Creeping Crud

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!

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12 thoughts on “Creeping Crud”

  1. my sympathies! I had to sit up with my son keeping him from scracthing hives. Fortunately, we knew what caused it and stopped it before progressing too far. Hope you feel better soon.

  2. I told you not to eat yellow snow… seriously though that is scary shit perhaps the additional stress from the business made you a little more seceptable. Hope you get to feeling better soon, try emercing your self in a good book or the discovery channel, I always found that helped while trying to ignore itches.

  3. Very serious post, handled charmingly. Being a sufferer of some serious allergies, it sounds like a serious allergic reaction. A visit to an allergist could, if not identify the exact allergen, rule out a list of the most common. They just do a little scratch test on the arm. All the best to you.

  4. Oh my gosh sweetie! Do you think it could be stress? After looking at your last post and everything you are trying to do that would not surprise me at all. My friend ran into this and it was stress. Maybe try some sort of mediation, yoga or breathing exercises to help you relax. Or listen to some classical music or an ocean waves CD every night or something. It couldn’t hurt.

  5. Yes sometimes that nursing knowledge does get our imagination running away with us…I am so sorry to hear about what you are dealing with. The good news is you will be hyper with the steroids if you can get past the other problems. You were having a very big allergic reaction it sounds and I’m glad Chris was home…and not away on business. Take care my friend….oh could we have pictures…..hehehehe

  6. Oh, man, what a night! I had nervous hives for six months once. I’d start hiving at sundown, and only benedryl every 4 hours kept them at bay at night.

    Other things that help:

    Vinegar compresses. Put cool water in your tub and pour a lot of vinegar in the water. Dab straight vinegar onto a cloth and compress the itchiest places. This helps a lot more than oatmeal, I found.

    Most topicals don’t help, but sometimes some capsasin-based cream can do a bit of help. Don’t get any around your eyes, and if you have to apply it yourself, wear gloves or wash your hands extra carefully.


  7. It was probably the Starbucks. :mrgreen:

    Hope everything keeps going well for you, Lisa! As somebody with tons of allergies (and who gets those wonderful shots monthly) I can understand some of the fear, and I’m darn glad Chris got you to the ER when he did!

  8. My wife a few months ago starting having random reactions to things. Turns out in the past year she’s developed what is often called an environmental allergy to chemicals, Odors, cleaners, anything fragranced or having any kind of chemical at all.

    Instant major headache, hives, throat swelling. It’s become quite a problem.
    I hope you get to feeling better. Allergies suck anyways, but when you aren’t even sure what brought it on it’s kind of frightening.

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