Take my breath away
Nothing like the remembrance of things past, to pull you out of a writing coma. But hello to you all, I’m alive and breathing, and also, writing. I’m still fond of commas, beware.
Arriving home on a Tuesday morning in a taxi at dawn, after a night of public vomiting, feeling woozy, clutching an unmarked brown paper bag containing five small blue pills, could at once, seem like a night out well spent. Or, on the other hand, signal the return home, after another night in a crowded emergency ward in the midst of a global pandemic, hooked up to a drip after an unexplained anaphylactic episode, that again, took my breath away.
To back up a little, it was early March, and in Stockholm there had been a sudden burst of unseasonably warm weather. Everyone got excited at the thought of putting away their winter boots, spring was in the air. And possibly, grass pollen was also in the air, being commanded to stand to attention as the temperatures rose. We’d eaten dinner and I’d started to feel unwell, so I went to bed very early.
Feeling progressively worse, around 9pm, I pulled myself out of bed and went down six flights of stairs to see if the Swede agreed that what I’d seen in the mirror, was true. That I’d developed hives all over my face, neck and chest and that the swelling/puffiness around my neck, could no longer be explained as just being corona comfy.
“I don’t feel good,” I said, showing him the evidence on my upper body. “You don’t look good,” he said, I could see the shock in his eyes. “Where are your tablets?” he asked at once. We went up to the kitchen and found all the tablets I needed and I took them, but could feel the change in my throat. “I’m not going to the hospital!” I wheezed. “I think you need to go to the hospital.” “I think I’ll just go to bed.” “I think you really need to go to the hospital”. “Nup, I’m going to bed.” “Nup, I’m calling the medical hotline.” With the kids asleep, this was a classic tête-à-tête between The Swede and I, with him trying to convince me to go to hospital, and me using my last breath to debate the fact. I was feeling none too hot, but hotter every minute.
He came into the bedroom and relayed the message I did not want to hear, “They said you have to go to the hospital, I’m calling an ambulance.” “Nup, I’ve got a better idea; call an Uber!
And so very late on Monday night, still 50% in my pyjamas, the Swede ushered me into an Uber and instructed the driver to drive fast. And he did.
We arrived in a few minutes, and once I was corona-cleared, I was wheeled into emergency where upon I immediately started vomiting. I was in a none-too-good state, which gained me lots of attention. But soon enough, they had me hooked up to this and that, and within a few hours, I had stabilised. In the wee hours of the morning, I was over it. The sounds, the smells, the people screaming, the fluorescent lights, the questions of what I’m allergic to and could paprika on the sweet potato chips I’d had for dinner, really have the potential to kill me? The people yelling at nurses saying they refused to take the mandatory corona antibody test because they had already taken it, the nurses yelling back saying they knew full-on well that the said person had never taken the test because it wasn’t in their records. So, when the head doctor came over for another check-up, I said, “I’m feeling better now and can breathe, unless you honestly think I’m going to die, just release me now and I promise to God, if I feel 1% worse, I will come straight back. I know the Uber guy.” She smiled and took pity on me and agreed to release me on those terms.
I arrived home as another day was starting. I took my blue pills, crept into bed, thanked my lucky stars, swore I’d never eat another sweet potato, and slept. And slept.
Oh, but don’t let my unexplained anaphylactic tale of woe put you off, I spent the week recovering at the most beautiful cabin in the woods; we had pre-booked for school holidays. And it was heaven. The Swede took care of most things, I just moved from the living room to our bedroom and did nothing else other than get my strength back, and breathe.
*Epi pen at the ready, we did debate the decision to go and stay in a pollen-infested forest, but in the end, still went. It wasn’t even connected to mains, doubt the Uber guy would have found me. Totally worth it, though.
Love reading about me nearly dying? Feel free to read this.