I reached into my underwear drawer and grabbed the ratty, elastic stretched, thread worn, holey, navy blue boxer briefs. There was quarter sized hole by the waistband in the front and a one inch tear down the right groin seam. There was a newer pair of white boxer briefs in the drawer. It was a Sunday, most of the laundry in our house gets done on the weekend so my choices were limited. I was going to be working a trade show all day so I stuck with the blue briefs. I figured comfort would be important since I would be on my feet all day. I finished getting dressed and I went downstairs.
I drank some coffee and talked to Wyatt about the birthday party he was going to that morning. It was the first time in his 3 and 3/4 years that he was ever invited somewhere without his older brother. Wyatt was very excited to be going somewhere by himself. I was very happy for him, he needs his own friends. I took the last few sips of my coffee with a pill I sometimes take for my herniated discs. My back and neck were stiff and aching from the 3 yards of mulch I shoveled the day before. I kissed the family goodbye and I drove towards the trade show.
Two minutes before I entered the turnpike my scalp started to itch really bad. My face felt flush, I could feel my ears start to burn. I opened the window to get some air. My feet and hands started to hurt and I could see my wedding ring getting squeezed by the flesh around it. I looked in the rear view mirror and gasped. My faced was completely red, my eyes bloodshot and my lips were puffing up. I was having another allergic reaction.
I turned around and drove home. I could barely walk to the front door my feet were so swollen the laces and seams of my fake wingtips were bulging. I walked into the kitchen and called out for Lauren. She looked at me and made the same face she makes when she sees me naked. She was horrified.
"I need to go the hospital." I told her.
"Oh my God. What happened?" She asked.
"I have no idea. The only thing I did different this morning is that I took one of my pills. My tongue and lips are tingling and I need to go to the hospital."
"Let me call someone to watch the kids." She said as she picked up the phone.
"No. Wyatt needs to go to his party. I will drive myself."
"What? Are you crazy?"
"No. I don't Wyatt to miss his party. He needs this party."
"Bill, He is three. There will be other parties."
"Maybe we should call 911." I said. "No. I don't want to scare the kids. I will drive myself. I want Wyatt to go this party and I don't want him to miss it because his dad has allergies."
"Oh but it will be okay if he misses his party because his dad died?" Lauren said always trying to make her point even though I may have been dying.
I left and drove myself to the hospital. I called Lauren to let her know I was safely in the ER. A nurse asked me to walk back through the triage area. I could hardly move, my feet were so badly swollen.
"Why are you hobbling?" The nurse asked.
"My feet hurt."
"Take off your shoes." She said.
"I can't. I think my feet are stuck in them."
"Do you want me to cut them off of you?"
"No. These are the only dress shoes I own. I will get them off but it will take some time."
The nurse helped me onto the bed and she instructed me to take off all my clothes except my underwear. My ratty, torn, hole filled underwear. I was embarrassed. As I took off each article of clothing I discovered the most hideous rash I have ever seen covered my entire body. I was more mortified at my underwear. A doctor and another female nurse entered the curtained exam room. They looked at me and winced, maybe from the appearance of the rash, but I thought it was because of the holes in my boxer briefs.
The doctor asked me to stand up so they could examine everywhere. The two female nurses helped me out of the bed and then the three of them all used flashlights to inspect my back side and inner thighs. The doctor decided I needed a epinephrine shot and a bag of IV fluids with steroids. I was also to be placed on a heart monitor in case anything bad happened.
The two nurses worked quickly and in sync to get everything done. One prepped one side of my body for the IV and heart monitor while the other sorted through the various equipment. They chatted together the entire time talking as if I was not even laying there completely exposed except for my really bad underwear. Once the heart monitor was hooked up and beeping they inserted an IV into my left arm and injected epinephrine into my right arm. The nurse on my left stood next to me holding the IV bag above my head. They asked me to scooch back in the bed a bit. As I did I could feel the holes in the front of my underwear shift a bit exposing certain parts of my anatomy. I asked for a blanket.
The nurse on my right, finally acknowledging I was there, said that everything looked okay and that they would keep me for a few hours to observe. She nodded to the nurse on my left who was fiddling with the IV bag and asked, "What are you doing?"
"This one does not have a big pole. How come I am always stuck with the ones without any kind of pole."
I then cleared my throat and said, "I know you just inspected me with flashlights and that my underwear is full of holes but you didn't even get a good look there so please do not insult me."
It took her a minute but then she laughed.
Later when she was removing the heart monitor clips that were taped to my chest, I think she took pleasure in ripping sticky pads from my body.
This is kind of what my reaction looked like except my entire body was covered. This picture is a reaction to the type of tape they use in the hospital. The good news is I do not think I am allergic to chocolate like I thought before. The bad news is I am allergic to the medicine I am supposed to take for my neck pain. I am also allergic to hospital tape and nurses ripping hair out of my chest.