Traumatized?

C.J. poked me today.

Mr Cann, just checking in to see if you’re fine? Feel I’m going to worry that something random and terrible has happened any time there isn’t a blog post often enough!

No kidding. She’s not the only one. Last Wednesday, I went to a spin class at the Y. As I wiped the sweat from my bike after class, the fire alarm rang. We spinners filed out the back door and trudged around the building to the parking lot. Saying our goodbyes, two fire trucks and an ambulance rolled in. We talked for a few more minutes. I worried about getting trapped in the lot if more emergency vehicles arrived, so I headed home.

When I arrived, Susan was on the phone with Eli. “Oh, never mind, he just walked in.” After hearing the sirens, Eli saw online that there was an emergency at the Y. Susan sent him over to see if it was me. It’s always me. I decided to write a post before others started checking in.

I planned to write a humor piece today called Uzgreenlandistan. An update to my 2018 post about my efforts to conquer the blogging world, my goal to fill up the map of all the countries that have visited my blog. But then I realized I’ve made almost no progress over the past four years. My map now looks almost identical to the map I copied when I wrote that post.

Still no visits from Greenland and Svalbard, ditto for Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Does any of this surprise you? I can’t imagine anything I might have in common with people living in those countries. Like I doubt they’re interested in lawn care or the Adams County Composite Mountain Bike Team (is anyone?). I did learn a few interesting facts though. Svalbard has a population of 2,642 people. They last counted in 2012—ten years ago. It occurs to me that someone could probably knock out a census on a Saturday afternoon, so I’m not sure why it’s been so long since the last one.

One country I gained since my 2018 post is called the U.S. Outlying Islands. They officially register only three hundred residents, although that was last tallied in 2009. Give me a break, with such a small population, I think they could just keep a running total on a sign at the dock. Every time someone arrives or leaves for good, the president could line out the number and write a new one.

The real reason I wanted to write this post is to give an update on my allergic reaction from a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday, after a full week of waiting, I received the results of my Alpha-Gal Syndrome test. I’m negative, no allergy to red meat. Surprisingly, this news sent me into a minor depression. After the fact, I realized I liked the simplicity of the Alpha-Gal diagnosis. Don’t eat beef, don’t face a life-threatening episode.

Instead, I have nothing but questions. Since I left the hospital, during every run I’ve taken, I stop and break out my phone to survey my face. I’m convinced my eyes and lips are swelling again. The grass is still blooming, I can smell the pollen on the air. I think about the wooded hikes I’ll take on my upcoming vacation, and the mountain bike trail-riding practices that start in two weeks and I wonder how safe I am.

It’s four-thirty right now. I’ve been up and writing for an hour and a half. My sleep patterns took a huge hit over the past two weeks. At first, I chalked it up to the steroids I took for the first five days out of the hospital. But that stopped ten days ago. Last night I woke up countless times, a few times on the hour, and sometimes fifteen minutes apart. I finally packed it in because drinking coffee seemed more pleasant than tossing and turning in bed.

I seem to be a bit traumatized. Yes, this surprises me. My stay in the hospital was brief, and my interactions with medical staff were upbeat and lighthearted. But something now weighs on me and gnaws at my brain. I feel the need to chastise myself for the fragility I’m displaying, but I know that does me no good. Better in the long run to dig in and analyze what’s going on.

I scheduled allergy testing for mid-July, the earliest I could find in a sixty mile-radius. Maybe then I’ll get a few answers and some guidelines on how to stay safe.

Photo by Adonyi Gábor on Unsplash

34 thoughts on “Traumatized?

  1. You’ve done so much mountain biking and hiking in the woods without allergic incident that I have to think it was something else. Which I know doesn’t help, but maybe having an epipen now helps with the uncertainty somewhat? I definitely understand being traumatised though, until you get some answers. July will be here before we know it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linnie (below) sent me a couple of articles that include some plausible causes. I feel sorry for my allergist. I’m going to show up with a binder of stuff to talk about. On my run yesterday, I actually brushed up against a bit of grass without issue. Unfortunately I think those battlefield trails are off limit until winter, Long grass pretty much everywhere.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. i am also a runner, and allergic to grass– tho, i’ve never had an experience like you had (even when running thru tall grasses and or heavily wooded trails. your experience has me so curious … and i googled, “top things that could cause anaphylactic shock while running”. here is one article that i found interesting and may be beneficial once you have your allergy test results: https://www.trailrunnermag.com/nutrition/race-day-nutrition-nutrition/allergic-to-runningliterally/

    i may have more links to share, but that first one caught my eye.

    Like

    • Hey Linnie, This is great information. I’ve only read through the first article because I’m at work (and supposed to be working), but I think this will be something key to mention to the allergist. I peeked at that picture in the 2nd article. Boy, I thought I had it bad. I’m really happy I was a mile away from a hospital. Would really suck if I was sitting on top of a mountain somewhere.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t feel getting stung, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t. A few years back I got stung 7 or 8 times when Susan got swarmed. I didn’t have any trouble then. I actually asked my doctor about ‘exercise induced anaphylaxis. She wasn’t aware of it. The combination of a food allergy and exercise is actually very similar to what the alpha gal allergy does. Kinda curious now to know more about your running.

      Liked by 1 person

      • i honestly hadn’t heard of it either until i googled it. as to my running, i like to get in 3-5 miles at least 3-4x per week. i prefer trail runs, especially in summer for the shade factor, but generally run on the paved roads in surrounding/connecting subdivisions. in the winter, i use a treadmill when temps drop below 35*F (i’m a baby!).

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think I’m going to sorely miss my trail runs for the rest of the summer/fall. Fortunately I’m good running outdoors down to about 20*F so I’ll have plenty of winter opportunities to trail run. I hate running on treadmills. I have a really heavy footfall and I’m always super self conscious doing that at the gym. THUMP, THUMP, THUMP

        Liked by 1 person

      • i prefer a trail. but let’s face it, i’m too lazy to drive to the trail. so much easier to lace up and head out the front door. as to the t.mill, my feet go SLAP, SLAP, SLAP. earbuds cure that problem! at least for me, hah!

        Liked by 1 person

      • i realized you were a runner, but i did not know your blog started out as a running blog. i discovered your blog thru a wordpress recommendation based on either something i wrote about music, or something i liked about music on someone else’s blog. finding out that you were into running was a bonus!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a lot more laissez-faire about not having definitive answers. I just figure it was a “perfect storm” of being tired, the Methotrexate and not enough needed minerals that caused my hemoglobin to tank🤷🏼‍♀️ I prefer to think about the results of ALL the other tests they did and how I’m actually in pretty good shape for a middle aged disable klutz.

    My appointment with my Primary got rescheduled… he came back from vacation got sick☹️ Also not surprising in the Life Of Angie.

    Daughter has been having intense allergy attacks, sneezing non-stop… she never had it this bad before. I told her I thought maybe COVID lockdown, masks and social distancing made us all lose our abilities to fight stuff off. It’s like we’re all newborn babies again and our immune systems are reset to Zero for all the general stuff that’s endemic.🤷🏼‍♀️ It’s my personal theory.

    Trust in your epi-pen. And keep giving your immune system the opportunity to build back up.

    I hope the person at the Y was okay🤞 Did you find out what it was all about?

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I worked at the Y, it seemed like a couple of firetrucks showed up almost every week. I doubt there was an actual emergency (and I was there tonight an no one was talking about it). Trust the epipen… that’s essentially what my doctor told me. Still, I REALLY want to stay out of the ER. The copay alone was $300. Haven’t gotten any other bills yet. Your covid theory probably has at least some merit. Especially around people. We haven’t been breathing in any germs for a couple of years now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jesus. That’s crazy. Fortunately my work insurance covers everything over $1500. Still a big bite out of our livelihood. I’ve seriously wasted a lot of money on medical expenses over the past two years.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It IS ridiculous. This is Medicare. They only pay 80% of what they allow. It’s a jacked up system that STILL doesn’t include vision, hearing or dental.

        Luckily my teeth are already dentures paid for in cash from my work comp settlement and Walmart vision is pretty cheap🙄 but I seriously need at least one hearing aid. My damaged left ear is SOOO much worse. But can I afford it?? Nope! I’m just gonna have to keep irritating my daughters by asking them to repeat themselves 🤷🏼‍♀️

        Liked by 1 person

      • OMG! I don’t have any medical insurance, and I complain about paying $40 to see the doctor and $5 for a prescription (for the first 20 prescriptions per year per family, after which they are free). Thankfully, all specialist medical appointments and treatments are free if referred by a doctor. All hospital services either as an inpatient or as an outpatient are free. Can’t imagine how much I would have been billed if I had to pay myself. Since 2000: 21 nights in hospital; two MRIs; five x-rays; removal of kidney stones; six emergency ambulance callouts; a thousand tablets over three years that had a pharmacy price of $104 per tablet (I paid $5 per prescription of 100 tablets); a colonoscopy; annual flu vaccinations. That’s just for myself. The wife has has less illness but far more injuries (she tends to be accident prone) – two car crashes; several falls resulting in serious long term injury; 5 nights in hospital, cornea replacements, and more. I don’t think we could afford to live in the US 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, the cost of the care definitely weighs into whether care will be sought. I’ve delayed a procedure coming up in July until I find out how much the rest of this is going to cost. I have above average insurance (which I partially pay for) through my employer, but as the finance guy, I know how much of the price the company covers–the cost is insane. The med system in the US is really ill. Just one more problem that will never be addressed because half the population is afraid of the big bad boogeyman ‘socialism.’

        Liked by 1 person

      • And it is a boogeyman. We’ve has ‘socialism’ since the the late nineteenth century, and yet, more than a century later, no matter how you measure freedom, NZ ranks at or near the top while the US trails well behind, and falling.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s ridiculous! The US is far too wealthy to treat its citizens this way. Medicine is BIG PROFIT though. I just read an article advising people worrying about the “Bear” economy to invest in hospitals and medicine🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️ Meanwhile… 🙄
        Honestly, as much as I hate it, those bills are going on the bottom of the pile. I’m on a Disability fixed income. I don’t know how they expect people to pay. I an NOT going to choose paying the bill over buying food.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I hope that you will still feel free to don the superhero name Alpha-Gal whenever so inclined, because it’s still a great one. But not having answers, not so great. Sending my best to you, Jeff. And hoping that things smooth out a bit for you in the coming week.

    Like

  5. Jeff, I’m not at all surprised you’re feeling a little traumatised. What you went through was pretty horrific and, I imagine, very frightening. When you had that awful reaction, it must have been like you had no control over your body or what was happening to you. Being out of control is difficult at the best of times. I’m a bit of a control freak (meaning I need to control what’s happening to me rather than me controlling others), so I wouldn’t have coped well with what you had to endure. I’m glad you have an appointment scheduled, even if it’s some time away. Perhaps, you’ll get some answers from it. I hope so. And it’s perfectly okay, and very natural under the circumstances, to be feeling fragile. This experience has bound to have left you feeling somewhat vulnerable, so a bit of fragility is perfectly normal and very acceptable. Try not to be too hard on yourself. Hopefully, you’ll get some solid answers before too long. Take care and I hope you get some sleep tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for all of that Ellie. You’re right of course. I need to accept the trauma and fragility for what it is. I know it will fade in time. After I finished that post, I realized I was going to be completely useless at work so I went back to bed for a couple of hours (my job is ridiculously flexible). I’ve actually felt pretty good all day.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Just finished reading your post and I sneezed ELEVEN times!!!
    I kid you not.
    I sneeze very loudly.
    Am sure half the complex has heard me.
    When I have had several bad nights I take one Texa10 tablet.
    It is an anti allergy tablet and we can buy them over the counter.
    Supposed to be non drowsy.
    I have one with a glass of wine and my brain switches off.
    I still wake up for loo trips but go right off to sleep again.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Your blog is one of the only ones I read where I read all the comments too, because everyone is so kind and open. 🙂
    I do hope you find the source of the allergy, so you’re not always left wondering. Uncertainty sucks.

    Like

    • Thanks C. I always feel a lot of true friendship on my blog. Yesterday was my first run since the allergy attack that I didn’t go into a mini panic attack during the run. Some real progress. But then I had a lamb burger for dinner last night and I started freaking out believing it was all starting again. Looks like it’s going to take a while I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I think allergies are just really bad this year. I go for a walk on the trails every morning and come home sneezing, eyes watering, face itchy – and I don’t have allergies. At least I didn’t think I did. I definitely haven’t had a severe reaction as you did, but I would like to know what your allergist says. I wonder what is out there this year that is new. I didn’t know if I was allergic to something that I was eating, because I have those allergies, but now I am thinking it is definitely coming from outside.

    Like

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