Every now and then I have a year filled with medical visits. When I hit my early thirties, I tore the ligaments in my ankle and fractured my arm (within about a half second of each other), then got bronchitis that culminated in pneumonia. Then I tore my ligaments again, and they didn't want to Xray because I'd had so many Xrays in such a short period of time.
This year seems to be another such year. Did my ankle again in January, stepping off the bottom couple of stairs in the middle of the night. Five months on and it's still not right. Then I had a small op earlier in the year -- the only serious part was when I woke up and my blood pressure was 180 over 95, which they were concerned about.
The night before last I had my next encounter. Had my parents over for dinner: nice lamb roast, nothing special, but had a packet lemon pudding for dessert, a brand I'd never tried before. Parents went home. Two hours later I had a sharp pain in my stomach, then I started to get itchy. As in wanting to tear my skin off. It started on my face and ears, then progressively moved down my arms, trunk and legs. Blisters. Welts. Allergic reaction. I knew that. As a child I couldn't eat strawberries. I'd come up in dreadful hives, several centimetres wide. I grew out of those. Then I got hayfever in my late teens. RAST tests at work (in my lab days) showed I was allergic to cats, dust and dust mites. I mostly grew out of that in my early thirties. Then someone sprayed some flyspray at home, and suddenly I was scratching -- another head-to-toe rash, with welts and the whole bizzo. And I had another incident after our old house was treated for termites. We stayed out of our house for three days (we were told to stay out for twenty-four hours). About a week later I went to the doctor's with a numb face, and he asked if I'd been exposed to pesticides... So, flyspray, pesticides -- was it the packet pudding, or broccoli we'd bought somewhere new, that perhaps hadn't been washed properly? I don't know. What I do know is that I began feeling really ill, and said I thought I had to go to hospital.
On the way in, I almost passed out. The Gadget Man begged me to hold on, but it was a struggle. I turned on the cold air, and Princess Sleepyhead, in her generally oblivious (naive?) state, complained that she was cold, and asked me to turn it off. At the hospital, I collapsed onto the admissions desk, which pretty much got their attention, so I was raced straight in and seen to. They gave me cortisone, and some water, which made me just a little sick (which I thought was probably a good thing), but then they gave me something to stop the vomiting. Then, to my surprise, they said they were closing at eleven, so had to get an ambulance to ferry me to another hospital.
Every time the ambulance bill comes up we debate paying this. So far, I've won every year, and we've renewed. The Gadget Man always says it's a waste of money. I think he'll change his tune now. This was my first ambulance ride. Bumpier than I expected. And no-one told me ambos were so cute!
I was okay, by then, to walk in and out of hospital unaided, but later I collapsed again. After my high BP last time I was in hospital, now it was 75 over 40. I was not feeling good. And the itchiness, which seemed to have disappeared with the cortisone, came back with a vengeance, mostly centred around my feet. Antihistamines did the trick. And a drip to rehydrate me. I shared a cubicle with a druggie who was intent on arguing with her boyfriend over her mobile phone (despite the signs to switch off mobiles), which freaked The Gadget Man out far more than it freaked me out, because I was only picking up about half the details. Anyway, I spent the night in hospital, then came home and spent one very precious writing day sleeping. Arrggghhh. These whole days devoted to writing are so precious that I hate to see them squandered, but sometimes there really is no choice.