Home > Family, Friends, Health > Blessed


I went into anaphylactic shock Tuesday. I immediately chewed two Benadryl, an act I was informed possibly saved my life.

Two tiny tablets. Imagine that.

I think I know what caused the reaction. I will be able to confirm later this month, and be eating from a “safe foods” list of about ten items in the meantime.

But I think there’s something bigger here, too. Something I intuited but didn’t understand in the throes of panic Tuesday.

I am blessed.

I have Benadryl.

I have my brother-in-law, who advised me well. He is not a doctor yet, but he will be an amazing one someday.

I have Auntie Elsha and Uncle Dave, who dropped their evening plans to take care of Li’l D while I went to the hospital.

I have the grandmas, who came over to stay with me and Li’l D in case I had to go back to the hospital.

I have Anthony, who I found scrubbing the fridge and removing all possible culprit foods in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

I have my friend Emily, whose ferocity borne of love fills me with a sense of safety.

I have you, who left inspiring words of support on a post I wrote from the hospital.

I have knowledge of what an allergic reaction looks like, now.

I have support.

I have life.

I am blessed.

  1. January 17, 2013 at 4:58 am

    Wow. You are definitely blessed. I have heard great things about Benadryl before and I keep meaning the get a small pack to carry around.

    • January 17, 2013 at 5:43 am

      Up until now, I only ever kept Benadryl on hand for occasional help sleeping. It boggles my mind that one tiny pink pill can do so much good.

      • January 17, 2013 at 6:57 am

        Awww friend. So glad you’re okay. So, so glad. We don’t go anywhere without it because of our severe allergies. But we do forget to bring the EPIPEN. Gosh, I’m just glad you’re okay.

        • January 17, 2013 at 6:08 pm

          I am glad to report I got a prescription for an EPIPEN today. It’all take away a little of the anxiety about inadvertently opening another allergy gift box (as it were).

  2. January 17, 2013 at 5:09 am

    Wow Deb, you have an amazing attitude/spirit. As I wrote yesterday– been there, done that…and I know how very scary anaphylactic shock is. It feels as life-threatening as it truly is. It’s no surprise that you have such a wonderful network of people who love and care for you- you inspire love, giving and gratitude — as evidenced by your blog posts!
    Benadryl is good– I’m sure you’re already seeking an epi-pen.
    xo to you!

    • January 17, 2013 at 5:52 am

      I’d heard about anaphylaxis, but I’d always imagined it as clinically as it was described. Never again! It was like drowning without water. I hope I will only remember it in the future, versus ever getting a refresher.

      I think I could stand to be more like the folks I mention here. As an introvert, I can be more prickly than I’d like about having a lot of quiet time. One big thing I’m taking from all of this is that, while quiet time is great, other things–people–are so much the better. I was describing my BIL to a man at the hospital–specifically how he ALWAYS picks up the phone–when the man said, “The world needs more people like that.” It struck me then that I want to be more like that. This is, in a way, a reminder to myself, and one I hope I heed day in and days out in all my days to come.

      Many thanks for your lovely words, Shari. Much love.

  3. January 17, 2013 at 5:32 am

    Deborah, I am so sorry this happened to you, but so thankful you had the Benadryl and people to help you. I’m so glad you’re all right.

    • January 17, 2013 at 5:53 am

      Thank you. I think of my mom raising four kids by herself and it just makes me so much more appreciative that these die fell the way they did.

  4. January 17, 2013 at 6:28 am

    Oh, Sweet Mother of Pearl. Just about passed out reading the opening line. So glad you’re okay, lady!

    • January 17, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      Thanks, Tori! I woke up super early and spent most of the day groggy, but you know what? It was a fine day!

  5. January 17, 2013 at 6:31 am

    Lucky? Smart? Blessed? I check all of the above. They will be able to narrow down the culprit pretty quickly. Until then you have foolproof aid to keep yourself from eating the stuff on the “no” list. Is it worth my life?????

    Glad you are such a smart lady and are safe.

    • January 17, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      I only wish I could know absolutely what I’m allergic to, you know? I never, ever want to experience that again, but I am a little nervous about accidentally finding another trigger, but I will do my best with what I have. Based on the last couple of days, I should he able to tell just by touching a food to the tip of my tongue and giving it a few minutes. Not foolproof, but certainly better than just diving in!

      • January 17, 2013 at 6:07 pm

        Can’t they do skin tests?

        • January 18, 2013 at 5:09 am

          They did a 20ish-allergen skin test a couple of weeks back. That showed only a mild allergy to grass and a milder allergy to dogs. It also showed that, according to the allergist, I am sensitive to everything. Sensitivities are non-histamine bodily responses that can also be dangerous, but in a more gradual way. I shared a pic of the original test here: https://deborah-bryan.com/2013/01/06/godevolution-food-flying-monkeys-and-the-burden-of-proof/

          I will be going back for more testing later this month. Unfortunately, since you have to be off antihistamines for five days before taking those tests, I needed to push that out a little. Fortunately, I do have a game plan, support and medicine (as fallback) in the interim!

          • January 18, 2013 at 6:07 am

            Good luck with it. What a nuisance!

  6. January 17, 2013 at 7:14 am

    Amen. And for the record, even on your bad days – you still have all of the above.

    • January 17, 2013 at 6:09 pm

      So, so true. On Tuesday I was looking at what I felt like I had lost, but there is so much more I have enduringly. ❤

  7. January 17, 2013 at 7:39 am

    How thankful we all are for Benadryl, and for you. Thank you for sharing this post filled with gratitude! Blessings, Gina

    • January 17, 2013 at 6:10 pm

      Blessings to you, too, and thanks for your knack for bringing lots of smiles with a sprinkling of words! Love it.

  8. January 17, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Oh, my. Been there, and I don’t ever want to go back. So glad you have your team to take care of things for you.

    • January 17, 2013 at 6:12 pm

      Me too. I feel like it’s a repeat of remembering to actually see Sai. I feel like this reminded me both to look and to see. I am so grateful.

  9. January 17, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Jeez Deb! I had a feeling you were hinting at something in that last post. Crazy how these food sensitivities can begin just like THAT. *snaps fingers* Thank goodness you are okay, and you kept your head about you. I am not surprised you have good peeps in real life, too.

    • January 18, 2013 at 4:43 am

      I didn’t mean to hint anything, actually, truly just to seek some guidance; I didn’t intend to write about the experience here at all, but I got to writing in my private journal and realized just how freakin’ lucky I am. I decided that is always worth writing about, even if the vulnerability aspect is rough to address. I still hate admitting that I am vulnerable, having spent my life in search of strength, but now I am seeing the merit of recognizing them. Not recognizing them is dangerous.

      My doctor said that, for women, it’s common to go through two sets of allergy/sensitivity changes tied to hormones: one around middle age, and once again at menopause. She said various other factors contribute as well, but that’s usually the key one. I had no idea whatsoever! It does shed light on why I started feeling run down some months ago. I was starting to have sensitivity (non-histamine) responses to bunches of foods I’d never had/noticed a problem with before.

      My offline peeps are so amazing, I sometimes wonder why I spend so much time online. It’s a lot less now than, say, six months ago, but I want to see them more . . . even if I have to sit in traffic two hours each way to do it. I miss them. I miss their hugs. I miss the goodness of just sitting with then and watching their expressions as they talk.

      • January 18, 2013 at 7:29 pm

        I learned about new sensitivities just like you. So weird, these hormones of ours. We get used to things one way, and then it is time to switch things up again. Like Rosanna Rosanna Danna always said: “If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”

        I’m just so glad you are okay.

        And yay you for making more time for real life!

  10. January 17, 2013 at 8:58 am

    I’m happy to hear that you’re okay. Not happy to hear that you have to deal with severe food allergies. To echo what others have already said, you are blessed to have a deeply knit circle of love. I think it was sweet of Anthony to scrub the fridge to prevent a future outbreak.

    • January 18, 2013 at 4:31 am

      I so hope it’s just the one allergy coupled with a lot of sensitivities. Sensitivities can do a lot of damage, too, but it’s cumulative and over a long period of time, which means a chance to change. I much prefer that! And that image of Anthony will be with me for a long time to come. It was such a sweet, sleepy discovery.

  11. January 17, 2013 at 9:19 am

    So happy to hear you’re okay and that you’re tracking down the culprit. You have an amazing circle of people around you, which doesn’t surprise me because your ability to provide that same support and love shines through every word you write.

    • January 18, 2013 at 4:45 am

      Thank you so much for this beautiful comment! I got something in both my eyes reading it. ♥

  12. January 17, 2013 at 9:57 am

    So glad you survived. Benadryl was my safety drug as a child, but I’ve also been to the ER a couple times as an adult due to allergic reaction. You are blessed with love.

    • January 18, 2013 at 4:48 am

      So, so blessed. I have an urge write now to email every single friend I haven’t seen for months and set up brunch, but I think I should probably mark that down for a week or two down the road. We still have so much to move from the old place, not to mention just getting ourselves settled in the new one! But after that, it is time to reinstate my tradition of Sunday brunch with friends.

      • January 18, 2013 at 8:59 am

        That’s interesting, we’ve also been doing that once a month for years, until my husbands heart surgery last fall, but I’ve been thinking it time to get back to it too. Wishing you the best!

  13. Donnell Jeansonne
    January 17, 2013 at 11:18 am

    So sorry that happened. It is a blessing to have a great support system. I hope you can pinpoint the problem foods so that you don’t have another allergic reaction. On the days it becomes difficult to adhere to a strict diet, remember first your health and secondly that there are people who need you and want you to be well. And that you’ll feel your best, also. Prayers for you.

    • January 18, 2013 at 4:54 am

      I’m suspicious of olives/olive oil at this point and will be sticking to the not very allergenic sunflower oil when I get out of the reactive zone I’m in now thanks to the first reaction. (I googled “least allergenic foods” for that. Thank goodness for Google! When my mom had to find information to help any of us feel better, it involved lots of long research at a library. But I digress!)

      Thank you so much for your well wishes. You are absolutely right. As long as I have my health, I am here to enjoy so many other wonders, like just sitting here typing out comments on my phone and thinking about how much love there is in this world, even between people who have never yet physically met.

  14. January 17, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Such a scary post to read. I’m so glad you’re okay, friend.

  15. January 17, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Wow – you are DEDICATED! No way I would’ve been posting, after something like that, while in the hospital.
    You are truly amazing. And just a bit crazy. Explains why we get along so well…… 😉

    • January 18, 2013 at 4:58 am

      Not so much “dedicated” as terrified! Typing out that post gave me an out to focus on something other than terror. It felt good and proactive, versus terrifying and reactive, as I sat and waited to pick up my prescriptions and leave. That was even before the wonderful responses, which it will take me forever to reply to. That itself is a blessing. 🙂

  16. January 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Very scary… glad you’re okay! Off to restock my purse with Benadryl.

    • January 18, 2013 at 5:04 am

      It’s my intention never to leave home without it again! I feel like a Benadryl rep right now, but it honest to goodness fills me with awe that such things exist in this world.

  17. January 17, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    I am beyond glad that you are ok. I have been seeing that you have posted, but the blogger/wordpress thingy has been denying me access to your posts. Today it has (but I know from experience it will not allow me to backtrack). Hiss and spit.
    I really, really hope that the dangerous foods are quickly indentified and you can go back to having a life, rather than an existence.
    Sending healing wishes from Oz.

    • January 18, 2013 at 5:11 am

      Thank you so much. Now that I am out of the ER, I am back to feeling it’s life. I only have to be on my super restricted diet until further allergy testing later this month. Then I get to go back to the Elimination Diet, which is sure to feel gloriously expansive by then. 😀

  18. January 17, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Anaphylactic shock is no joke, and is scary. We watched Jade go through this due to eating a walnut and I think it was the most scariest thing we have experienced so far.
    Glad you are doing well, and you had Benadryl on hand. I hope they give you the answers you deserve and your life gets back on a normal track of eating soon.

    • January 18, 2013 at 5:16 am

      That’s something I have thought about a lot since: Li’l D. I would never want to experience anaphylaxis again, but I would experience it 100 times over if doing so would prevent Li’l D from experiencing it once.

      I lost consciousness for a couple of days after I had one of my childhood vaccinations. My mom always spoke about it matter of factly because it was so long past, but I can’t help but shudder at how terrible that must have been for those days. (Happily, they adjusted that vaccine so there aren’t many extreme reactions to it these days.)

  19. January 17, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Oh jeez, Deb! I’m so glad you had the means and the knowledge to ride this out, not to mention your great support system. I hope you figure out exactly what’s wrong (and get to eat more than 10 foods again – yikes) soon.

    • January 18, 2013 at 5:19 am

      Thanks, Peg! Just a couple more weeks on this and a few more on the Elimination Diet and I can start bringing in one small test food every three days! Whatever I don’t respond to gets to go back in my diet. Yeah!

  20. January 17, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Oh, my Deb. I am so glad you are all right. Going to go check my benadryl supply now…

    • January 18, 2013 at 5:21 am

      I am honestly tempted to get a Costco membership just so I can stock up in bulk! There would be other advantages, I hear, even if I have to go shopping (yuck!) to obtain them. 🙂

  21. January 17, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    How scary! I’m so glad you’re ok. I’ve had severe (food) allergies my whole life, and I relate to the restrictions and the immense feeling of being blessed that both come with the lifestyle changes. All the best to you in your journey in this– I hope you can expand your “safe” list soon!!

    • January 18, 2013 at 5:23 am

      One thing I noticed midday yesterday was that I was starting to feel . . . clean, somehow. Like my body is breathing a sigh of relief and thanking me for treating it well. There is so much good in that, even if I wish I had come to it via an alternate path!

  22. January 17, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Jinkies! So glad you’re okay. Keeping you in my thoughts. xoxo

    • January 18, 2013 at 5:24 am

      Thank you, Chris. I am overwhelmed by the words of support and love here!

      • January 18, 2013 at 7:04 am

        I actually don’t remember leaving this comment… I wonder if Karin left it from my computer and it automatically used my log-in. Not that I disagree with the sentiment… I just don’t usually use kisses and hugs at the end of my comments. But because I totally agree with the statement, I’ll allow it. 🙂

  23. January 17, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    So glad everything is okay, I’m anxious to find out what caused it. Scary stuff–hugs to you, Deb!

    • January 18, 2013 at 5:27 am

      Thank you! Part of my next visit to the allergist will be to bring in the ingredients of the meal that triggered me. It seems they’re able to make on-the-spot skin tests, so I should have an answer then, and insight into any additional allergies as well.

  24. Sheri
    January 17, 2013 at 8:49 pm

  25. January 17, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Oh my goodness, I am so glad you had that Benadryl and acted quickly! Wow, I am just so very happy you are ok!

    • January 18, 2013 at 5:33 am

      Thanks, Christine! Overall as a result of the Elimination Diet, I am feeling better by the day, with the one glaring exception. After two weeks on it, I am much more able to tell when I am having a sensitivity reaction to food *and* environmental factors, instead of just feeling generally run-down with no clue as to why. And, as a bonus, I am just nine pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight! I was a little concerned about the rapidity of weight loss, but my doctor isn’t so now I’m not. Silver linings. 🙂

  26. January 18, 2013 at 4:17 am

    Wow, that is so scary. So glad for the Benadryl and that you are okay. 😦

  27. Pam
    January 18, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Frightening experience – I carry an epi-pen for wasps and an increasilngly disconcerting allergy to bell peppers. I sure hope that the culprit is routed out soon – I am glad you are narrowing it down, and I hope your suspicions are correct so that you have some measure of peace. All the best to you. Pam

    • January 19, 2013 at 5:11 am

      Thank you, Pam! I felt better yesterday than I have in some time, so I am hopeful for what’s ahead.

  28. January 18, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Good lord! sooooo relieved you are all right now.

    • January 19, 2013 at 5:13 am

      Thanks, Darla! I am sure glad to be as well, although it occurs to me I failed to pick up my EPIPEN yesterday. With what I am eating, I would be surprised if I needed it. 🙂

  29. January 18, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Blessed, blessed thankfully blessed. Supported, loved and thankfully blessed. Deb I am so glad you are surrounded by those who will care for you and your family. I am so thankful you had Benadryl handy. Please, please get some epi-pens, they are life-savers. I am thankful you are okay right now and narrowing down the problems, I wish I could be there to help you.

    • January 19, 2013 at 5:15 am

      Just reading your words instills a heightened sense of security and peace in me; to my heart, it is if you are right here, and I am thankful. ♥

  30. January 18, 2013 at 11:47 am

    You have an evolved sense of self that allows you to recognize your blessings, my friend. Be well.

  31. Miranda Gargasz
    January 21, 2013 at 7:10 am

    Our bodies are so weird. I’m 39 (shortly) and have always had a mild sensitivity to walnuts. I’d eat them and my mouth would feel a little scratchy. The other day I ate a piece of nut roll, something I’ve loved all my life, and thank God for Benadryl. It felt like I’d chewed on razor blades and my entire mouth and throat broke out in tiny, itchy, red bumps. So glad you had the big B when you really needed it! What a life saver, indeed!

  32. January 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Deb! I’m so glad you’re okay!! I’ve been totally out of the loop for a awhile, but I do think of you and my blogging buddies often. I’m going to have to read some of your past posts to find out what’s been going on with you. Take care of yourself and continue to glow in the warmth of having so many people who love and care about you. 🙂 🙂 (((HUGS!!!)))

  33. January 28, 2013 at 10:31 am

    I’m so glad you’re ok. How scary!

  1. January 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm
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