Thursday, March 08, 2007


Suddenly, as I was chatting with a colleague at work, my right eye started to twitch. Actually, it was the lower eyelid at the outer corner. As my colleague walked away, the eyelid continued to twitch. Then, just a few seconds later, I could see something in my peripheral field of vision, something on my right lower eyelid.

I went to the bathroom to check out my eye in the mirror. There was a small soft lump filled with fluid at the outer corner of my right lower eyelid. It wasn't painful, but I could feel the pressure of it's presence, sort of sitting there, like a bug on a leaf. My eyelid continued to twitch and even as I watched the pocket of fluid continued to swell until it was about the diameter of a dime.

Good time for supper break here. Worried that my eye might attract attention, I was relieved to retreat to the staff room. In the middle of our break, eating our supper, suddenly I couldn't swallow. My throat started to spasm and I was choking and coughing. I coughed and coughed and coughed.

After what seemed like forever, I could finally breathe but I felt very very strange. My whole body felt like I'd been packed in cotton and everything looked so dark. Someone must have dimmed the lights.

As I wondered why it suddenly seemed to be so dark, the palms of my hands started to tingle. I rubbed them, but the tingling feeling persisted. I looked at the palms of my hands and they were fiery red. I had never felt anything like this before.

Even when our break was over, the palms of my hands continued to tingle, now to the point that it was unbearable, irritating, itchy. The young woman I was working with asked me how I was feeling, if I felt any better. I told her I was feeling even more strange than I had earlier. I showed her my hands. The palms were crimson, the sensation burning now. A fine red rash had spread over the back of my hands. The young woman pointed out that the red rash was on my neck and chest as well.

Finally, the penny dropped! I was having an allergic reaction! To what? I wasn't sure, but that didn't matter right now. A benadryl capsule was found. I took it.

Phew. About an hour later, I felt so much more like myself. The darkness lifted. I didn't feel strangled by cotton anymore. My hands returned to normal. But the eyelid remained puffy. The twitching disappeared, but the puffiness spread and spread.

Even the day after, ie yesterday, I looked in the mirror and hardly recognized myself. The whole area under my right eye was puffy and swollen as if I'd been in a fight.

It wasn't discoloured but looking at it I thought: "Maybe that's what I'll look like when I am really really old. That's the way my skin will sag under the eyes. Oh, it also reminds me of people who have had a stroke. If I had a stroke, maybe that's the way I'd look, one side of my face drooping like that."

Idly, I thought if I had time I'd lie down with, what is it? tea bags or cucumber slices or slices of raw potato to take the swelling down? I couldn't remember and anyhow, I was too busy all day yesterday to think about it again.

This morning, I'm happy to report that the skin under my eyes is back to normal, that is to say, it doesn't sag much more than is usual for a woman my age...



Blogger Jenn said...

Wow. That's pretty scary. Hope you carry the benedryl with you now. Random throat-closing allergic reactions are bad news.

10:18 p.m.  
Blogger Kati said...

ah well. it could have been worse. it's just a funny story to me now, but I am prepared -- plus i blame it on an antibiotic which i stopped immediately, and no further reactions. now, skin droops equally bilaterally as might be expected...

1:26 a.m.  

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