sarita-without-love-hat-onSaturday was the BEST day in a long time and I’m going on a lot of days in a row of having “best days” with so much good news billowing into my life.

The kids are doing extremely well and as a mom, this is priority numero uno – above even my own health and happiness.

The pets, except for our little old lady Zoey dealing with a sore on her chubby belly, are kicking ass being good.  Wait, take that back, being normal.  Kona is up to his old habits of Sleep-Eating and somehow managed to open the trash and tear apart a bag of old chips, a moldy (from the cupboard) stinky sweet potato, apple cores and GROSS feminine products.

Camp is cranking along and we’re watching people slim down, get stronger, feel happier and enjoy exercise.  It’s the recipe we hope for after 5 weeks.

Saturday was the day we planned to do all of our errands that didn’t have to do with our “work job” of boot camp.  We got up early, read the paper (and my various  blogs) and reviewed the planned destinations.

The truck just got a brand new thingy in it which makes it run so smooooooth on the road.  Thank you Toyota for taking care of everything for us.  Thank you Mark’s Independent Volvo for putting our truck back together when we discovered we were covered under the part warranty.

At precisely 10:33am (Randy wanted 10:30am) we hit the road and got everything done (including a trip to pick up our glasses in Pasadena and a lunch at Tender Greens!) and back to Simi Valley by 4:00pm and then took the dogs on an extended post-torrential-storm walk.

It was a perfect day so far!

Randy suggested we head over to work on “work” for this next week to Islands.  He LOVES IPA and they seem to always have a good one on draft in a nice cold mug.

I ordered a Sunset Margarita “hey, perfect timing too, the sun is setting!” mentioned the young man that delivered the drink.  I peeked out the window and sure enough, the sunset was magical then I took a sip and it was very tasty.  It’s been at least a month (maybe more) since I have had a margarita.

Right away I felt weird but associated it with the alcohol.

While Randy noodled away writing the workouts, I read an incredibly riveting book by a guy named Stuart Wild called “Infinite Self”.  It is right up my ally and I was absorbing every sentence between sipping.

After about 10 minutes I noticed my chest was very heavy.  It was like someone was squeezing me.  Then my breathing became difficult.  I blew it off and adjusted how I was seated lifting my shoulders and opening up my chest a few times.  It sort of helped but after 10 seconds the feeling came back.

My face felt like it was numbing.  I told Randy I didn’t know what was happening but I felt weird.

He looked up and mentioned it was likely the Margarita (same thought I’d had).   I agreed.  Isn’t it funny when someone reaffirms your own thought that it feels better – whether or not it is correct?

We were not planning to eat anything but our giant salads at lunch were used up plus I thought that some food in my stomach would help the out-of-sorts feeling I was experiencing.

We ordered NACHOS with extra jalapeño and less cheese….and another Margarita for me and water for Randy.

The order arrived and we began munching.  I stuck with the outer chips that seemed to be triple salted.  It was awful.  I wiped salt off and munched with a few jalapeños.  Randy dove in (I KNEW he was hungry!!).  The waitress stopped by and Randy mentioned to her that the chips were way saltier than any prior time.  She offered to take it off the bill, Randy said no…we’d eaten it and we’ll pay for it.

THEN THE MANAGER CAME OVER.  Great.  Now we’re “that complaining couple” arrrrrgggg!! Neither of us want to be an irritating bump on someones ass.   The Manager was super cool and wanted to know about the chips.  He said they were normally salted right after they came out of the oil (yuck…note to self…it is better to not know some methods in the kitchen).  We chatted a few minutes and the Manager said he was taking the nachos off the bill so Randy said, no…we ate it (pointing at the 75% empty tray of food) and we want to pay for what we ordered NO PROBLEM.  The manager thanked us and went away.

Meanwhile, my 2nd margarita arrived.  Yes, I had TWO!!!  I also continued to feel terrible and my chest was even tighter and my breathing worse.

I thought, for a split second, that it was a dumb idea to get a second margarita.  Then I reasoned with myself that maybe, just MAYBE, it would help.  Yep, I seriously thought that and continued sipping and reading.

After about 20 minutes, and the feeling worsening, I finally said I think we should go because I think I need to go to bed.  I reasoned that sitting upright on the uncomfortable wooden bench was causing my pain.

Randy got the check, which the nachos had been removed from, and we walked out.

I was now feeling tipsy from drinking TWO margaritas.

Maybe THAT’S why I was having a hard time breathing.  I told Randy I felt bad now, like worse.  I couldn’t concentrate and my eyes were watering.

He suggested we go to the hospital which I immediately said no-way to.

He made me agree that if I didn’t feel better once we got home and I was able to go horizontal that we’d go to Simi Valley Hospital.   I reluctantly agreed.

He kept his right hand on my left shoulder as we drove and put all of the windows down for fresh air.  I breathed in as deep as I could but it was SO HARD TO BREATH.  It felt like tablespoons of air compared to cups. I was getting a little panic’d about it and turned to look out the window so Randy wouldn’t see me – I was scared and started to cry.

Things that you don’t understand make you worry.  Well, that’s what happens to me anyway.  I start figuring out all of the WORST POSSIBLE SCENARIOS that might be happening.  On top of that I knew we could not afford a trip to the ER. Randy kept holding my shoulder and rubbing my back coaxing me to just breathe, which I did.

Man, have I mentioned how much I love my husband?  We have been through so much and are with each other 24/7.  I admit he gets on my nerves once in a  while but 99% of the time we love being in each other’s company.  It’s like being an adult kid with freedoms.

Claire (our daughter) was home watching TV I think when we arrived.

I went straight upstairs to change and go to bed hoping Randy would explain everything – I just did not feel like talking at all.  It was hard to form words at this point.  Things were deteriorating quickly.

I was undressed to my pants when Randy popped in to help me get in bed.
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His eyes popped out of his head when he saw my chest, neck and back were COVERED in a rash of some sort.  It was burning my neck and face.  I looked in the mirror to confirm what he told me, it was true.

Something bad was happening, something unexplainable and new.

Randy took charge ordering me to get dressed NOW and that we’re going to the ER.

I admit, I was more scared now.  I complied and hurried to the truck trying to breathe – which was so so so difficult.

I heard Randy telling Claire we were going to a doctor and he’d text her (thank you technology!)

We drove FAST (I think).

We got there safe but turned into the wrong driveway so had to quickly turn around and OF COURSE someone slow was in front of us.

He pulled up to the ER entrance and hurried me into the ER.  A Police Officer jumped up and rushed over to me when we walked through to help me (thank you Police Officer – I did not catch your name).

We were hurried into the space to “check in” where I explained as best as I could (with Randy) what was happening.  Then the ITCHING began.  My arms were on fire itching so I started scratching.

img_3256They put a wrist thing on my left arm and I was whisked into a room where my temperature and pulse (which felt super weird already) was checked.  Nothing irregular there.  I still could BARELY take a breath and continued to panic.

My face was covered in the red rash and now my eyes burned.  They were also turning red.

The Police Officer poked his head in and tried to take my mind off of the experience with a blown up glove as a balloon.  He said he had a balloon for me.  That made me smile because it was such a nice gesture.

Unfortunately, it was a temporary feeling and I came back to reality of simply trying to breathe.

“Bed 11” was my next destination.  The Nurse helping me asked me to follow her and we began a very long walk through the new ER digs.  I kept looking around commenting about how nice it looked, asking when it had been renovated and saying hello to all of the men and women buzzing around.

We got to Bed 11.  The curtain was swooshed back and I was ordered to put a gown on and lay on the bed.  “Do I have to get completely naked!?!?”  I was not prepared for total buck nakedness in public.  I’ll go to my chonies ONLY with Cheryl Smith!  Randy poked his head out and asked if I could keep my pants on, thankfully the reply was YES.

I tore off my USC Sweatshirt, long sleeve shirt and bra.  The curtain hadn’t been closed yet and things were bouncing everywhere and Randy grabbed the gown covering me.  I didn’t even care at this point – the heat of the red stuff (whatever that was) was making me bake, I couldn’t breathe and wanted to lay down fast.

Nurses buzzed in.  Randy took my glasses and everything went blurry.

I was sort of tipsy and mentioned I didn’t want to spend a lot of money here, please.  Could they keep it to bare essentials, please.

I could hear Randy was bothered by my openness but I didn’t care.

Nurse Wendy proceed to put an IV in my right arm THAT FREAKING HURT because I was not situated properly I guess.  She had to do it again.  While she did it she told me it was Free.  🙂

I got white stickers and wires placed on my chest and lower abdominal area.  Nurse Wendy told me I had good vitals.

Then we waited for Doctor Bourgeois to come in.  He was blurry and had a bunch of people behind him (I think).  Was I on TV?  I couldn’t see then I remembered I didn’t care about anything but being able to breathe better.

I went through what had happened at Islands.

Meanwhile, Randy had called the Manager to ask him to check on the ingredients because I was in the hospital.  He confirmed nothing unusual.  I’d also had that drink before and this had never happened.  That was a dead end.

I remembered to tell the Doctor that I was vegan but I’d been getting my B12, maybe I had something wrong there.  He told me no, that was ok.  (Whew).

Doctor Bourgeois seemed to get the info he needed and barked off hieroglyphics to the seriously Bad-Ass Nurse Staff.  It took a total of 3 minutes, maybe 5.  He was that good.

Then the Money Lady came in and I mistook her for a Nurse letting her know the needle was hurting.  She just wanted to get paid now or get our insurance.  Randy told me she wasn’t a Nurse but she was here for payment. I got irritated about that asking that we only do the bare essentials because we just can’t afford a lot of extra ANYTHING.  Randy asked me to calm down and he would handle it, not to worry.

My IV hurt when I was getting 50mg of diphenhydrAMINE, 20mg oral famotidine (I don’t remember anything oral), 1,000 milliliter lactated Ringers intravenous solution and 125 mg methylPREDNISolone.

It would make me drowsy.

Well just add that to all of the feelings I was experiencing.

The plan was to get the rash to stop exploding everywhere, including my lungs.  It worked and after about 6 minutes I felt a little better and breathing was easier.

Another, different, Nurse came in to help me.

The Money Lady was still there and we began talking about stuff.  She asked me about my kids.  This was when I discovered I was stuttering and unable to form words despite my mind thinking them CRYSTAL CLEAR.  I wasn’t foggy in my head, I was just unable to get those words out without stuttering between breathing.

I found out later Randy had to go out to the truck to get his wallet.  They wanted payment immediately.

The Money Lady asked me if I wanted a blanket and I declined.  I remembered reading a story about a bandaid costing $200 or something…so a blanket would probably cost $1,000.  (This was a story passed around on the internet and not at Simi Valley Hospital…but it stuck with me).

Randy came in and put my USC sweater on my chest telling me the redness was already going away and I was looking better.  That was a relief.  I tried to tell him something but stuttering stopped me.  The letters P and T were the toughest to form.  My tongue also felt like it was expanding.

This was NUTS.  I hated all of the attention SO MUCH.  I just wanted to leave and give my spot to someone that needed it more – PLEASE.

I heard Randy paying the Money Lady $500.  I asked if that was a good deal.  Randy said yes.  Side note:  this morning Randy explained that $500 was a DEPOSIT!  We still should expect a separate bill from Dr. Bourgeois.  I wonder what 3-5 minutes of his time will cost us.

I relaxed enough to drift off to sleep which felt nice.  Seriously nice.  I began breathing better.  I could have slept there I think even with all of the drama unfolding all around me.  I couldn’t see a thing (no glasses) but I could hear talking, there was an Xray happening next to me, the curtains were opening and closing on metal rings and a metal bar…it was pure noise and it was comforting.

Randy was holding my hand during most all of this.  I couldn’t see his face.
Suddenly I had to go pee really badly.  They unplugged me and I made it to the restroom WHICH HAD A MIRROR.

What THE HELL.  Seriously, OMG.  Because I had been wearing a baseball cap my “look” was something you would call “LUNATIC”.

Dang it, Randy!

The redness was still covering my face and ears and my eyes were still blood red.  My HAIR was what caught my attention.  The pony tail had scooted up to a bad bun and hair was flying out from all sides.  Lunatic hair.  Jack Nicholson hair.

The “Code” had been broken!  The CODE husbands know and sometimes forget.  YOU CANNOT LET YOUR SPOUSE LOOK LIKE THIS IN PUBLIC.  Forget that I was bra-free and topless wandering around the ER with a curtain draped over me.  That should be ok.  But looking like a lunatic is not.   Even a beanie would have made a difference.  Something cute and whimsical even.  Or my pink LOVE beanie with a paw on it.  You can bet that if there is a NEXT TIME I have to go to the ER I’m grabbing a buff or my pink beanie.

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MUCH better look.  Thanks Heidi and Photoshop.

There was a knock on the door and I formed the words and sentence, “I’m in here” meekly and barely audible.  I was still looking at myself in the mirror shocked.   My voice was shaky and it was difficult to push the sound out.

I opened the door (after washing and drying my hands for the record) to find Randy standing there to assist me back to Bed 11.  It was good he was there because I felt dizzy and blindly disoriented.  I did not mention my hair to him and planned to talk about it in private later.

I got back into the bed and hooked up to my IV then fell asleep again.

I think it was a few minutes later when Dr. Bourgeois (I couldn’t see) said it was impossible to know exactly what caused my allergic reaction.

I began to replay the evening and what I’d eaten.  It has to be something in my drink.  That’s when it all began.

Could it be pesticides on the fruit that was sliced and put in my drink?

We’ll never know.

I guess I could ask the Manager about the fruit used.  Where did it come from?

Not all people have the same reactions to things.  I get it.  One person can eat McDonald’s and not feel a thing, if I were to eat a burger I’d probably get diarrhea immediately.  Our bodies are amazing.

My life is mostly plant based foods now.  If a piece of cheese gets on my nachos I don’t freak.  I don’t put people out because of my food choices which drives me to cook my own foods at home and know exactly what I’m eating and drinking.

I think I’ll learn how to knit.  I’ll make beanies for the adults that arrive at the ER to make sure they do not have lunatic hair!

We drove home I guess.  I don’t remember much.  It was very cold out when we walked back to the truck.  I hauled myself in and I think I fell asleep.  I can’t remember.

When we got home I took a shower and put on my PJs then went to sleep in 1 minute.  I didn’t even talk to Claire (hoped Randy would catch her up) or pet the animals.  I was just so tired!

I tossed and turned a few times and woke up at  4:00am to find Randy had taken most of the covers (so I yanked them back).

SUNDAY

I feel a thousand times better.  Well enough to hike Hummingbird Trail to see and feel the planet with my Life Saving Husband.

I don’t know what caused the reaction.  If it’s tequila then I’m gonna be bummed since I LOVE margaritas so much!

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Sunday, the day after all the drama!  I feel happy to be alive!

So, the moral of the story is:

Make sure you are doing what you love in life, being a good person as best you can, encouraging not criticizing because life can change instantly for the worse and you can’t control that.  It is about NOW not worrying about the future or the past.

At least for me anyway.


Randy did save my life.  I’m sure he’s done it 100 times already.

The men and women at the Saturday ER deserve the BIGGEST possible thank you of all.  I appreciated their help so much.  So far every single time I have had to go to the Simi Valley Hospital ER for myself it has been the best.  I was bitten by a snake (we think) 8 years ago (I think) and again, Randy had to convince me to go. That ended up being a mystery too.  I had the bite marks and blood was dripping from them…but lived to tell! 

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