Ana had plagued me for the three months prior to Halloween of 2008. Yes, good ol’ anaphylaxis. Being exposed to fragrance would cause me to have hoarseness and sometimes shortness of breath. The doctors told me that these symptoms were due to a potentially life threatening allergic reaction. It was a very concerning time of my life.
By the eve of Halloween I was a mess. I'd been on the verge of a medical crisis all day long. But, I wanted to go pick up some groceries and drop my new prescriptions at the Albertson’s pharmacy. It was a Friday night, and the place was bustling with women dressed in skimpy,and frankly, inappropriate costumes and letcherous men coming to check out women doing their last minute shopping. Dressed in sweats, I dragged my weary self around the store. I wanted to pick up some supplies to make mummy hotdogs in an attempt to make something special of the day for my kiddos.
My allergic reaction went into full swing when I got home and soon epipens were flying and an urgent call to 911 was made.
My memory does not serve me well on what was happening with the kids. Brian was phoning friends to take the kids off to trick or treat and there was a flurry of activity as the kids got into their costumes. I cannot remember what they were for Halloween last year. Sad.
The kids went out the door as I heard the sirens in the neighborhood. I hoped that the kids would be down the street when the firetruck pulled up to the house. The evening would be traumatic enough without seeing the emergency vehicles arrive.
Sitting at the dinner table calmly, I waited for the fire crew to come in the house. As the crew sauntered in, they looked unimpressed and probably wondered why the heck they had been called. That is, until I spoke to them and started to explain the situation. My voice sounded like Froggy, from the old Our Gang TV shows.
Instantly the pace in the room picked up. Monitors were pulled out and medication boxes were opened. The next thing I know a paramedic was jabbing a needle into my hand trying to access a vein that was as small as a thread, vasoconstricted from the Epinepherine.
He got the IV in on the second try and pushed some more Epi and gave me a dose of intravenous Benadryl.
“What?” I thought, “Who can that be?”
“Trick or Treat.”
“No way!” I said, as best as I could through my hoarseness.
Everyone in the room exchanged looks of disbelief.
Then, the fire captain shrugged, picked up the bowl of candy from the kitchen counter and headed toward the front door.
Oh my gosh, can you believe it? Parents sent their kids to the door of a house that had a firetruck in the driveway?!
The ambulance arrived a moment later , packaged me up and rolled me out the front door.
As we went out to the drive, I could see crowds of neighbors and trick or treaters gauking at me.
What’s a girl to do? I raised my cupped hand and did the princess wave all the way to the ambulance.
The rest is boring from there…ambulance ride, shortness of breath, breathing treatments, IV bolus of steroids, resolution of symtoms, and signing of discharge papers a few hours later.
The kids missed our family Halloween. Our kind friends had welcomed them to their neighborhood block party, but it wasn't the hours and hours of running door to door, parents in tow, that they delight in.
Epilogue: This year is sure to be better. In August, we journeyed to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. We were desperate for help with my worsening medical condition. To our surprise, we found out that I actually had been misdiagnosed. What I had been experiencing was asthma and vocal cord spasms. The ordeal had ended. I have my future back.
Please go read what the other members of my family had to say about Halloween 2008: