Reaction Time: My Summer Run-In with Eggs
Last night I was at a family birthday party. There were lots of people I knew there, all the kids were playing with balloons and running around and everyone was laughing and having a good time. Dinner was a large and slightly extravagant picnic affair with pork tenderloin, tabouli salad, shrimp, caesar salad, cole slaw, hummus and home-baked bread. There was even pink champagne as it was a sweet 16th birthday party. With food allergies, it's always difficult walking slowing around the table, set-up buffet style, trying to figure out what you can put on your plate. This time it was pretty easy to tell, there was no problem side-stepping the caesar salad and shrimp and everything else was delicious.
And dessert is always an easy choice. No to the cake, yes to the ice cream. Vanilla ice cream and stewed strawberries. I had two scoops with lots of berries and it was delicious. Then, my mouth started to get itchy. I hadn't had eggs in almost a year, I almost forgot how awful it felt. There was fear; there's always fear that this time could go horribly wrong. My reactions to eggs now are far better than my earlier hospital trips. But the itching, stomach ache and tight throat for an uncomfortable hour until the Benadryl kicks in is always terrifying. Watching my mom watch me as I try to tell my brain that I'm okay is also very scary.
But it gets better. We don't need to use an epipen, I don't need to go home early and I know the exact cause of the reaction. Despite the fact that I usually am always able to have the ice cream at the birthday party, I can't forget that I always need to ask first before I eat anything. I forgot rule number one of food allergies, always ask.
The Benadryl did take away most of my symptoms and I was able to light off paper lanterns to celebrate the sweet 16th birthday. After every reaction it always makes me realize how lucky I am that I can catch them early enough and have been lucky to have so few that I barely remember I have food allergies.