I could probably write a whole book about this and maybe I will, but for now this is more about a kind of therapy for me. In September I ate out in a cafe in America and had the worst allergic reaction of my life.
I often joke about it when anyone asks me, “When was the last time you had a reaction?”
I’ll say something like, “A few years ago, I’m due another one!” and try to laugh it off.
Because that’s how I cope with it.
I have to live with it so I kind of ignore it. I never stop being vigilant but I always think that nothing bad will actually happen to me.
Well this time it did.
My previous reactions have been terrifying.
They’ve been painful.
I’ve felt scared and fought for my breath and wondered if this is the time. If this is the reaction that will get me.
But I’ve never had a reaction which came so suddenly and out of the blue.
One that left me with literally only minutes to react.
An attack which floored me completely.
Left me unconscious and meant my friends, who I owe so much to, had to take over and get me the help I needed.
I am so very very grateful that they were able to get to me and phone for help.
I did try phone, but after administering two adenaline injectors, I knew I was passing out.
I knew I had moments left. Nothing was helping. Inhalers, antihistmines… nothing made any different.
The last conscious thing I did was send a whatsapp message to my friends. We had a chat group to help us meet up while we were away. And I wrote these few words.
“Help me. I’m having an allergic reaction…”
As I sent this message I had the sense to prop my door open and I don’t remember much after that. I had managed to crawl to the bed, to the hotel room phone, but I was phoning the wrong number. The UK emergency number.
Nothing prepares you for the crippling fear of knowing you might be dying.
And that, my friends, is as far as I’ll go on this subject for now.
Because I can’t talk about this yet to anyone with out breaking down in tears. Writing about it is strangely calming. I can delete, rewrite, think and understand how I’m feeling. Faced with another human and I just get so emotional.
I’m slowly pulling together interviews with all the people involved so I can make sense of what happened and learn from it.
I have lots of upbeat, happy, helpful posts planned too which have nothing to do with allergic reactions, but for now you’ll have to join me in my therapy. I think writing about this is going to help me recover, come to terms with it and move on.
And if it helps anyone else who has had a similar reaction and feels fear, anger and rage like I am, you can work through this with me.
I’m hoping to find a therapist and some counselling, as well as reading about anger management. Talking and writing have always helped me, so this will be key to my future health and well-being. Don’t bottle it up. Please talk about it. Tell people how you are feeling. Don’t suffer in silence like I’ve been doing. You don’t have to do this alone.
Special thanks to Hazel and Rebecca who both helped me to realise I need to get some help this week. Angels.