Sunday, May 4

It's all in my head -- literally!

First off, I did make the wedding and part of the reception yesterday. It was a struggle as I was still far from well. I'm glad I went as it allowed hubby and I to finally figure out what's been making me so sick.

My resistance was down from the stress from getting ready for the wedding to the three (stressful) medical appointments I had scheduled in one week. Toss in seasonal allergies with everything blooming, the up-and-down temperatures we've been having in northern Indiana, and I was ripe for something. It started with a scratchy allergy throat on Friday and turned into a sore and swollen throat overnight. I had a rough weekend. By Tuesday morning I felt better. I even managed a trip to the store for much needed groceries. I decided to buy a box of those new tissues that are laced with Vicks and lotion. After I started using them, my head stopped up and started hurting. My nose began to run and coughing commenced. By Tuesday night, I discovered I had lost both my sense of smell and taste as I was cooking dinner. Do you know how difficult it is to cook and season food when you can't taste or smell it?

I moved to the sofa that night to sleep sitting up. Lying down was a no-go. By Wednesday morning I was a mess. This was odd, as only 24 hours previously I was doing better. Why was I getting worse? I called my doctor's office. I couldn't get an appointment until Friday so I asked to talk to one of the nurses. I repeated my symptoms to her and answered her questions. No, I didn't have any swollen glands or any fever. She told me to keep taking decongestants, Tylenol, and drinking lots of fluids. I didn't met the criteria for antibiotics or any other treatment. I had to tough it out.

It puzzled me that I had no fever. I took my temperature several times and it was always BELOW normal. This is consistent with my allergy problems though this was clearly unlike any allergy or sinus flareup I've ever had. The allergy throat that started all this had cleared up. What was going on?

Thursday, hubby was off from work. He took me out for lunch to get me out of the house. While we were out we ran a few errands. I'd been feeling a bit house bound from being sick and was happy to get out for a while. Phil picked up his rented tuxedo for the wedding. By Thursday night I began having spastic coughing fits and had nearly lost my voice. I was beginning to be a little frightened by my changing symptoms. I only felt bad from the neck up. My symptoms seemed to indicate that I had an infection though I had no fever. It didn't make any sense.

Friday, I got up feeling nasty again. It had been a week already since I got sick and I was not getting better. The hacking fits continued with my head alternating between stopped up, hurting, and draining like crazy. I had given up using the new tissues. Odd, now I could smell and taste things again. My other symptoms were not getting any better. Phil went to the wedding rehearsal in the evening without me. He came home afterwards instead of going on to the rehearsal dinner.

Yesterday, I got up feeling awful. After doing no more than wrapping the wedding gift and taking a shower, I was exhausted. Still, I decided to chance attending the wedding armed with tissues, cough drops, and a bottle of water. At the church, I was surprised when my head cleared up and I stopped coughing. We went on to the reception and I was still ok. Fresh flowers and burning candles didn't bother me. I told my SIL Dana that I had bought a box of the new tissues. She told me she can't use them because of her asthma. In the meantime, Phil and his brother, Peter, were complaining about unpleasant odors coming from their rented tuxedos.

Hubby and I came home from the reception about 9 pm. I had held up amazingly well. I was tired but not feeling too badly. I wasn't home long before my head stopped up, started hurting, and I began coughing again.

I didn't get it. I felt better the whole time I was not at home. No coughing, no sneezing, no congestion, no headache, etc. When I got home, all my symptoms returned. Something had to be going on. Both of us smelled an odd odor when we walked into the house. We started talking about what could be causing this. Our conclusion: a box of Vicks laced tissues and a stinky tuxedo. Both things were outgassing some kind of chemical nose and lung irritants into the air of our home. After banning both items to the garage, we uncovered the attic fan, opened the windows, and thoroughly aired the house out. Wow! My head was already feeling better. I was able to sleep lying down for the first time in days.

I feel better today than I have in over a week. Though it will probably take a few days for my ravaged sinuses to clear up and my voice to come back. Phil returned his tuxedo to the rental place. He told them about the smells coming from it and how it had affected both of us. Yes, it wasn't just me. Phil was coughing and sneezing around it too. I may contact the company who makes those tissues to let them know how sick they made me. They should be removed from the market. I will also let my doctor know what happened.

The dictionary defines allergies as: "an exaggerated or pathological reaction (as by sneezing, respiratory embarrassment [difficulties], itching, or skin rashes) to substances, situations, or physical states that are without comparable effect on the average individual." Allergies are no joke. People who don't have them don't understand. Some make fun of us who have them or tell us it's all in our heads. It isn't.


Anonymous said...

It is good news that you were able to attend the wedding, and that you figured out what was causing your problems. I will certainly avoid those tissues - now if you can just recover from all of that!


Moonlit Goddess said...

Glad you're feeling better and that you figured out what was causing all the problems.

Anita O said...

I'm glad you're finally feeling better, Vicki. What a drag to be sick for so long, and to have an allergic reaction to the tux and the tissues. I will never use those!

Ruth said...

It's never in your head. Ever. Like telling a knitter that her allergies to wool don't exist. So glad you're feeling better. I enjoy reading your blog very much.

Rositta said...

I need to comment here. All the stuff they sell us with extra super duper stuff in it can really make us sick. I too have allergies at this time of year and I know how horrible it can be. One year I figured out that all those fancy plug in air fresheners were making me sick. I don't know what just happened to "open the windows" to air a house out. Glad your better...ciao