Friday, August 16, 2013

How Not To Drive While Eating Flaming Death Cherries

It's been one long insane week, what with Satan's Drumstick, running into a pine tree limb and ending up with pine sap in my hair, going on a job interview and then having the company offer me the position for even more money than I asked for in this down economy.

The drag is I have to get a physical on Monday.

And there were Flaming Death Cherries.....

Yesterday I drove into Fairfax to go shopping with Laura. We hit up a number of home decorating and furnishing stores before hitting World Market and going out to lunch. I finally got a chance to meet my son's girlfriend for the first time. She seems quite nice. I noticed that she and Andy were all luvvy-dovey handsy kissing and hugging all the time. Ahh, young love. Hope she doesn't break his heart.

I left around supper time. Andy was cooking and I really needed to get back to cook dinner for Jim. One of the biggest most tempting things Laura and I do at World Market is get odd drinks and candy. Since I've lost a not insignificant amount of weight this year I usually only by one candy and one drink at WM. Yesterday I bought a tempting treat I'd not had before ...

....something called Christopher's Big Cherry. World Market didn't have them sitting out in a box like this one with clearly lumpy nut-like chocolate coating visible screaming out a message of peanutty death throes. They had the individual packets sitting innocently on the shelf with the description and drawing on the front of the single serving packet warning you about cherry pits and proclaiming it was chocolate covered WHOLE cherry. If you saw that cheery cherry-bedecked packaging would you suspect peanuts lurked within? Nope, me neither. This is one of those rare times I didn't read the label. Later I did and saw the ingredients list with "peanuts" listed in teeny tiny type under the folded back label.

So, where were we? Oh yeah, I'm on interstate 66 (more like 666 the way the traffic crawled and the damn tourists thought they were gonna tote their campers into DC, ha!), caught in a typical Thursday afternoon Nutley Street exit crawl, trapped between tourists and bureaucrats fleeing the city for a three day weekend. I decided, stupidly, that this was the perfect moment for a chocolate covered cherry smooched into what I assumed was some sort of cherry flavored/colored marshmallow coated with more chocolate.

Never even finished my first bite, as I started to shove the teeniest edge of this processed food monstrosity in my maw like Homer Simpson with a frosted doughnut my lips, tongue and mouth started to tingle even before I registered the taste of peanuts in that very small bit. I flung the packet aside and spit out what was in my mouth, watching it spray all over the dashboard and windshield, disgusting blobs of chocolate and chopped fine peanuts. 

At this point I am starting to positively freak out because a) I'm extremely allergic to peanuts, b) I'm stuck in my car in a usual evening traffic jam and ain't going nowhere. 

I can feel my airways narrowing and my face swelling. Pulled off to the side of the crowded interstate to a cacophony of car horns and used my Epipen right through my jeans, followed by an injection of Benadryl. 

The panic attack starts, feels horrible and I think I'm going to die, here on the interstate and no one will realize what type of problems I have because I've neglected to wear my Medic Alert bracelet with access to my medical records because it's been simply ages since I had a life threatening reaction to anything. I freak out, wondering if I should call the cops, drive my car backwards through the interstate traffic to get to a nearby hospital ER. What should I do?

After realizing that the two shots worked and my symptoms aren't getting any worse I decide to keep on driving. There's another hospital nearby, off the third exit from where I am. I get near the exit and realize not only are the symptoms not worse, I can feel the iron grip on my windpipe easing some. 


I drive home like a crazy crazy woman, hopped up on the epinephrine, pounding down the Italian canned cold coffee drinks I'd bought at World Market, adding more fuel to the amphetamine rush of the drug. Made it home just in time for the Benadryl to start making me feel too loopy. 

Go to the doctor this afternoon for my Xolair treatment, leave the doctor's office and go get ice cream, my inner little kid treat for bravely sitting through the needles again. Ask the gal working the counter if there are peanuts in the Nutty Coconut ice cream. She swears it's almonds only. I get some, get home, take one bit and it's lather, rinse, repeat. Yes, yes, it has peanuts too and again I only consumed the tiniest amount. Wheezing again.

I guess the lesson to be learned is to never assume. Read every single label and don't trust the home school kids working at the Christian ice cream parlor because their ineptitude could spell your flaming death after all. 

The general public just does not 'get' how horrible peanuts are for those of us that are allergic.

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