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Do you mind if I do a non-Tyler, non-parenthood post today?

I had to fly to Nashville, TN on Tuesday. With the work that I do, I don’t necessarily have co-workers. I work alone 99% of the time. So do all the other reps around the country. So, our region has quarterly meetings where we all get together, go over numbers, and hang out. This quarterly meeting was in Tennessee. All in all, it was a good time.

I get there Tuesday around 11am. After getting hotel rooms figured out (what a FUBAR situation that was), we all had lunch. Pulled pork, grilled chicken, beans, coleslaw, potato salad, and some type of apple dessert. Yum yum. After lunch, we had a couple meetings, then a friendly competition. I threw the competition. I feel bad in hindsight. I didn’t want to win, but I also didn’t want to lose. We placed dead last because of my sand-bagging. Whoops! Then we had one-on-one meetings with our managers to go over our individual numbers/performance.

Once this was out of the way, we headed to our rooms, changed into casual clothing and waited for dinner time. A few of us went to the Applebees that was in the hotel. I had one drink. This was at 5:30pm.

At 6p, we all hopped in taxis and drove to a restaurant called “The Aquarium”. Obviously, it was a seafood restaurant. I’m not a fan of seafood. Sometimes, Sarah makes telapia which I find quite tasty. Aside from that, I steer clear of seafood. I just don’t like it. I decided that I was going to take a chance this day though. Whenever I find myself at a seafood restaurant, I get chicken, or a salad. This day, I got the Sirloin and Shrimp dinner (sometimes called a surf-n-turf).

The appetizers came out first. I couldn’t even begin to name what all was there. I had bruschetta bread with some type of crab/cheese dip. Man it was good! When the food came out, I ate my Sirloin because it was delicious! I only ate about 4 shrimp though, because I just don’t find it as tasty. I had 2 drinks at the restaurant.

I should mention that my “drinks” are Captain Morgan & Coke, with a splash of grenadine (for a cherry coke taste).

After “The Aquarium” we all head over to Dave & Busters. I’d never heard of Dave & Busters before. So, if you’re like me, you need an explanation. Dave & Busters is an arcade for adults. They’ve got a ton of arcade games (video games, racing games, crane games, skiball, etc), but in a bar setting. I had 3 drinks here. I spent most of the night playing Daytona USA with 7 other guys. It turned out to be more of a demolition derby than actual racing, but it was a great time.

We left around 11p, because we used up all the credits that our managers gave us. The plan was to head back to the hotel. Those of us that wanted to crash could head up to their rooms, the rest would head back to Applebees.

The taxi ride (mini-van with about 5 of us in each taxi) is about 10 minutes long. On the way back to the hotel, my right cheek started itching. I didn’t think anything of it. About the time that we’re pulling up to the hotel, I rub my palm along my cheek and notice that it feels bumpy. When we got out of the cab and into the lobby of the hotel, I ask one of the guys if my face looks funny. His facial expression said enough, but he must not have realized that because, in addition to the look of horror on his face, he says, “HOLY S**T!!”

What followed was a bunch of pointing and commenting by the rest of my taxi-mates.

Physically, I felt fine. I had a slight buzz going. I only had 6 drinks over the course of 6 hours, so I was doing just fine. On the advice of my manager, I got two Benadryl pills from the front desk and took them. Aside from my less than appealing appearance, and some itching, I felt great, so I went to Applebees. I only had water while here. About 10 minutes in, the itching was much, much worse. And I noticed that there was some swelling at the corners of my mouth. The word “hospital” was mentioned a few times. Sometimes to my face, other times as part of another conversation (about me) that I wasn’t involved in. One of the people there was scared to be near me. Another guy said my face looked like a tomato, but covered in bumps.

I decided to check out the damage. A look of sheer terror washed over my face when I looked in the mirror. I only wish I would have had the presence of thought to have a camera nearby. My face was COVERED in bumps, and completely red. My neck was also covered. COVERED! I didn’t check below the waist, because I didn’t want to drop my trousers in front of a mirror in a hotel bathroom. I did lift my shirt though. My back was rather nasty and riddled with bumps, and my front side had about 10 or so. My face and neck were the worst though. There were some bumps on my arms as well.

My manager, and the manager of our sister region met me just outside of the bathroom. I’d never had anything like this happen to be before, so I was open to suggestions. They both said “hospital”. I still felt pretty good, so we (me and my manager) decided against calling an ambulance, and opted for a taxi instead. We went to the local hospital’s Emergency department. I filled out the information and waited. As I’m sitting in the waiting room, I noticed that I was starting to have difficulty swallowing. I immediately concentrated on my breathing and noticed it was a little raspy and wasn’t as easy to do anymore.

I mentioned to the very nice lady at the desk that my throat was starting to swell a bit. Within about, oh, 2 seconds, I was being taken to Emergency. A guy comes in with some pills and needles. We tell him that I’d already taken 25mg of Benedryl beforehand. He says “Well, you’re about to get some more then.” He gives me a Prednisone pill, and 2 Pepcid (because the Prednisone is hard on the stomach). He is then having a conversation with my manager about the stretchers at the hospital (we work for the company that makes them). I’m listening, but not really participating, because I’m not feeling so hot. Suddenly, and without warning, the guy (without ever even taking his eyes off my manager) stabs the needle into my shoulder.

It’s hard to explain the feeling. It wasn’t pain, exactly, but it sure as heck wasn’t peaches and lollipops either. It felt like someone punched me real good in the arm. Then, a crampy feeling started moving its way down my arm, all the way to my finger tips. It was extremely uncomfortable. Within seconds, I was a zombie. At one point, I am certain that I was sleeping with my eyes open. But the itching disappeared within about 1 second of getting the shot. The swelling in my throat and lips was gone within seconds as well. The bumps stuck around for a bit, but were noticeably better. I couldn’t walk straight when I stood up, and found myself wondering if it was dangerous to have had 6 alcoholic drinks, then following that up with a bunch of make-you-drowsy Benedryl.

Thinks were pretty fuzzy after that. I don’t know how much longer we were at the hospital. I know we got back to the hotel around 2:40am. My manager told me that I didn’t need to be at the first couple meetings and to just sleep in. I couldn’t tell you why I set the alarm on my phone anyway.

I got to my room, and my key wouldn’t work. I had to stand outside of the room, catatonic, for about 10 minutes, waiting for security to let me in. The last thing I remember was taking my shoes off. After that, everything was black. I was dog tired, but feeling great otherwise at 7am, when the alarm went off. I made it to the meetings just fine.

Before Tuesday, I had no known allergies. I still don’t know for sure what it was that triggered that reaction in me. My guess would be the crab dip stuff. From what I hear, shellfish is a common allergy for people to have, and crab is a shellfish. So… maybe. I’d only had crab one other time in my life. Sarah had some at Red Lobster, and I tried a bite. Nothing happened at the time, so… I just don’t know.

I played it off at the time, but once I felt the swelling in my throat, I was scared. Genuinely scared. I can 100% guarantee you that I will never touch seafood again (except for Sarah’s tilapia).

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4 Thoughts on “When in Rome… go to the hospital

  1. Joe's Mom on September 26, 2008 at 1:21 pm said:

    Have you ever watched the movie Hitch with Will Smith and Kevin James?
    That’s what I thought of when you were describing what was happening to you.
    If you haven’t seen it … go get it … it’s good for a sappy laugh.

  2. Yeah…. my face didn’t look NEARLY as bad as Hitch’s did! HAhah… that would have been quite comical though if it had.

  3. A Free Man on September 27, 2008 at 7:13 pm said:

    I’m amazed you’ve gotten through life so far without realizing you had a shellfish allergy! Lucky it wasn’t worse!

  4. Anonymous on September 28, 2008 at 5:16 am said:

    Joe, I wasn’t afraid to be near you, I just didn’t want to hug lumpy man in case it was contagious! Hahaha…I love you though and I’m glad you’re okay. For all of you reading this story, he looked…CRAZY. But he looked totally normal the next day, it was freaky!
    Colleen

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