Peanuts will kill me in mere minutes. It’s something I have battled my entire life. My last allergic reaction was so severe that doctors told me had I come to the ER just minutes later I would have been dead. All I really remember is two IV’s in my arm and about a dozen doctors surrounding me then nothing. It’s scary to be allergic to something that is in so many foods. Yikes. Food allergies seem to be more common now than ever and it’s no laughing matter. I have gone to several restaurants and when I inquire about peanuts the response I get is “um no I don’t THINK the dish contains peanuts” It’s infuriating because THINK could mean death for me. I need certainty and one cooks mistake or servers brush off could mean death for me. The last time I had peanuts on accident I was at the Eugene Farmers Market- a popular venue with lots of food carts. I decided on Mexican and placed my order for an enchilada and remembered to ask about peanuts. A boy about 15 translated to his mom and she shook her head vehemently saying NO to the inquiry. I should have known better than that and won’t make that mistake again. I had ONE small bite and started feeling funny. 20 minutes later as I walked around knowing something was not right, I knew I had to get to the hospital and NOW. My friend who I was with drove me (another mistake–learned now to always call an ambulance instead of try and drive) and I stumbled into the ER gasping for breath. The nurse behind the counter said to me “Maam you have to take a seat”. A SEAT? I was dying of anaphalactic shock. Luckily for me a doctor was coming out of the door right at that moment and recognized the severity of my situation. I got lucky.
I had a scare today at work that prompted me to write this. I had grabbed a can of almonds from the grocery store last night to snack on this week. Without thinking I opened the can and started munching. I remember thinking that a few nuts looked a bit like peanuts but that it couldn’t possibly be the case. I turned the can over and read the label
ALMONDS, PEANUT, SAFFLOWER OR CORN OIL
I started to panic! What if the oil that had been used was peanut oil! Not thinking and grabbing another brand could be a sure fire way to have an allergic attack. Jason and I headed for the gym and I gave him a heads up that if I went into reaction any second to call an ambulance. I waited and waited with my mind playing tricks on me confusing me into thinking I was about to have an attack. After 30 minutes passed I knew I would be okay. I keep an Epi-Pen in my purse and tell everyone around me how severe my attack can be.
Reaching full professional success, relationships and a show where the prompter dies all scare me from time to time…but none as much as a peanut allergy does!
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This post was written by nchughtai on July 23, 2012