Reflections on Reactions

This Tuesday was a very scary night.  In the middle of finals week, stress is in the air and things are more hectic than ever.  And after my first college exam ever, I sat down to have a nice, “safe” pre-ordered meal, and ended up at Student Health.

But on this night, my grilled chicken sandwich was different from usual.  In the beginning of the semester, I read the labels on all of the breads to determine which brands were safe for me to order.  After months of safely eating the whole grain sliced bread at my dining hall, I bit into my pre-ordered sandwich with no worries.  But then I realized the bread tasted different from usual.  I looked down at my sandwich to see thick pieces interspersed in my bread slices.  I immediately stopped eating the sandwich, ate the rest of my veggies that were given to me in a separate container and went back to my room.  Once in my room, my lips started to feel tingly.  I was not sure if the bread that I had eaten had pieces of the wheat grain or if they were seeds.

Worried that it was all in my head, I decided to wait it out for a little in my dorm room.  I didn’t want to seem like the boy who cried wolf and run off to Student Health for no reason.  I texted my mother about the situation and talked to my roommate and we mutually decided that it was probably safest for me to go get checked out by a professional.  By the time we got there and checked in, it had been about 30 minutes after dinner.  Luckily, there was no wait and I could get seen by the nurse on duty immediately.

The nurse checked my vitals and decided that the best course of action was to take some Benedryl and wait it out.  While I sat, she talked to me about what had happened and she said that she was thrilled to be talking to someone who understood the severity of food allergies.  Apparently, there was a huge fiasco about a month ago where four students with peanut allergies didn’t read the ingredients of a buffet item and had reactions.  The nurse stressed the importance of reading ingredients and special ordering meals instead of just grabbing whatever food is served at the buffet.  It was really validating to know that all the extra reading I do each night is worth it to prevent mistakes like that.  She was glad that my reaction was mild and happy to talk to me about how I was managing my allergies in college so far.  I also learned that our Student Health has a transportation service where a police member can come in a golf cart anywhere on campus to bring me to student health in case of an emergency.

So, although I almost made it to the end of my first semester completely reaction free, I did not end up having any really big problems.  I’m going to ask to reread all the bread labels to check for seeds before next semester to make sure that this does not occur again.  Here’s to another safe semester!

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