Tag Archives: reactions

Is this reaction Histamine worthy?

How many of you remember the Sponge Worthy  episode from Jerry Seinfeld? The whole episode revolves around the discontinuance of the Contraceptive Sponge.  Elaine stockpiles cases of the “sponge”.  She goes to every pharmacy she can find to buy whatever is left. Then suddenly she is faced with the dilemma of whether or not her date is “sponge worthy”. Does she dare waste one of her precious sponges on him.

Recently I noticed that my vial of histamine was getting low.  I emailed an order for more. I was told that because it had been too long since I was actually seen in Dallas, I would have to return for a visit before I could get any more.   A visit to Dallas is not possible now. I am working on something else that may help me.  In the meantime, I have to decide whether or not a reaction is “histamine worthy”.  Do I try to ride out a reaction when I normally would have just given myself an injection and gone on about my day? OR Do I give myself an injection and hope I don’t have any reactions that will require histamine?

Just last week I had a reaction to someone’s cologne/perfume/whatever in my doctor’s waiting room. I went outside and was coughing and gagging so much that I disrupted the dentist in the office next door. He came outside to see if I was alright and to see if I needed any help. To my dismay I only had my inhaler and had completely forgotten to bring my histamine with me. By the time I got back into the office my usual BP of 112/70 was 149/90.  I was stuck letting myself ride out the reaction when it would have been so much nicer to have calmed my body down.

What types of situations have you been in where you have to decide if something is “sponge worthy/histamine worthy”?

A brighter smile!

I don’t know if my smile is really any brighter but at least my teeth are clean and inspected.

This morning I drove across town to my regular dentist (my biological dentist is 45 minutes away so I only use him when I need work done on my teeth).  My appointment was at 7:45 a.m.  I arrived on time and was taken into the room they use for me.  It is a little further away from the other exam rooms.  The paper guard was placed over my chest and I was told that my hygienist would be in soon.

I sat there with my mask on waiting until I had to remove it to get my teeth cleaned.  I now make it a point to go every six months even if it does make me feel bad.  If I had been going regularly the chances that I would never have had to have my molar pulled last fall would have been better.

My hygienist walked into the room and said to leave my mask on until she had everything assembled.  She told me that she had not put on any perfume and then asked another tech where the pumice they use for me (unflavored).  She made sure she was wearing latex-free gloves and began my cleaning periodically asking if I was doing okay.

Once we were done, she told me to put my mask back on until the dentist could come in and examine my teeth.  I did and sat and waited.  He walked in shortly after and started to grab gloves, another tech grabbed him quickly and reminded him that he had to use latex-free gloves and then gave him the correct box.  He also made certain to tell me that he and the entire office staff were not wearing perfumes or cologne.  Mask removed, he examined my teeth and said that they all looked fine and recommended as my other doctors have that I not remove the remaining mercury amalgams unless I have problems….no need to stir up a hornets nest he said.

Once finished I walked up to the front desk to schedule my next six-month appointment.  While she was looking for the date she told me that one of the girls had sent a text to all the office staff to remind them of wearing perfumes/cologne.

Yes my lungs hurt by the time we were done and I coughed all the way to the car and sat in the car coughing and gagging for a while before I felt okay to drive home.  But I would have been far worse without the extra special care the staff took to not expose me any more than necessary.

Do you have such a dentist?

You don’t need it, until you really need it

I have talked many times about carrying both histamine and epinephrine with me whenever I leave the house.  Taking histamine tells my body that I already have enough and it keeps me from continuing to produce more thus slowing or stopping a reaction.   Epinephrine is a last-ditch medication when all else fails.  It makes my heart race and because it has been so long since I have even used it I am not sure if I would react to it.

This morning my daughter was running late so I needed to drop my granddaughter off at preschool.  Even though it is just a ten-minute drive across town each way, I grabbed my histamine from the refrigerator.  It is a force of habit.  I came home and immediately put it back in the refrigerator.

The morning was hectic with emails, projects, and laundry.  Before I knew it the clock showed 12:30 and I was supposed to meet a girlfriend at an outdoor café for lunch followed by a trip across town for my acupuncture appointment.  I grabbed my purse, my water, my Kindle (in case I had to wait a bit at my doctor appointment), and off I went.  Lunch was nice and I was lucky because it was a very slow day and there were only two or three tables outdoors occupied.

As I left for lunch, I promised my girlfriend that I would pick her up at her house after my doctor appointment and take her to pick up her car at the repair shop.  I arrived at my acupuncture appointment on time and was taken back quickly.  I didn’t even get a chance to read when my doctor walked in and started working with me.  All was well; I relaxed as the needles did their work on my body and rested.  The timer went off and one of the medical assistants came in and removed all the needles except those in my scalp and my face.  I continued to rest while I waited my turn for the doctor to come in, remove the needles and continue to work on me.

I was calmly laying on the table as she removed the needles and kept patting at the needle sites with cotton because they were bleeding a little.  Suddenly there was moisture on my head and I felt a tickle in my throat and then I smelled it.  I smelled alcohol!  She immediately wiped it off but there is nothing that can be done once it is on me and getting into my system via the needle puncture sites.

I thought I was doing okay until I got ready to sit up and put my shoes back on after she left the room.  The coughing started, the shaking started, the dizziness came on, and a headache started.  I grabbed my purse to fish for my histamine pouch.  It was not there!  I rarely use histamine because I work on keeping myself safe and away from unnecessary triggers.  I continued to fish through my purse and found my albuterol inhaler and took a puff of it to try to calm the coughing.  My epi-pen was in my purse but the reaction was not so bad that I wanted to risk trying epinephrine with the side effect of my heart racing and the risk that I could have a worse reaction to it.

My doctor came in and helped me into a room that was free of the alcohol chemical and I just sat and shook and coughed for about 30 minutes as I waited for the symptoms to ease enough to allow me to drive home.  I also had to phone my girlfriend and tell her that I couldn’t come by for a while because I was in the midst of a reaction.

My doctor felt so bad because she knows I have a sensitivity to alcohol.  It was just standard for her to do this and she did it without thinking.  I am sure this is a mistake that won’t be made again and I know she didn’t do it intentionally.  Still, I had a reaction.

The first thing I do when I leave home is grab my histamine and yet I haven’t had to use it in a very long time.  And the one time I forget, wham I get hit and don’t have it.   I am going to have to be more vigilant.  The problem lies when I get rushed and don’t think beyond where I need to be.

Do I have another book in me?

The answer is yes.  A fellow environmentally ill friend of mine, Liz, and I are co-authoring a children’s book.  We are just in the idea stage but I think it is going to be great!

I can only draw stick people and not very well.  Liz is going to do some illustrations.  We may need to hire someone in the final part but we need to know what we want it to look like and she can draw much more than stick people.

I am very excited!

Well Said Dear Abby

I am not a regular follower of Dear Abby but occasionally the headlines capture my attention.  Today’s Dear Abby’s headline reads:  Perfume puts family in stinky mood. 

Hmm, does this sound familiar to any of you out there?  I want to thank Dear Abby’s writer, Jeanne Phillips, for her reply.  In fact, I plan on sending Jeanne an email (www.dearabby.com) to tell her how much I appreciate her response to this woman’s dilemma of her mother-in-law visiting wearing an abundant amount of perfume.  I tried scanning the article but when I do, the background shows through.  I found the article on the internet here.  I have taken the liberty of copying and pasting it directly into my post.  The title on this site is a little different from the one used in our local paper but the content is the same.  I know many of you have dealt with this first hand.  How have you handled the situation?

Visiting Mom’s Sweet Perfume Puts Household In Sour Mood

Jul  1, 2013Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My problem is my mother-in-law and her abundant use of perfume. The last time she visited, it was so bad we had to open our windows to air out the rooms. (This was in January in Minnesota.)

My husband addressed the problem with her when I was pregnant, but now that the baby is here she’s back to her old habits.

We are all sensitive to perfumes and get headaches when exposed to it. When she visits, we can’t get away from the smell. I don’t wear perfume, but was always told that perfume is to be discovered, never announced. However, when I say that around her, she dismisses it.

What’s the proper etiquette in addressing the perfume cloud that surrounds her? — THE NOSE KNOWS

DEAR NOSE: I receive complaints about perfumes almost daily. Perfume in abundance can cause serious allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to it. And when they are exposed to it in enclosed places (elevators, airplanes, houses with storm windows, gymnasiums, etc.), it can cause real problems.

Your mother-in-law should be reminded again that her perfume is causing headaches and asked to please not use it around you. Depending upon how old she is and her sense of smell, she may not realize she is using as much as she is.

Women’s perfumes and men’s after-shave lotions and colognes can also cause problems at the gym. When people who are exercising begin to sweat, the smell can become overpowering and a nuisance to others. Scents that were applied the day before can turn rancid, so a shower before working out would be considerate if this could be you.



A high school friend of mine recently became involved in the care of one of her best friends.  This friend has developed Alzheimer’s/dementia at an early age from a brain injury.  I saw photos of her first visit with her dear friend and then photos after a few days of her visiting and working her magic.  The photos were like night and day.  Her friend is truly blessed by this kind of love and friendship.  It made me think about my own life and my role as a caregiver and the reversal of that role.

My husband became my caregiver when I couldn’t get out of the house to shop for myself.  He was there when a reaction was so great that I was too sick to give myself my own histamine injection and sat in bed chilled to the bone.  He was the one rushing me to the emergency room at all hours of the day or night.

This was so difficult to accept because I had lived the caregiver role most of my adult life taking care of my daughters, seeing to what my husband and family needed, and tending to them when they were sick.  What a reversal of roles my life took on.

In a poem that I have included in my book, I wrote:

Who Am I?

The mother I once was who could do things

for her daughters can now barely do

for herself

The wife and helpmate can

hardly help herself

To my husband and family I say thank you for all you have done to help me.  Knowing that I had the support of my family has helped me through the toughest of times. To all those out there who are caregivers of someone with chronic illness I say thank you.  You are making a tremendous impact on their lives by giving of yourselves.  Today is a good example of the support he gives me.  I picked my daughter up at work and drove her to town so she could do some errands and then was supposed to drop her off at a doctor’s office for a procedure.  The plan was that I would drive home, wait for the call to pick her up, drive her to her house 45 minutes away, and then drive myself back home.  Before I got her to the doctor’s office my stomach began cramping.  It was so bad by the time I got her there that I had to give myself histamine and I was clammy and my legs felt both heavy and limp.  I had to phone my husband to drive across town and pick me up and leave my car there.  He will take me back to get the car when she is ready to be picked up.  The cramping has stopped (while my stomach still burns).  So which one of us is driving her home?  I am not sure I still have anywhere from an hour to two hours before I will probably get the call.  I am not sure if it is a stomach bug because this happened a few days ago and then went away, if it was an exposure to something triggering it, or if it is something that I ate.  I guess that question may never be answered.

To those out there who, like I, have had the role of caregiver reversed on them I say hang in there.

Paying the price for a good time.

Is knowing you might not feel well worth the price to pay for a good time?  Last night members of my graduating class were getting together outdoors.  I knew there would be perfumes, etc.  There was a good breeze going so I thought I would okay.  I didn’t attend my tenth reunion choosing to wait until my 20th.  I didn’t have as much fun as I thought I would have then.  I was overweight and wearing braces on my teeth.  I vowed that by the 30th, I was going to go and have a good time.

Then my exposure at work changed that.  I have missed the last two reunions and reunion pre-parties.

I managed well enough with some of the fragrances (or so I thought) because the breeze (ok it was more windy than breezy) was keeping the worst of it away from me.  Then towards the end of my evening, the cigars came out.  I was fine as long as everyone was behind me and the wind carried the smoke away but when everyone changed spots the wind carried it right to me.  I immediately grabbed my charcoal mask, finished my conversation, and decided it was time to leave.  By the time I got home, my chest was uncomfortable, my eyes were itching and burning and I just didn’t feel well.  I took Vitamin C, put drops in my eyes and eventually gave myself a histamine injection and went to bed.

This morning my eyes are still a little itchy, my brain is a little off kilter, my arm muscles are aching (but they were a little achy yesterday before I went) and my legs just plain hurt.

Knowing what I know would I have attempted to go?  Yes!  It was wonderful seeing friends from high school (some I hadn’t seen since the 20th reunion and some I hadn’t seen since high school graduation).  I may have tried to stay further away from everyone and visit from afar but that wasn’t any fun.  So, I am resting and letting my body calm down today.

I learned while visiting with a classmate that she can’t tolerate gluten, is lactose intolerant and the fragrance department in stores cause confusion.  I do not like to hear that others suffer with similar sensitivities.  No matter how severe the sensitivity, their lives have been impacted much as mine has been impacted.  I promised to share my blog and information I have gained about gluten intolerance and celiac disease.  So while I am under the weather today, I was able to touch someone with my story and in turn learn of hers.

Have you chosen to participate in an activity (indoors or out) knowing you my not feel well after?  Was it worth it to you?