Scary experience

Well we all know living alone with diabetes is scary, but this post isn't about diabetes, but is about living alone and scary medical emergencies.

The night before last I worked super late to support a youth activity our office was running. As part of that, I brought home some of the leftover snacks, including the tortilla chips.

Went to eat some last night (yeah, yeah, not many!). Discovered that someone (definitely NOT one of my colleagues) had mixed in the potato chips with the tortilla chips. Discovered this when I went to take a bite out of a potato chip. (For those who don't know, I have a severe allergy to potatoes.)

I have had severe reactions before, but (kind of like severe lows) haven't had one in over ten years. And, kind of like lows, have never gone to the hospital for one, even though there are times that I probably should have.

Last night was one of those times ...

I was home alone which made it even more scary. I only ate a tiny piece of the chip and realized immediately that it wasn't tortilla. I didn't freak out because in recent years all that has happened with potato exposure (granted, never this much ...) is that my mouth gets itchy and my throat feels weird and sometimes my breathing gets wheezy. I thought maybe that's all that would happen here.

Within about ten minutes I knew that it wasn't ... First my mouth and lips and throat got intensely itchy. Then my entire face began to itch (something else I've experienced with minor reactions). Then my hands, armpits, and some other distant body parts got intensely itchy. Then my entire face got really hot and red and started to swell, including my ears. Then swallowing got funny-feeling and my breathing got a bit wheezy, I started sneezing, my stomach felt upset and I felt sick, and my entire face, neck, torso, and scalp broke out in incredibly itchy hives. My heart was racing, but I'm not sure how much of that was the reaction and how much was my pacing around the room with the phone in my hand debating whether to call 911.

I was seriously considering using my EpiPen or calling 911. This all happened in about 30 minutes so I was so scared it would get worse, and especially that I was home alone in my apartment. Maybe I should have done one or both of those things, but instead I took two Benadryl and my inhaler and waited it out for the two hours or so it took before things started to fade. All I could think of was how I had been so stupid and didn't want to cause a huge scene, but I was terrified that the next step would be me passing out or not being able to breathe.

In hindsight, I feel kind of stupid for eating the chip without checking, and also for not going to the hospital just in case. I think I definitely should have gone. I am fine this morning, all the symptoms are gone completely.

At least I know now what happens when I eat actual potato, and that eating an entire potato chip or French fry would probably kill me. And also *checks EpiPen* my EpiPen is expired and I need to keep up with refilling that! And that when people ask "what happens" when I eat potato I don't feel like I'm basing my information on ten years ago. And also that the fact that I haven't had a severe reaction in so long is probably because I've gotten much better at avoiding foods rather than the fact I have outgrown the allergy.

WOW that is scary and especially when your alone. I know i have done the samething with lows where I'm sitting at 35 hoping and praying it will go up without needing help. I understand not wanting to cause a scene.

I've never heard of a potato allergy. I thought they were a fairly benign food. Obviously not.

Jen, how scary! So glad you're ok. And yeah, I agree, you probably should have called 911. Keep in mind that each time you're exposed the reaction can become more severe. (*Checks epi pens - not quite expired.)

I agree with everyone, I should have called 911. I've talked to a few people this morning who all say I should have used my epi pen and called 911. In hindsight, when I think of how terrible I felt, and knowing these reactions can easily become life threatening, it seems so risky that I didn't call (especially being alone!). If I ever have another reaction like that I will definitely go to the hospital (and I'm picking up a new epi pen with my new insulin this afternoon).