy kids to take from this is you need to have an epi pen. I thought that I was fine. I had not been hospitalized with allergies since I was three years old. The worst allergic reactions I had in my memory all just resulted in terrible stomach aches. Nothing terribly dangerous. So I stopped carrying an epi pen. I stopped being careful when I went out to eat. And that landed me in the hospital. It could have been worse. I could have accidentally peanuts while I was travelling far from any hospital. When I think of the travels I’ve made over the last few years and what could have happened to me alone without an epi pen I shudder with fear. I know its tempting to ignore your allergies, to believe that you are invincible. But you aren’t. So please, take it from me. Get an epi pen and always be vigilant when eating out.