As I have mentioned before in previous blogs, I am more than a wee bit allergic to peanuts. Things like "not breathing" and "dying" may ensue from my consumption of them. Obviously, I try not to eat them (unless I am running a marathon that day).
A day after I turned 31, this changed.
The day I turned 31 was great. I met up with a bunch of old friends...and we went drinking in Newport. Although having a birthday so close to Christmas usually sucks more than a toe sucker at a podiatry conference (weird), I was surrounded by my life-long best friends, my girlfriend, and even some close friends from high school that I hadn't see in many, many years. All-in-all, it was a terrific night. I even remained in enough control to (a) not puke and (b) not get hung over. Top of the world on December 23rd, I was. I was the king of my domain!
The next morning, I woke up at my friend's house, and we decided to go get some breakfast. Of course this was after he graciously offered to make breakfast...but my guilt factor kicked in, and I decided we should go out. That moment still lingers in my mind...like the Peanut God's last ditch effort for me NOT to choose the wrong path. Damn you, Peanut God and your taunting ways.
We ended up going to get some dim sum at a place called Sam Woo (as in, the whistle goes...) in Irvine. I have had dim sum millions of times. Me not so dumb to eat some dim sum.
Now to keep this all in perspective, I am eating with Chris, who has seen me have peanut allergies before...I'm not too worried about him and my soon-to-be-peanut reaction. He is an old pro at watching me almost die. Sometimes, he even plans it.
On the other hand, we have Tauni, my new girlfriend, who needs to be at the San Diego airport by about 5:00 PM to catch her flight home to Washington so she can spend Christmas Eve with her family. It's about 11:15 AM in the OC...and someone I have been dating for about a month is about to see me at my emotional, psychological, and physical worst. She also is on a time schedule. So...absolutely no added pressure when I ingested dim sum that must have been so dim that I didn't know that there was sum (ha ha) pure peanut product in there somewhere. I gave Chris a look, and sprinted from the table to the store next door. I could instantly tell this was not the slow moving, slowly dying reaction. This was the big daddy. The "I swallowed a whole-lot-of-nut...and I wasn't in no porn" kind of reaction. I was in trouble.
One of the many things that happens to me when I get the worse of my two allergic reactions is that my mouth INSTANTLY and RIDICULOUSLY overly salivates. Not just kind of. Not just a little bit. I mean, I produce GALLONS of saliva that I either need to expel, swallow, or keep in my mouth like a chipmunk until I am literally bursting with spit. Dude, maybe I am a porn star. Anyway, this became problematic in the store when I tried to talk to my Spanish speaking sales associate in a time of double-ultra-cross-cultural-miscommunication.
Me: We i yo be-e-il (Hey, you try talking with a mouth full of saliva).
Spanish Speaking Sales Associate: WHAT?
Me: Sowwy. We i yo be-e-il?
Spanish Speaking Sales Associate: Where is Benny Hill?
Me: Oooo. I sa, We i yo be-e-il. I a vewy si
Spanish Speaking Sales Associate: *Questioning his level of English Comprehension*
Me: *GULP* *GAG* Where is your BENADRYL???
Spanish Speaking Sales Associate: We no really have mediceen. Yo puedo ass overdere. *Indiscriminately points off to more Spanish speaking people sitting around a pink-macramed hovel that had Chinese and Spanish lettering on it*
Spanish Speaking Sales Associate: Dere ees alsoo un CVS behind dis building.
And I left. Frantically walking and spitting towards the CVS. I get inside, down some Benadryl..and figure I am in the clear. This course of action always works. Not on 31 and 1/365ths, though.
I start walking back to the restaurant: embarrassed and tired. But something strange is happening. I'm not getting better. I am breaking out in hives, and I feel like my esophagus is trying to escape from my body through my chest like in Alien. And then the unthinkable. I puked. And puked. And puked some more. I think I puked so hard my shoes were going to come up next. I NEVER non-alcohol-induced vomit, so I was obviously concerned. I could just see Tauni (Mark never pukes twice when we eat at home) and Chris (Dude...would you just die already; I'm tired of this half-way shit) waiting for me back at the restaurant. I was was feeling pretty low.
I run into Chris, and he asks if I want to go to the emergency room. I'm confused, exhausted, and covered with freshly eaten shrimp dim sum. Did you know that freshly eaten shrimp dim sum is the new corduroy? I bet you didn't.
Yeah. I guess we should.
And this is where the hilarity begins.
We go to a clinic, not the hospital. There is a crack staff of three gents: the male receptionist, the male nurse, and the Beverly Hills 90210 doctor waiting for me. You saw this coming, didn't you? I couldn't have a normal staff, could I?
I already know the drill. (1) I give you my driver's license and my insurance card...and (2) you send me right back. Peanut allergies are the king of the emergency room jungle. I am the top of the food chain, baby. But the male receptionist guy says:
Can you fill out this paper work, please?
And I look at a sheet that is blurred from my doubling over in pain. I scribble my name, my driver's license number, my elementary school name, my shoe size, my favorite Thundercat...until I plead with Sir Dumbfuck:
Can I please fill this out later? I'm having a peanut allergy here...I need help.
After a few moments of contemplation on his part...he introduces me to Alberto, my male nurse. Alberto somehow still doesn't know why I am there...even though he heard me talking to the male receptionist. After he asks me five different ways WHY I AM THERE... I say :
Me: Look, man. I told you already. I ate peanuts.
Alberto: Are you allergic?
Me: YES! That is why I am here.
Alberto: You shouldn't eat peanuts if you are allergic to them. That is pretty dangerous.
This wasn't the last of his beauties. While I am still writhing in pain, and ever-so-patiently waiting for my medicine to kick in...he says:
You know, you should stay away from peanuts. Those things will kill you.
I just stare at him. Just stare. What am I supposed to say?
Peanut allergies are the absolute worst. Stop eating them. Your heart can stop. Did you know your heart could just stop? Bam. Dead.
More staring from me.
But this guy was nothing compared to my lame-ass doctor. He has signs up for Botox everywhere. Yeah. Botox. Because when I think of an emergency...I think Botox. After rattling off a laundry list of directions for me to follow (while I am in a medicine-induced fog), he cares enough to ask: How did you guys find me? Did you find us on the internet?
I'm near death. Does this matter?
He also gave such keen directions as taking some Benadryl "once every eight hours for the next 18 hours." That's not a typo.
He spoke while he begrudgingly wrote my directions out for me. I think this was to help him spell...and because he really, truly, loved to hear himself speak. Don't kindergartners speak out loud while they write?
But the best part of this entire operation was that instead of giving me an I.V., the Keystone Cops decided to shoot me up in my ass. Which leads to what happened on 31 and 2/365ths until this very moment.
Those fucking shots they gave me tightened up my entire ass (not a small area)...and I have been suffering through the worst back pain in my life the past two days. I have had fun CRAWLING TO THE BATHROOM. It is also a good time being woken up with back spasms so intense...I'm not sure if it is my back or my screaming which was waking me up. Good times, indeed!
My 31st year has NOT gotten off to a roaring start (unless you count my yelling and screaming with my back). I'm still in good spirits...and might even go get some dim sum to celebrate. Chris, just kill me now.