My head has been exploding at random times
Advice ranged from "maybe you should call your doctor" to "get to the emergency room! Now! Right away! Before your throat closes up and you go into anaphylactic shock!" My bright idea was to take an antihistamine, but no one could find any. Finally we came up with a couple of Benadryl. I took them and sat in the clinic holding my ice packs until the whole itchy-burning-redness thing calmed down, which it did about 20 minutes later.
I called the frozen organic dinner people, not to complain, just to check if anyone else had had something like that happen, and they confirmed that there was no MSG in the dinner, and clucked and were very sympathetic and nice about it and sent me some free coupons. I called my GP and my dermatologist and left messages, and they both called back and essentially said "Huh. Weird. But you're okay now? Well, let us know if it happens again. And carry Benadryl around."
It happened again the next day. Right after lunch. This time lunch was homemade French onion soup with croutons and Swiss cheese. (I made it, I was very proud of myself for actually cooking, but see where it got me!) This time I jumped up as soon as I felt it start--a kind of tight, itchy sensation around the ears and eyebrows--and took two Benadryl, and those little pink numbers pounded it down before it got to the ice-pack stage.
Theories abounded: I was allergic to the staff room. To the microwave. To some unidentified spice that was present in both lunches. To some medication or other. To cheese. To soy. I did controlled experiments over the next several days: sitting in the staff room without eating; eating something unheated; microwaving something that I'd had at home the day before; eating cheese; eating soy. I made a doctor's appointment; she listened to my symptoms and said, "Huh. That's weird. Let me know if it happens again and I'll refer you to an allergist." My co-workers began to perk up every time I came in for lunch, anticipating more excitement. Nada.
About a week later, I took Mermaid Girl out for dinner at the Dragon Restaurant, a cheapo steam-table Chinese joint that we both love and RW hates. I was just starting in on my General Tso's Chicken and Sezhuan Tofu when Mermaid Girl announced she had to pee. Fine. We went to the bathroom together. She's just starting to be able to go into the stall by herself, so she promptly locked herself in and took her sweet time. I heard vague rustling noises. A shoe dropped to the floor. I nagged her to get out. She insisted she wasn't done.
Then... I felt it start again. That burning feeling. That rising panic. "Out!" I howled. "You have to get OUT! NOW! WE HAVE TO LEAVE RIGHT AWAY!" Because of course I didn't have any Benadryl with me, and I was afraid that if it got too bad I wouldn't be able to drive us home.
Mermaid Girl whined. She complained. She dragged her feet and cried that I was bossy and mean and she wasn't even DONE yet, as I rubbed her hands together under the faucet and dragged her out of there, and asked for a to-go container (unable even in that extremity to let yummy Chinese food go to waste), and shoved her into her booster seat. I drove home on side streets, just in case I was too wigged out to be safe with other cars.
When we got home I took two bennies and explained a little more coherently about what was going on, and apologized for scaring her (because of course she was scared), but noted that sometimes there is an emergency, like a fire drill, and I have to be bossy to keep us safe. She finished her sesame chicken, I called the restaurant to check about ingredients (no MSG, again) and things were basically okay.
Then, nothing for over a week. Even after we went to the Dragon restaurant again (for takeout, this time).
Then three episodes this week, all at work, two of them hours away from any food ingestion at all. The latest one was yesterday and was so bad that even with two Benadryl it took over an hour for the redness to fade completely, and I was spaced out from the antihistamine for the rest of the afternoon and did a rotten job with my classes.
I have an allergist appointment for next Tuesday. I've never been allergic to anything in my life before and have no idea what this is. It is the weirdest thing, and more than a little scary.
At least none of the episodes has involved anaphylactic shock. And I don't appear to be allergic to Chinese food. I don't think I could stand that.