Broken Me

MCMSaturday, June 12, 2010

Midway through Thursday morning, I disappeared from the world for about 48 hours without any notice whatsoever. I had stories to post, chapters to finish and edit, and lots of meetings to attend, but I did none of it. What follows is my "dog ate my homework" post.

I have what is known as idiopathic anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a major allergic reaction, where (in my case) my body breaks out in hives, I swell up, I can't breathe, get unbearable chills, and I generally feel like crap. Idiopathic means it's stupid. Wait, no, it means nobody knows why it happens.

Thursday started pretty much as usual, answering emails, tidying up things I'd left half-done a few hours earlier when I'd gone to sleep. I ate breakfast, started about my day, and then at around 10am, I started feeling funny. I got chills like I was suffering a very bad fever. My skin was over-sensitive, and my muscles were aching. I thought I had caught a very nasty bug somewhere, so I took some Tylenol and tried to take a nap to burn it off. Unfortunately, it wasn't better when I woke up. It was worse.

The dangerous part about Anaphylaxis is that it can make your windpipe swell shut, and you end up dying. For that reason, I have to carry two Epi-Pens and a boatload of Benadryl with me wherever I go. But the trick is that I have to recognize I'm having an allergic reaction, and in this case, I had no hives, no swelling on my face, so I had no idea what I was dealing with. When I woke up and my chest was tight, it suddenly occurred to me what was wrong. I took Benadryl, kept my Epi-Pens close, and waited. I'm very aware I was lucky that things didn't go worse than they did.

I spent a long time that night waking up shivering like mad, despite the fact that I had several layers of all sorts of things on. But I didn't have a fever. It's a very odd feeling to have. If it weren't for my teeth chattering and the fact that I looked two inches from death, I don't think anyone would have believed I was sick.

The Benadryl knocked me out for the better part of 24 hours, as it is wont to do, and when I woke up late Friday, I still wasn't really alert. It's the thing about treating these attacks: you may not be in danger anymore, but your internal chemistry is so screwed up you feel like a zombie. I basically remained zombified until this morning (Saturday) when I've been getting back on my feet and taking stock of the things I didn't do while I was out.

I know I wrote a few messages on Twitter, and probably a few emails here and there. If I made any sense, you're lucky. Benadryl kicks me in the head on the best of days, but when it's actually fighting a pitched battle like it was, it makes me positively loopy. If you ever see me writing something horribly absurd on Twitter, that's probably why. Well, either that or I'm talking to Piers.

All of this is to say: I'm very behind on a lot of things. Tori's Row missed the first chapter of Act 3 on Friday because I was zonked, so it will come out Monday instead. I'm two days behind on Keys to the Kingdom, and I think it will be at least until tomorrow before I can resume. 1kStories will be similarly delayed. I have a ton of missed meetings and project updates I need to get done first.

I've only had this Anaphylaxis thing for a year now, and even though I thought I had it figured out, apparently I don't. Life's never boring, I guess. Or something.

So yes. Please excuse the lack of updates over the past few days. It wasn't planned. I will file a complaint with my body's administration as soon as possible, and warn them to schedule all future attacks at least 60 days in advance.

Thank you, and good night.

Or afternoon. I can't tell anymore.

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