Last month, I temporarily lost my vision from a cheeseburger. My iron was low, so I scheduled a cheeseburger like a healthy person schedules a haircut. Not just any cheeseburger, but a $12 grass-fed patty without any seasoning or toppings except cheddar cheese–the same burger I’ve been eating for years.
Less than an hour later, I lost half of my vision in a staff meeting. At first, it was fun to watch my coworkers disappear, but then the doom kicked in. By the time I got to the emergency room, half of my body was numb.
A few seconds later, I felt like I was making a cameo on Grey’s Anatomy. No less than six residents swarmed me. The supervising doctor said they were going to prep me for tPA, and I nodded even though I wasn’t sure what that meant. I knew I was in trouble when the nurse grabbed my service dog.
One resident warned me, “Okay now, big poke!”
I thought, “I think you mean little poke.”
Then two of them in chorus sang, “Big poke!”
I contemplated how quickly six residents would tackle me if I tried to run. In the end, it was a big poke and I have not eaten a cheeseburger since then. Although the doctors quickly ruled out a stroke, it’s terrifying when my mast cell reactions affect my brain. I worry about having a ministroke, if I don’t treat the inflammation quickly enough. I would much rather have hives and vomiting. I didn’t get any gastrointestinal symptoms, but the next day I had two black eyes. The restaurant staff could not have been more helpful trying to identify the culprit, but I may never know what triggered my reaction.
After steroids, Benadryl, and a few hours of observation, a nurse handed me my discharge papers and wished me luck. On the way home, I curiously thumbed through the packet. It’s always interesting what doctors list as the reason for my visits, since mast cell reactions are not an option.
On the sixth page was a 3-inch clipart image of a glass of wine. Below, it read, “Red wine is a common migraine trigger.”
Folks, I haven’t ingested alcohol, let alone a grape in the past four years. Red wine is a common migraine trigger because has enough histamine to give me lips bigger than Angelina Jolie’s.
I don’t know what was more appalling: the useless advice or the wasted paper. Don’t even get me started on clipart. At least, I am accustomed to the useless advice.
“Okay, the discharge instructions say come back if you develop a fever or hives,” the nurse often says.
“I have hives right now. I have hives every day of my life. I am not putting that gown back on,” I reply.
After my gallbladder surgery, I received advice on how to clean my wounds and keep my poop soft (and no clipart). What I really needed was some encouragement and a 24-hour prednisone hotline for when I wanted to punch people in the face.
I guess that’s what Facebook is for.