Thursday, March 22, 2012

Swolled Up

This post is about a week in the making. I've been meaning to sit down and write it but time got away from me. So without further ado, I present the story about that time my husband's face blew up.

Let's start at the beginning. Cory and I were eating dinner one night and I strongly suggested he start taking Fish Oil supplements. They are good for the heart and Lord knows with our family histories, we'll take all of the help we can get. So he begrudgingly ingested the supplements. About an hour later he complained that his eye felt funny. It looked a bit swollen but it wasn't anything alarming. Cory is allergic to air so itchy, swollen, teary eyes are par for the course during allergy season. He took some NyQuil and went to bed. Why we didn't have Benadryl in the house is a bit perplexing. It might fall into the category of why, when out and about, Cory will always ask me for a tissue. In the 11 years we have been together, I've blown my nose about 7 times. I am a remarkably unsnotty person. That's something I'm very proud of. This is in start contrast to my constantly congested husband. I will say though that while pregnant with Beatrice I was super congested and did always have tissues with me. He had a nine month hiatus from having to be responsible for his own tissue supply.

So we wake up the next morning and his eye is looking better. He's a bit groggy but chalks it up to the NyQuil hangover. He goes off to work and I go up to my home office. About 4 hours later he calls me to tell me his boss sent him home on account of his f-ed up face. His eyes are now both swollen. He gets home about 20 minutes later (but not after a quick stop to Walgreens for Benadryl) and by this point he has a full body rash. He jumps in the shower thinking he can wash away the hives or something. By the time he gets out, he makes the call that its time for us to head to the ER. I concur given this is what he looks like:

No sooner than we get in the car, Cory suggests we try the CVS Minute Clinic. (Really he's just trying to avoid that god damn $80 ER co-pay. Especially since I just handed over a wad of cash to them last month.) We get into CVS and part ways since I am the consummate multi-tasker. I have photos to print. A couple of minutes later I hear him shuffle up behind me muttering something about not being able to see the patient touch screen. I abandon my photo order(I was so close to printing!) and we jump back into the car, this time a little fire lit under our asses. Of course, being directionally challenged, I take a bit of a circuitous route to the hospital. I will note at this point though that I have his EpiPen in my car and was ready to use it at any point. In addition to being allergic to air, animals, and life, he is also allergic to bee stings.

We check into the ER and take a seat. I keep asking him if his throat is closing and he reassures me it isn't. Within the 10 minutes we're waiting his lips start to get tingly. And swollen.

We finally get called in and Nurse Mike starts the intake of all intakes. Let me set the stage for Nurse Mike. He's a pissa guy in about his early 50s. He's a volunteer EMT in his podunk town. He's a ball buster. Upon his initial look at Cory, he busts out laughing, quickly following up with "Sorry, guy. I shouldn't be laughing but wow, you're having some kinda reaction, wow." Once he confirms that Cory's throat isn't closing (though Cory keeps complaining about the feeling that he needs to burp... in hindsight maybe that's a sign of his throat about to close?) he proceeds to ask 8 million questions while hen pecking the computer keyboard, one key stroke at time. He asks about our address, insurance, known allergies (this incites a belly laugh from Nurse Mike) and so on. After about 10 minutes of this, Cory starts complaining that's he's going to faint. This is nothing too alarming since he does not like medical environments. While Nurse Mike tends to the really important things like medical data entry, I move into Nurse Julia mode, getting him a cold compress, talking to him so he can focus on something other than feeling like he's gonna faint. Then Nurse Mike announces he will be inserting the IV. This is not generally an easy process since Cory blood pressure tends to drop to near-dead levels, thus reducing his once healthy veins to those of a washed up meth head. But luckily Nurse Mike comes through and gets the IV in without issue.

He then grabs a wheelchair to transport Cory back to a bed so they can start the Benadryl. Cory stands up and gets into the wheelchair, again complaining he's going to faint. Nurse Mike grabs a pink puke basin and hands it to me "Hold this in front of him in case he gets sick." He starts wheeling Cory down the hall. His pace quickens while Cory starts this kind of barely audible moaning. I'm trying to keep pace with Nurse Mike because I am the puke basin girl so I'm doing my best to maintain perfect rhythm but things are quickly devolving. Nurse Mike keeps shouting "Stay with me guy, stay with me guy."

We're going down this hallway for what seems to be hours, when Cory finally loses his will to stay conscious, slumping down in the wheelchair a la Weekend at Bernie's. Nurse Mike turns into the nearest room. All of the staff that is within a mile radius hauls ass into the room. The first person on the scene asks Nurse Mike what is going on. Nurse Mike is acting all hysterical at this point (by the way, this is so not comforting to a lay person) and screams to the closest doctor "grab his legs" (He has his arms under Cory's arm pits.) They toss him onto the hospital bed and it's fucking GO time. Next thing I know the nurse has cut and ripped his shirt off and jabbed him with a shot (then another) of adrenaline. Within a second or two, Cory regains consciousness.

They start peppering me with questions, "When did he start having this reaction, when did you get to the hospital, when did he faint, why does he have an EpiPen, what's he allergic to, what medications is he on." I rattle off answers, thinking to myself, hmmm, maybe Nurse Mike could have brought the intake report it took us almost an hour to complete.

When I tell this story, everyone always asks me, where you freaking out and I explain that no, I actually wasn't. I think had I walked into that code red emergency situation and saw him passed out getting his shirt torn open, hell ya I so would have become that hysterical wife. But I had been with him all along, watched him get progressively worse, faint, etc. so I kind of knew this was coming... we'll not the shirt ripping, I did not see that coming.

We had to stay in the hospital for another 4 hours so they could monitor him and make sure the rash went away and the reaction didn't come back. After mega doses of Benadryl the rash did fade and the swelling went (mostly) down. They discharged us with prescriptions for steroids, antihistamines, a new EpiPen (who knew those expired?), and orders to follow up with his allergist to try and determine what the hell caused that reaction.

As I was gathering my stuff I went to toss Cory his shirt, quickly realizing this was not going to work.

Luckily I am the master of double-layering (inner Fat Girl habit) so I was able to provide him with my tank top. Yup, that's my man.

1 comment:

  1. OMG. I'm simultaneously sympathetic and entertained. That poor boy!! And he's rocking your tank top! When did this happen?