I’ve have never before been so close to feeling what it is like to be clinically insane…until Friday night. I woke Friday morning as most mornings to the sound of my niece arriving to the house. Having not the ability to resist a precious smile I raise from bed, far too early, to say hello. Except this was different, the itching I felt was more intense than the “dry skin” I was thinking was affecting me days prior. I felt small bumps appear on my wrists and elbows with intense itching. My dad had nothing to contribute, but “put some tea tree oil on it”. I did and to no avail, my itching persisted. If I hadn’t said it yet, I was itching.
The back-story predates Friday by four days or so when the winter weather came down on us post-Christmas. I felt some seasonal allergy itching in my body and nose, so I took an allergy pill. A month prior I had run into a new allergy pill at the HEB while shopping for a few other items. Seemed like any other one and it was a few bucks less than the national labels. I had taken one pill for a couple of nights but found that the body itching prevailed, especially at night. I tried warm showers and good shower gels and body lotions to calm my skin. But the itching prevailed.
Thinking I was now dealing with bug bites, I asked my brother, the bug expert, what he thought these growing things on my elbows and wrists were. Mind you the itching was all over my feet, thighs and hands. I also told him to check the baby for any of these bug bites. He looks at me and says “no, those are not bites, they are hives”
I don’t have to say what happened next, but I will. Dealing with some anxiety issues anyway and unaware of any real changes to my intake of foods, I could think of nothing to be the cause of my outbreak. I eat pretty consistent the same foods, I haven’t been to a new restaurant…..confused my only response was: Maybe it was the allergy meds I’ve been taking. What? Could it really be the allergy med?
I proceeded with a dose of two Benadryl to calm the itching and ibuprofen for swelling and carried on with the days plan: a trip to the bank and a bus trip to Houston. Feeling insane at this point that the itching is consuming my every thought and I can feel every bit of my skin. I found I was scratching the top of my foot on a part of the car unconsciously Ugh! There are not words to describe what I was doing or feeling. I boarded the bus having pushed all thoughts of itching down to some pit in my body to survive.
Now free to move about in Houston I find myself in a fit of rage ready to put my crying itching hands through a wall. I’ve removed all jewelry at this point, well, because they don’t fit due to the swelling. My fingers looked like bright red sausages with white blotching and it was growing toward and away from my elbows. It was like a scene from the Exorcist, thrashing about unable to control my face or my body. Short of putting my hands through sheet rock, because I was certain that nothing short of bodily harm would help the intense rage running under my skin. At this point I felt as if I was looking at a crazy person that should be tranquilized and fit for a straight jacket. This has to be what clinically insane feels like…Or at least as close as I can come to understanding insanity. Another dose of Benadryl and found it in myself to stop thrashing and sit still just in time to drift off to sleep.
The morning brought new terror. The hives had spread to my face and up my thighs from my legs and began showing on my stomach. Panic stricken and unable to keep my poor swollen fingers from latching on to the skin, unable to resist the urge to scratch I woke my husband. He carries off to the drug store for some Aveeno skin calming colloidal oatmeal bath and more Benadryl anti itch gel. I sat in bed with now the ability to breath thanks to Aveeno wondering what do I do. Well, what does one do? Wait? Wait for the swelling to meet your throat and close as you sit there….waiting! Never have I ever dealt with hives, so yes the feeling as though I am carrying this out of proportion is at the fore front of my mind. We go to the nearby clinic where I am dosed with a shot in each butt cheek and sent home to sleep it off. We pick up drugs and head back to bed. Did I mention it was a day of celebration and we were expecting guests at my in-laws house in just a few hours?
I go to bed as directed and wait for the swelling to subside. The insanity of the itching has come at least to a reasonable controllable level. I wake only to get my bed head in order to make appearances. We had a great visit with friends and the new baby, but because I was covered in a medicinal cream all over my hands and body I was unable to hold her. The torture continued. I am sure at some point I had some fun and played a few games with family before falling asleep on the couch hugging my husband’s shoulder. Hives will wear you out. Well, ok, it could just be the mental strain I put myself through with the worry and constant reminders to stop scratching my body. Nevertheless I bath again in a colloidal oatmeal bath and take more steroids and hit the hay again. This must be almost over… .right?
WRONG… oh so WRONG! I wake Sunday to find they have spread all over my midsection and the right side of my face and all over my scalp. Into the bath I go again, so at least my skin will not itch so much. Keeping the insanity at bay for now, I hit the sack again after another dose of steroid and a bite to throw it down with. At some point I feel a lump in my throat that won’t go away and suddenly my chest is tight. I feel like a kid, if I don’t acknowledge it, it will just go away. So I continue to sleep hoping that it will pass in my sleep. Well, no. This is not what happened; we took the extreme approach and went to the emergency clinic this time. Afraid that the hives are not passing quickly enough to save my dying self, off we went. Another third degree about my weight and medications and menstrual cycle I get to the doc. He listened to my chest and looked at my red swelling stomach and legs and says, “yep, those are hives” and no I am not dying. We proceed with another shot this time to my shoulder, because my butt cheeks were already sore enough from yesterday. And I am sent on my way
I am so tired at this point and continue to sleep the morning away after we get home. Well, I lived. I thought it was finally over when I woke up in Austin on Monday morning. The day of the big interview and I find they have only moved to the back of my thighs. I don’t understand them, and I am so glad they are finally gone. It was like they wouldn’t stop until they had touched every piece of my skin. That last shot really put it to bed. What did I learn? I learned that HIVES SUCK! And I am anxious worry wart. And next time, I will just ask for the last shot, whatever it was called and I will steer clear of that dang ole’ allergy med I picked up on a whim. Maybe next time I will just stick to the Allegra or Zyrtec for my seasonal allergies.
Lesson Learned Hives one, Crystal Zero.