A lot has happened in the 5 days since my last post. I wish I could say that it was new and exciting things but the reality is very different.
It began with my return to work on Saturday. I was on shift with a great group of people but it was an extremely busy day. I finished late but didn't mind as Tomcat was picking me up and I wasn't going to be stuck waiting for a later bus. MissD and family were coming for dinner so we raced home to get ready for their arrival. Tomcat had worked wonders on the house and everything was clean and tidy. There is nothing worse than the fear people will rock up to the house and it is a mess.
We had a wonderful evening with MissD and family. It was music to my hears to have laughter ringing throughout the house. I can safely say that the company of good friends is great therapy for my stress. It wasn't a late night because MissD has two little ones and I myself had to get up at 0530 for work the next day.
Sunday in work was another of those busy days. Initially I let things get to me, but AussieB (one of the first people I became friends with in Aus 7 years ago) took me to the side and made me sit and deep breathe until the acute stress phase stopped. AussieB was worried because the hives which had been settling were now back and all over my arms and hands. I dismissed it. At that point I had had hives for 2 weeks straight. I had become used to seeing them appear and then disappear. Antihistamines and steroids were the medications of choice but to be honest they weren't doing much. They made me feel like I was at least helping myself and getting treatment but the reality was they were doing nothing.
On Sunday evening it all changed. I was watching TV, the highly anticipated return of "The Block" but I couldn't really concentrate on it. I felt 'off'. My face started to feel tight and I noticed my lips were feeling bee stung. I looked in the mirror and my whole face, neck and lips were swelling up. I spoke to Tomcat and discovered my voice was very hoarse. I tried to clear my throat to see if it helped but it didn't. Throughout the conversation my voice was becoming more and more quiet and hoarse and my lips bigger and bigger. Tomcat drove me to the hospital and I could feel the panic rising in my chest. Would I need to be intubated to protect my airway? I text a couple of nursing friends to ask for prayer and one came to the hospital to be with Tomcat in case I had to be intubated and put on a ventilator to keep my airway open.
At the hospital they took one look at me and put me straight into resus. My oxygen saturations were dropping, my blood pressure was ridiculously high and my heart was racing. All i wanted to do was cry but I had to really force myself not to as it wouldn't help my breathing. I was given lots more medications and had a drip put in. Unfortunately I have very difficult IV access so the consultant had to do it using an ultrasound.
Everything was pointing towards an anaphylactic reaction. When they took into account the 2 week history of hives and already being maxed out on antihistamines and steroids the anaphylaxis was less likely. Plus I wasn't recovering with adrenaline. What on earth was happening to me?
I am now being investigated for a rare disorder called C1 inhibitor deficiency. It looks like I do have it but we have to wait for blood tests to come back. I also have to be reviewed by an immunologist but unfortunately they are high in demand and low in supply. If nothing else this is teaching me patience and forcing me to rest. I am back on sick leave for this week and back at home after my night in hospital.
I am sharing my story because it may help others to recognise when something is very wrong with someone. My symptoms all pointed towards anaphylaxis which is a severe allergic reaction. If anyone ever has any swelling of the mouth, nose, tongue, get help straight away.