The Tongue Gave Me Hives

Posted on Oct 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

I have allergies.  Pretty bad allergies.  Not “I carry an EpiPen on me in case I inhale a whiff of peanut dust and go into anaphylactic shock” bad (thank goodness), but more like a “I turn into a wheezy, sneezey, runny-nosed mess if I’m within 30 feet of your furry pet” bad.  One time I was visiting Damon (before we were married) and sat on his sofa.  His roommate had recently bought a dog who also liked to sit on that very same sofa, unbeknownst to me.  Within twenty minutes my right eye had completely swollen shut.  Did I mention this was the night of the Hornet Ball?  Nothing accessorizes an evening gown like a red, swollen eye!

After far too many incidents like that, I learned to stockpile the Claritin and Benedryl and carry tissue on me at all time.

Luckily I don’t have food allergies.  Your grasses, pollens, insect bites, pets, dust, etc. etc. will all fell me.  But food, no.  Or so I thought.

Last week my mom, Elisabeth and I drove up to San Francisco to visit friends and celebrate my aunt’s 70th birthday.  It was at this birthday party on Saturday evening when I had a sudden allergy attack – but to what?  “It must be the flowers,” my mom suggested.  Indeed, there were a lot of flowers.  So I popped a Benedryl, drifted off into a drug-induced sleep, and awoke… with a rash all over my chest.  Attractive, I know.

“It must be the flowers,” my mom said again that morning.  Eh, unlikely.  Though I didn’t believe the flowers from a party the previous evening had caused me to break out in a rash, I wasn’t going to fret.  It would go away on its own.  This was Sunday.  On Monday, the rash had spread to my torso and was a little redder, a little itchier.  On Tuesday, it had completely taken over my chest, stomach, back, and was creeping up my neck and down my arms.  At that point I decided I should go to the doctor, before it spread to my face.  Because that would be gross.

For all sorts of complicated healthcare related reasons, I had to go to the emergency room.  The only paperwork I had to fill out was a description of the problem: “Rash taking over my entire body.”  I had to make my probably-harmless rash sound dramatic in order to justify my presence in the ER, which I felt should  be reserved for people who have just amputated their own foot or been attacked by rabid dogs.  I handed my paperwork to the admitting nurse who scanned it, and then – much to my surprise – exclaimed, “Diana!” and enveloped me in a hug.

“DON’T HUG HER! SHE HAS A RASH! SHE COULD BE CONTAGIOUS!” the other nurse bellowed.

My mind was clouded with confusion.  Holy crap!  I might be contagious!?!?  And more importantly, WHY IS THIS NURSE HUGGING ME?  It was all very alarming.

Turns out the nurse was a friend of my mom’s.  So that was reassuring.  But I was still slightly concerned about the second nurse’s reaction to our hug.  My concern only heightened after the first nurse needed to assess whether or not I needed to go to “isolation”.

Isolation? I began imagining Contagion-like scenarios.  (You saw the movie, right?  Creepy!)  I made a list in my head of all the people I had made contact with since The Outbreak.  I’d have to warn them that they may have been exposed to… something bad!  Would they all have to go to isolation, too?  Was I the source of some horrific pandemic?  Who would play me in the movie, Contagion II?  So many unanswered questions!

Turns out it was just an allergic reaction.  To something I ingested, probably 24-48 hours before The Outbreak.

“But I haven’t eaten anything out of the ordinary!” I protested to the doctor.  Well, apparently I had.  I racked my brain to determine what the source of this allergy could be.  Being that I was on vacation, my diet during the time frame concerned had consisted mainly of cheese and cake and wine.  And then it came to me.

The tongue.

The evening before The Outbreak I had enjoyed a delicious dinner at a new Argentinian steakhouse in San Francisco.  One of the dishes we sampled was linguas.  That’s tongue, for you common folk. But linguas sounds less unpleasant, so let’s call it that.  I was hesitant to try the linguas, but as it came highly recommended I decided to give it a whirl.  It. Was. Delish. (Though I figure if you put something like tongue on a menu, it had better be damn tasty.  Because who would willingly eat bad tongue?  Or even mediocre tongue?)  So I enjoyed the tongue and didn’t give it a second thought.  Mainly because after the tongue my friends and I devoured two plates of churros con chocolate AND a peanut butter mousse with peanut butter ice cream dish.  And dessert will always trump tongue.

(Incidentally, if you want to be my friend, you have to be able to handle your desserts.)

Anyway, the tongue – excuse me, the linguas – was the only thing that I had never eaten before.  Is this where adventurous eating will land me?!  In the emergency room?!  To hell with that!

But let’s face it: that seems like an odd allergy.  So as much as I’d like to blame The Outbreak on the tongue, that seems doubtful.

“You know, some people develop allergies in adulthood,” my mom reminded me.  “So-and-So recently developed a strawberry allergy.”  Oh my goodness – I had eaten strawberries!  Could it be?

“It could also be the wine,” my dad suggested.  “You know, your grandmother was allergic to wine.”


I once again re-evaluated recent my food choices:  Strawberries.  Wine.  Chocolate.  Cheese.  Peanut Butter.  All are allergy triggers.  And 4/5 I consume on an almost daily basis.  Well, crap.

So two evenings after my trip to the ER I’m still a red, itchy mess.  (Just to clarify, it’s not hives.  I’ve had hives before and this ain’t hives.)  The doc prescribed me a steady stream of Benedryl, so I’m basically walking around in a semiconscious state all day.  Actually, more like lying around in a semiconscious state all day.  And through my grogginess, I’m pondering the mystery allergen.  Has one of my trusty foods turned against me?  Which one?  Please not the wine…

Read More

Travel Time. Again.

Posted on Sep 27, 2012 in Travel Traumas, Uncategorized

“I can’t wait to travel internationally with a baby, by myself,” said no one ever.  Like, ever. And let me tell you why: It will be the longest 9 hours and 41 minutes of your life.  And that doesn’t even count airport time. And then you’ll have to deal with a seriously jet lagged infant. Let’s rewind.  About a week and a half ago, I packed (and packed and packed) Elisabeth and me up for an extended trip to the States.  With Damon on deployment, it made sense to go stay to my parents’ house in CA where I won’t have to do laundry or cook or get up with the baby in the middle of the night to pass some of the deployment with family and friends.  If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that traveling with the little one is nothing new for me.  Elisabeth went on her first flight at two months old and just hasn’t stopped flying since.  Heck, this past trip from Tokyo to Los Angeles was her fourth international flight.  Sixth if you include Hong Kong, which practically doesn’t count since flight time was under four hours.  But anyway, this kid has earned her wings. As for me, even though I’d always had adult travel companions on those past international trips, I’d also flown with the baby enough times by myself to feel mildly confident that this trip would be just fine. Isn’t it funny how when you have even the slightest amount of confidence the world decides to throw it back in your face by keeping your baby awake the majority of a 10-hour red-eye flight?  And then that baby – who had been successfully Ferberized without much drama and had been peacefully sleeping through the nights and taking real hour-long naps for weeks now – begins waking up every few hours throughout the night and once again refuses naps. Yeah, that happened. In fact, I’m writing this blog on the floor of Elisabeth’s temporary bedroom in California while she whimpers and cries and pulls herself up in her...

Read More

The Night the Cockroach Came

Posted on Sep 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

I had another post that I intended to publish today, but after an extremely distressing evening/morning I had to change my plans.  Last night I encountered a cockroach in my kitchen.   Before you read any further, please be advised that this post contains some language unsuitable for children.  I rarely curse but when a situation truly demands an outburst of negative emotion, as last night/this morning did, and it wouldn’t be true to my story to omit the foul language.  I apologize if this offends you, but you’ve been warned. Now my mom thinks I’m a wuss when it comes to bugs.  But hey, I used to walk through San Francisco’s Tenderloin district every day to get to work – so no one can accuse me of being a wimp. I’m just a little squeamish around bugs.  Since moving to Japan I’ve dealt with jumping spiders, poisonous centipedes, yucky mushy winged things that suction themselves to my cabinet… to name a few.  Cockroaches are on a whole other level. Here’s how it went down: I was getting ready to go bed and remembered I hadn’t taken my vitamin for the day.  So I casually walked into my kitchen, unsuspecting of anything amiss, reached for the vitamin bottle and BAM out skittered the most vile, the most disgusting creature on the face of the planet:  The dreaded cockroach.  I screamed and half-jumped, half-stumbled away from the counter.  Shitshitshit!  What do I do!?!? The answer to that question is to go get your husband to kill it.  But in case your husband is absent – as mine is – the answer is stare dumbly at the cockroach for several minutes, then immediately go to Facebook to appeal to your friends and neighbors to come kill it for you.  Shockingly, no one obliged.   Several people did offer helpful hints to dealing with the wretched bug, though, like hairspray.  But if you’ve seen me recently, you won’t be surprised to learn that I don’t even own hairspray. I returned to the kitchen and hysterically searched under the kitchen sink for something – anything!...

Read More

Reflections on Summer: 2012 Edition

Posted on Sep 3, 2012 in Travel Traumas, Uncategorized

Holy moly – I missed my blogoversary! By, like, weeks!  I’ve been a negligent blogger but I intend to right my ways.  As I enter into my second year of blogging, my goal is to blog at least weekly.  But I need you.  I need you to hold me accountable.  I need you to get on my case if a week has passed blog-less.  Send me nasty emails.  Post obnoxious comments on previous posts.  Whatever it takes.  Can you do that for me?  Okay thanks. I have one caveat: on weeks that I am traveling, I am given a free pass.  But other than that, totally get on my case if I get lazy.  And by lazy I mean “exhausted and overwhelmed by life,”  but whatever.  No excuses! Since I’ve been so neglectful of this blog, I figure I’d spend this Labor Day recapping my summer.  Last summer I was glad to see summer go.   And this summer?  Well, I’m glad to see summer go again.  I just hate being hot and sweaty.  It’s that simple.  Last summer I was hot and sweaty and cooking a baby in my belly.  This summer I was (am still…) hot and sweaty, but instead of having the baby inside making me even hotter and sweatier, I have the baby constantly attached to my front making me hotter and sweatier.  It’s just not my thing.  Despite the nasty heat, it was still an exciting time, especially as we got to explore our new country.  So here’s the recap: 1) Memorial Day: We had just moved into our house and were preparing for Damon to deploy.  So yeah.  I was overwhelmed and stressed and thus summer’s kick-off is a bit hazy to me now.  I think there was a pot luck. 2) Damon deployed. 3) My mom visited: During my mom’s visit we A) spent over 2 hours driving around Japan trying to find some garden.  B) visited Tokyo and ate the most expensive asparagus in the world.  C) traveled to Kyoto and saw a lot of shrines.  D) pretended to put my...

Read More

Deployment Round II

Posted on Aug 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

Damon left today.  Again.  Boo.  I know you’re thinking, “Didn’t you just write a post about him leaving?”  It feels like it.  But actually, that was around two months ago.  Here’s what happened: He deployed.  We visited him on a port call in Hong Kong.  Then he came home for a few weeks for what was sort of like an extended port call.  It was good timing, too; my honey-do list was getting a little long.  But alas, he had to fly out again today to finish the deployment.  Unfortunately this time around he’ll be gone longer and I am not able to go to any of port calls.  Major bummer. But this is what I signed up for.  So, with Ben & Jerry by my side, and with the first half of our first deployment under my belt, I’ve decided to use this post to reflect on my earlier musings as to the ups and downs of deployments.  Or rather the downs and ups.  I like to end on a positive. Here were my original reasons why deployment sucks: 1) I’ll miss my husband. That still goes. 2) My husband will miss Elisabeth growing up.  In the six weeks between Damon deploying and our visit to Hong Kong, Elisabeth grew and changed enormously.  Even in the few weeks between Hong Kong and Damon’s return, she changed immensely.  She’s just growing so fast, and it breaks my heart a little bit to think of what Damon will miss in the next several months.  Luckily, he got to see her crawl for the first time before he left.  Now I just have to keep her from walking till he comes home again… 3) Earthquakes. We’ve experienced several (small) earthquakes in the past few months, and I’ve managed to survived.  However I still think that if a big one hits, I will turn into a total disaster. 4) I hate driving in Japan.  While I am a teensy bit more comfortable behind the wheel, my original fear still pretty much holds true.  I try to take the trains whenever possible.  Have...

Read More

The New Mom Workout Plan

Posted on Aug 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

I have so much to catch up on.  I promised a post on Elisabeth’s modeling job.  I never even mentioned our Hong Kong trip.  And oh yeah, Damon is home for a few weeks, and we spent the last week exploring Tokyo and Hiroshima.  So yeah, there’s a bit to write about.  But I have a much more pressing issue to address. Yesterday I was exchanging emails with a few friends, when one of them (I’M LOOKING AT YOU, KATE), wrote re: my blog, “Post more, please…isn’t your baby like, napping leaving you SO MUCH TIME to do blogging?” I would like to answer that question with a resounding NO SHE IS NOT.  MY BABY IS A NON-NAPPING FREAK OF NATURE.   In fact, I have nicknamed Elisabeth, “The Child Who Does Not Nap,” or “TCWDNN,” but only to myself.  It gets a little wordy in conversation. I have a feeling Kate was being facetious (she did, after all, end that sentence with an emoticon sometimes denoting lighthearted teasing), but perhaps other readers are wondering the same thing.  Why isn’t Diana blogging?  Shouldn’t she have oodles of time to write while her sweet little baby sleeps the day away?  Okay, probably no one is wondering that.  But still, I would like the record to show: Elisabeth is a nap-hater.  I wish I could instill upon her how precious these naps are, how one day she will regret wasting the opportunity to sleep freely all day.  But no.  She’d rather torture me. I am not exaggerating when I write that her typical nap lasts on average 25-30 minutes.  That’s it!  That’s all I get, folks!  Sometimes, they are even shorter.  Worse than her naps being ridiculously short, getting her to nap zaps every iota of energy from my body.  It sometimes taken over an hour to get the girl to sleep.  I assure you, she is tired.  But she’s feisty.  And she fights sleep.  Rocking, nursing, singing – it’s all useless.  (To be fair to TCWDNN, my singing is probably not the most soothing sound from which to drift into a...

Read More