Hives. I have hives. LOTS of hives – – – the head to toe sort.
They came on the night before last – starting on my upper arms and quickly spreading to my whole arm, abdomen, back, ass, legs . . . and lastly to my neck and face. Since we all know what horrible patients nurses are – I decided to forgo a doctor appointment, opting to self-treat, instead.
I took handfuls of benadryl all day yesterday and spent the better part of the day in bed, sleeping. In between naps, I took oatmeal baths and slathered myself down with Triamcinalone ointment followed by Cedaphil lotion. Nothing was helping. I was miserable. But still held the plan to see my doctor the following day if the hives continued to persist.
Around 8:30 last night – my eyes started to itch and swell . . . and I finally made the decision to head to the ER when my throat started to swell and I was having difficulty swallowing and breathing. It takes a lot to get me into the doctors office, much less the ER – – but when Chris looked at me and said “Get your shoes on, we’re going” – – I didn’t put up a fight. “Ok”, I said.
By the time we got there, I wasn’t breathing very well at all – my throat felt like I had a huge bale of cotton stuck in it. A quick shot of Epi took care of that – – they put me on oxygen and on a heart monitor – started the IV and one vial of Pepcid, one vial of Benadryl and one vial of Solu-Medrol later . . . I was doing ok. The hives and itching still remained — but the breathing problems and light feeling of choking stopped.
They sent me home with a 5-day course of Prednisone (a corticosteroid) to help with the inflammation of the hives over the next week, and will instructions to see my regular MD in 7 days.
I have absolutely no clue what brought this on. The ER doc feels that it is an allergic reaction of some sort. Something I ate, took, touched, inhaled or came in contact with. For the life of me I cannot recall anything different over the past 2-3 days that would cause something like this. And I’ve never experienced this ever before.
Of course, my mind naturally went to my Dad who has a diagnosis of Cutaneous Lymphoma. His symptoms started out as a persistent rash that would not subside, even with medications. These days, he’s being treated once a month with UV Light treatment, via IV to “wash” his blood clear of the malignant white blood cells. The ER doc assured me that this case of hives I have is not related to what my dad has, however Cutaneous Lymphoma is genetic – – but from what I read, men get it mostly – and it skips a few generations.
Being a nurse brings along with it a certain amount of hypochondria – – a little knowledge can bring a lot of worry.
It’s better today. The hives are now only covering about 50% of my body, as opposed to the 90% from last night. It actually went away completely about an hour after the IV Solu-Medrol – – but the hives started rearing their ugly heads again at around 2am last night. So, up I was, taking an oatmeal bath at 3am and sitting up almost all night trying not to itch.
It’s enough to drive a person nuts!