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Wecome to Absurdia

Posted Apr 16 2011 4:57pm
I blame a lot of my physical problem on stress and too often refuse to fully believe that I'm having a problem unless I can observe some sort of symptom (fever, racing pulse, swollen lips...). This is yet another reason I am the HORRIBLE warning, rather than the good example -- my history shows I'll slog till I'm seriously sick and whine about feeling cruddy along the way. Pleasant for everyone, effective coddling for the germs or histamine trying to takeover my body. I may be creating my own strain of supergerms that are strengthened by whining and caffeine.

Yesterday morning I was just going to make it on time to work when I got stuck in traffic. The normally swift moving highway went from creeping along to a complete standstill. As I sat there worrying about being late and trying (unsuccessfully) to log onto my work email via phone I started to feel the beginnings of a reaction-- tingly lips, painful joints, itchy throat. It wasn't something I eaten, since I'd postponed breakfast in favor of taking the dog for a springtime run. I had a paranoid thought that it was the exhaust from all the cars sitting still and made sure the air was on recirculate.

After a lifetime in traffic I finally approached my exit, where rubberneckers slowed things further with taking time to gape at a the accident made frighteningly beautiful by firetrucks spraying shimmering arcs of water over the highway onto a flaming tanker. As the full trucks sped back down the highway in a water-relay, police directed morning commuters slowly through the exit.

Chest tight and throat itching, I finally made it into the office where I can top off my daily dose of allergy meds and histamine blockers. I start digging through my in-box and get an email that puts me at risk for a cerebral aneurysm -- I can blame my slowly worsening symptoms on this.

Feeling like I'm on the edge of a major reaction make me nervous, which has the potential to make things worse. I do a little yoga breathing and take care of a few happier items before calling my direct teammate in the main office. "Amy." She has a friend with mega-allergies and a husband who is an ER doc and a good sense of humor, thus she can be relied on to be the voice of sanity. I call her to update her on my having made it into the office and joke that that everything will be fine as long as its not a popcorn truck that is burning.

Despite my pledge to keep my whining to a minimum, I'm tell the only other person in the office (my wonderful emergency contact) that I don't feel so good when she says makes the connection to the burning tanker truck. I honestly don't think a popcorn truck is on fire and the 10% ethanol gasoline in even the biggest truck engine would have burned away so quickly that it can not possible bother me.

Welcome to Absurdia.

She quickly finds the news: Ethanol Tanker Crash -- 8,000 gallons of ethanol are burning about half a mile (800 meters) from our office. Fire crews are keeping it under control while the fumes burn off. The highway will be closed for the next 5 hours as the truck burns.

I need to have my passport stamped, clearly we are not it Kansas any more.

I'm visiting Absurdia today. The thing I'm deathly allergic to is spilling on the ground, putting fumes into the air and ON FIRE across a big field from my office. That's why my lips are pufffed up and my throat itches. That's why my chest is tight. That's why I'm dizzy. That's..uh....it could EXPLODE!! OH. For. Pete's. Freaking, Sake. 8,000 gallons of CORN on FIRE is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day in anyone's book.

The good news is I'm not at risk for an aneurysm (today)...I can stay and hope that this is as bad as it gets. Or I get the heck out of dodge before something worse happens -- like the tanker exploding. I may think my job is important but there is nothing that requires me to risk my life, we are not preforming surgery or talking people off ledges.

Epi-Pen in hand, I take a couple wal-dryl* and drive home (not recommended procedure) to put my head under the pillow till I feel ready to deal with Absurdia. I may be having culture shock.

Wonder if I'll need a visa and shots if I'm staying for awhile.




*Walgrenes benadryl -- listed as "virtually" corn-free on the corn free foods list
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