I’m covered in bees!

Post title stolen from this Eddie Izzard bit, which has been stuck in my head for four days now.

Ahem. Anyway. Because I write these posts ahead of time (usually not much, but a little), what you don’t know about Friday is that I woke covered in hives. Or, you know, I thought I was covered. I had huge hives on my hips, back, and stomach, and a few small ones on my thighs and forearms.

At first I thought it was related to the respiratory allergies — just an additional symptom. My dehumidifier came in Wednesday night, and we have been running it continuously ever since. The bad news is that now all my windowsills are covered in mildew, so I have quite the cleaning task ahead of me. The good news is that the windowsills are at least dry, and my respiratory junk is pretty much gone (though I did, obviously, get a bit stuffy while we were taking down the Christmas tree and cleaning the living room). My nose is not running, my eyes are much less red, and I’m no longer congested. I am not coughing and clearing my throat constantly. It’s a small miracle. That noisy box is worth every penny I spent on it.

But the hives. The hives spread, and spread some more. Across my torso to my chest, neck, face, and and arms, and down my legs to my knees. (You could see the ones on my knees through my yoga pants. Puffy!) I’d been resisting taking Benadryl, because I feared the possible drop in my milk supply, but when the hives spread to my face and ears even after taking 2 teaspoons of Benadryl (one at a time, 2 hours apart — I am extremely cautious about what I take these days), I started to freak out a little. Finally, I felt compelled to seek medical advice.

From my friendly Walgreen’s pharmacist, because by this point it was 8 pm.

The pharmacist was also concerned, but not alarmed. A food allergy, he said. Take more Benadryl, he said. The adult dose this time.

I have not suffered an allergic reaction like this to a food since childhood. The occasional hive or rash, yes. An interesting evening in which my then boyfriend ate shrimp, kissed me, and my lips swelled up and itched. But this. This was like my body was having a panic attack. My skin felt both sunburned and on fire with itching. Actually, I am not sure I have ever had an allergic reaction quite like this.

After having him repeat three times what sensations should trigger a call to 911, I picked up a bottle of dye-free Benadryl and left. (What I had at home was red, because they didn’t have the dye-free stuff at the store where R bought it. I am allergic to red food dye. Yep — I probably did make things worse instead of better with those first two teaspoons.) Took my first dose in the car, then went home.

My throat never did require a call to 911, but I woke the next morning covered in even more hives. The existing ones were so big that they melded together in giant swollen continents. New hives speckled my hands and feet, swelling them to the point where I could not wear rings or constricting shoes. To the minor med I went. Got a cortisone shot and a prescription for an antihistamine, which I filled but am afraid to take because of the warnings about breastfeeding.

Sunday started with a diminished rash, but it later flared back up to an echo of its former glory. I took more Benadryl, and painted myself in hydrocortisone cream so I could sleep.

This morning dawned to a less red, but still speckly and itchy me. So I will be seeing my allergist today. I had been planning on resuming shots anyway, but now it would appear I have a second round of tests ahead of me. Which is fine; I just want to feel better.

And never go through this hive thing again.

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