Hives, but no Bees

Ok, I’m ready to talk about the health crap I’ve been going through for the last few months. It’s not pretty, but also not lethal. Except to my mental health.

It really started at the end of March, when I came down with bronchitis. I thought it might be covid, because many of the symptoms match, so I got tested. Obviously, it came back negative, so I got on antibiotics & recovered from that.

At this point, I started working from home, since we were planning that anyway at my office, & I wasn’t the only one from my department that was going to be doing work from home. We hadn’t planned on me starting so soon, but it worked out.

Then, I got the flu about a week later. Good thing I was working from home, as I was able to log in & work when I could, without having to travel to the office, feeling like crap, & possibly infecting coworkers.

Then, a couple of days later… I started to notice hives.

Just a few spots to start, they quickly seemed to spread, until they covered most of my body in extremely itchy, raised red welts.

And I do mean covered.

As in, at least 85℅ of my body was itching, welted, or felt like it was extremely sunburned.

These are pictures I took to show my doctor. They are just of my arms, and aren’t of the worst days.

I went through 2&1/2 bottles of calamine, and was double dosing myself with antihistamines. (I can’t take anything with diphenhydramine in it, like benadryl, as it makes my heart race, so I had to take what I can)

I also ended up with chemical burns from all the calamine. It dries your skin extremely well, so well, in fact, that if you use it for 2 months, you get dry-skin burns. And believe me, they hurt. It took copious amounts of lotion to relieve and reverse this. Don’t overdo calamine, folks. Trust me.

Think of it like pouring hydrogen peroxide into an open wound. After the bubbling stops, it turns white, right? Because it’s dessicated the tissue. Dried it to oblivion.

I also found a lotion that has menthol & camphor in it, which helps to kill the itch, & makes your skin feel extremely cold in the process, which helps with the burning feeling the inflammation causes. (It’s called Sarna)

My doc put me on prednisone, to help with that, as well as another issue, & it seemed to help.

During all of this, I tried to figure out if the hives were a reaction to a medication I’d started taking for my depression, or if it was a new allergy. Joy.

I stopped taking the antidepressant, on recommendation of my doc, and my emotions went haywire again.

I stopped eating the one food I thought might have caused the allergy. (I’m extremely picky in my eating, there aren’t a lot of things it could be, anymore)

And… The hives started to go away. It took a while, but it seemed to be working.

Then, last weekend, when I had my Schnicklefritz for the weekend, I ate something I hadn’t had for a while, & the hives flared again that night.

I thought this was my answer!

I’d found the culprit, and eliminating this would stop the hives, right?

I made an appointment with an allergist, anyway, just to make sure, but I was fairly positive I had my answer.

After seeing my doc this last week, I told her my theory, & she agreed with me, that it was probably a food allergy, had nothing to do with my med, & I could start taking it again, so I did.

That was 2 days ago.

Yesterday night, I noticed a couple of hives – on my face – and some itchy, raised patches on my thighs. I treated my legs with calamine, & my face with hydrocortisone cream.

This morning…

My legs.

I can’t show you pictures of the other places I found hives, because it was the back of my scalp, & along the back of my neck. Kind of difficult to get pictures of that, but believe me, I felt every welt.

And I’m not allowed to take any antihistamines. None.

Not until after my allergist appointment – next Wednesday.

So, I have literally zero idea what’s causing the hives.

No product changes, everything I use from soap to shampoo to laundry detergent, is stuff I’ve been using for years.

There are about 4 or 5 foods that I eat right now, and none of them have caused this since I cut the last one out. (It was barbeque, both chips & sauce, which is probably going to make me very sad, because I love barbeque. It’s one of my favorite condiments)

Most of the hives have settled down again tonight. Probably from the facts that, A) I applied calamine to every affected patch of skin I could reach, except my scalp; B) I used lidocaine spray on ALL of the welts. If it’s numb, I can’t feel the itch, so I won’t scratch, which just makes spread; & C) I haven’t eaten anything all day, but one of the few meals I know for a fact has nothing in it that will affect me.


I’m frustrated.

And tired.

And depressed.

I’ve had so many problems with allergies over the years.

And now, to add hives into this?

What if the allergist can’t figure out what’s causing them?

I have enough trouble with getting people to believe me about my allergies.

I need a large change in my life.

I want to move.

And I want to get a job where I can work from my home.

I’m tired of other people pissing on my feelings, & endangering my life, because they want to eat something I’m sensitive to, something that could possibly kill me.

I’m tired of having to excuse their lapses in memory.

I’m tired of turning the other cheek when their actions impact my health.

I have an autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis, which impacts so much more than just stiffness & pain in my joints. And I’m tired of people not believing me when I tell them that, too.

I need an out.

And I need it soon.

Or my mental health is going to continue to nosedive, antidepressants or not.

November Rain

slash quote

Otherwise known as SNOW in North Dakota, this November has rained down all manner of craptasticness.

So much, all crammed into just a short space of time.

Geezus, it’s not even the 15th of the month, yet, and I’ve already broken my ankle, had more unwarranted legal drama with EldestDaughter (she has to go to court for something that the legal system didn’t update, and prove that she actually took care of something – luckily, she has all the paperwork backing her up – BUT, she still has to follow their timeline, put up with their bullshit, and probably be out the money for the lawyer because THEY CAN’T UPDATE THEIR SYSTEM) *ok, mini rant over*, and had yet another serious allergy attack due to a coworker who thinks that the office-wide emails going out about not wearing scented lotions and strong perfumes couldn’t possibly be about her. *ok, so rant just changed trains… (deep breath)*

It’s only November 13, and I’ve had it.

I’m tired of all this crap that this gawd-awful month is dishing out.  I’m through with dissolving into the exhausted tears that always seem to herald yet another THING that is kicking me in my gimp foot while I’m down.

I want a RECALL on that vote to leave this freaking month in the calendar year.

Rename the damn thing; take a few days from the month and spread them out to those that don’t have as many as the others… February could use a whole extra freaking WEEK for all I care.


Can I start a Kickstarter project for this?  Raise the money and have people sign a petition?

WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO to make this awful travesty of a man-made “month” go away??

*drops mic and hobbles off stage*



Anaphylaxis ~ or ~ How I Learned to Cherish Oxygen

I have allergies.

Some of them are fairly mild, like my hay-fever.  No big deal, I’ve learned over the years to just – deal- with these through mild antihistamines. 

Some of them, however, are serious.  As in life/death – serious.

And they weren’t always there.  I’ve had to learn how to deal with these just over the last few years.  And that makes it hard to get people to understand the nature and seriousness of my allergies.  Because they knew me before these ever hit, and can’t understand how they could get so bad, so fast.

A couple of years ago, I spent wayy too much money on an allergist, trying to find out the cause of all the problems I was having, and to see if there was a “cure” or, at least, a treatment that would knock my symptoms out… rather like treating a cold.

What I discovered… explained a lot of things in my life – which was good… but it was also completely depressing.

The allergist traced everything back to an anomaly of genetics.

Yeah, I knew I was an anomaly…

When I was born, it was unknown.  But… I have a little something extra on one of my kidneys.  An extra blood vessel that feeds the kidney, and caused at least 5 years of pain and testing on me as an adult to find it and correct it. 

I also had to have a minor surgery when I was a little girl for issues concerning my bladder.  Also treated and corrected, but stemming from the same genetic problem.

The allergist told me that many people that suffer from bladder and kidney issues, stemming from genetic, physical issues, end up allergic to latex, just as I did.  And, once the allergy kicks in… there’s no going back.  Every time you are exposed to the allergen, the reactions get a little worse, until you end up in the hospital, or possibly dead.

Latex allergy can be a skin-contact allergy only, but it can also be an “inhaled allergen” allergy, such as I have. 

Which, unfortunately, puts me into a really fun category.

Kidney and bladder issues lead to latex allergies…

Latex allergies lead to food allergies…

Things like onions, cucumbers, melons, kiwi, avocado, pineapple, bananas…

All of which I’m now allergic to.

And I don’t even have to eat the damn things to be affected.

It’s the smell of them that blocks off my throat, inhibiting my breathing to the point where I have to use a rescue inhaler just to keep my airway open.  Extreme exhaustion and severe itching on my arms, head and face, with my skin often feeling like it’s been sunburnt and slapped.

Cucumbers are probably the worst for me, as a 2-second exposure today to something in the office… closed off my airway and turned my arms a nice, blotchy red.  My voice dropped an octave and sounds like a strangled frog.  I’m completely wiped, energy-wise, and have a knock-out headache.  I don’t want to sound like I’m whining.  Really, it’s more of a wheezing… 

And it might not have been actual cucumbers.  It might just have been something cucumber-scented, as in lotion or body spray.  Doesn’t matter to my lungs.  They don’t care if it’s real or just an extract.  They snap shut the same no matter what form it takes.

There is no treatment, no cure for my most severe allergies.

The only thing I can do is try to avoid the allergens, and treat the reactions with a rescue inhaler, plus keeping epi-pens in my desk and purse for emergencies.

I’m not writing this for sympathy.

I’m not writing this to elicit pity or angry, rantish comments.

Yeah, I”m angry that some of my co-workers don’t take my allergies seriously.  They seem to think that “it’s just a little bit” makes it all better. 

Tell that to someone with a peanut allergy. 

That’s what really ticks me off. 

If this was a peanut allergy… there would be no problem with my co-workers keeping anything like that out of the office.  They would understand that, since it’s all over the news all the time about kids that suffer from them, going into anaphylactic reactions from the merest hint  of peanuts.

But, since this is something different, an anomaly, they don’t get it.  And sometimes, it seems as though they – just. don’t. care.

I want people to understand. 

Anaphylaxis is real – it’s not just for peanuts – and it’s life and death serious.

 Rant over… now back to your regularly scheduled programming…



I have been suffering from a mild form of insomnia for a long time now.

Trouble falling asleep.

Trouble staying asleep.

Trouble getting through the whole day without spacing out.

I know that I need to get more sleep, but when the time comes to go to bed, I yawn, I stretch, I find a comfortable position and snuggle up to my blankets and pillow…

And lie there, wide awake for a long time, before finally dozing off for a couple of hours.

Only to be woken up again, from a nightmare, or a noise, or just an uncomfortable shift in position.  I flip over, resituate, and try for sleep again.

To wake up a couple of hours later, yet again, even though it may be only for a brief moment, as I check the time.  If it says anything earlier than 7:00, I roll over and go back to sleep, or try to.

When the alarm goes off, I roll out of bed, exhausted and growly, rubbing the sleep from my eyes, not wanting to speak to anyone if I can help it.  Give me my Diet Coke and a couple of hours, and I’m fine – but first thing in the morning… grrr.

About 2:30 – 3ish, I hit the wall.  And maaayyybe catch a second wind somewhere a little later in the afternoon, or at least, around 9:00 in the evening. 

Barring allergies, which will make me not only exhausted, but extremely irritable and flash-tempered. 

On the weekends?  I don’t mind the insomnia, because it allows me to sit up, watching old movies, playing games, or writing.  And some of my best words happen at about 3 or 4 am on the weekends.  I get very lost in the fantasy-land in my head, where everything is slightly foggy and far-away. 

But during the week, this makes for some difficult days, struggling to just make it through till it’s time to leave for the evening.  I have to make sure and get up a few times, walk around the office, have interactions with people, just to wake up again – because after staring at the computer screen for a couple of hours, I feel like my eyes are burnt-sockets in my head.

I know the issues I face aren’t mine alone.  I know that others, friends, suffer from insomnia too.  I think part of the problem might be from SAD (seasonal affective disorder)  The lack of enough sunlight and warmth throws everything off.

But I can’t get right.  So I’ll struggle for a couple more months, fight my way out of this foggy bag of non-sleep.  And I’ll make it out the other side.

We play this game – sleep and I – every year.

It Just Doesn’t Add Up

OnlySon is failing math. 

OtherHalf and I have a meeting at the school today, to find out what can be done, so he doesn’t have to do summer school.  Cause, hellno he doesn’t want to go through the summer. 

I’m having issues with this whole subject.

See, I’m not good at math, either.  Never was.  I almost failed Algebra in high school, barely squeaking by with the lowest possible grade to get me through without my parents killing me.

I was always an A student, but this definitely was not an “A” class for me.

I’ve always said that “Math gives me a rash”

And I meant it.  So, now that I have to come down on OnlySon for his problems with Math class, I’m having trouble reconciling how to do this without being a hypocrite about it. 

Not only that, but I can’t do his math.  The schools have up and changed the math that kids do in 6th grade, and I no longer qualify to graduate to the next grade.


I’m glad I graduated in the 80’s, when expectations were lower, or I’d still be sitting in Mr. Gronvold’s class, waiting for the pervy teacher that smelled like booze to come stand over my desk and sweat on me, while asking if I “need help”. *shudder*

So, how do I tell my son that Math is an important subject, and that he has to work harder?  Well…

I told him that this is one of those things that you just have to “get through” – like the dentist visits, and immunizations, and learning to unclog a toilet.  Part of the “growing up” process that he’ll just have to deal with and work his way through, till he can throw it on the bonfire of graduation and say “YAY!  I NEVER HAVE TO DO THIS AGAIN – oh, until I get to college, and they require it there too… yeah, nevermind”.


Love the math jokes! Just can’t do the math!

Luckily, we have a resident math whiz in the house, in the personage of YoungerDaughter.  She doesn’t love math, but she doesn’t hate it, either.  And she’s pretty good at it.  So at least, when OnlySon brings his books home, she can at least look over his work, and tell us how he’s doing.  I just get hives and run to the bathroom for more calamine and an anti-anxiety pill.

I don’t know what we’re going to do when YoungerDaughter graduates next year, and OnlySon is left with two math-illiterate parents to finish out his school career.  Maybe we’ll have to get one of these:

I’ll even clean his cage – as long as it doesn’t require me to do any equations.


*Just a note – OnlySon does go to an afterschool program…supposedly to finish his homework and get help from teachers.  He’s just stubborn about asking for help with his math.  I’m not sure where this reluctance to ask for help comes from? *scratching head in puzzlement – while rolling eyes in sarcasm*