Sunday, November 28, 2010

Black Friday

The usual stresses of late November have kicked in. I haven't been feeling 100% this past week -- I am sure AF is about to descend upon me at any moment. Christmas is getting closer (which comes with its own set of stresses) -- but before I can start worrying about that too much, I have to get through the release of our year-end results at work. One more week to go!

I've been given responsibility for securing & tracking approvals for our part of the company's annual report. Not the numbers, mind you (thank God!), but the non-financial aspects. And while I don't want to go into too much detail, suffice to say that it's always a stressful time of year -- & having a new boss with new ways of doing things and new expectations has added to the usual stressors. The ante has been upped in terms of the number of people approving the copy, and all the different parts of the release they're approving, when compared to previous years under my former boss. The e-mails and paper have been flying thick & fast. Sometimes I just have to take half an hour to file everything into folder (paper & electronic) or I would never be able to keep it all straight.

Friday started when I got into the office before 8. My boss was already there, waiting for me, & we were off & running before I'd even had time to take a sip of my tea.

At noon, we took a break for an office pizza party -- a surprise baby/toddler shower. A few months ago, one of the 40-something men in the office surprised us all with an e-mailed announcement: he & his wife had just adopted a toddler, a little girl, through the Children's Aid Society. (I knew they didn't have any children, & while we've never discussed our mutual family situations, & I was happy for them, I couldn't help but think, "Another one bites the dust...!")

Everyone was filing past my cubicle to get to the meeting room before the unsuspecting dad was brought in, & they were all asking me, "Are you coming? Are you coming?" while I was trying to wrap up some loose ends. Yep, just what I needed, more pressure (and for a shower, at that...!).

Went into the room and... his wife was there, WITH the little girl. I didn't know she was coming, and was she ever cute. Of course, everyone was remarking on how cute she was, how happy they were for the parents, etc. etc.

The gift was more for the little girl than for the parents -- nothing practical, just pure fun: a Cin.der.ella princess outfit (complete with tiara) from the Dis.ney store, with a matching Cin.der.ella doll. (!!) She put on the dress & the tiara & was flouncing around the room carrying the doll. She had shoes that sparkled & flashed lights when she walked, too. Never mind thinking about how Katie would have looked -- I myself would have KILLED for an outfit like that when I was her age!!

Of course, because of my apparent allergy to tomatos, I couldn't eat any of the pizza; however, the organizers had made a special point of ordering a sauceless ham & cheese pizza just for me! So I had two pieces while I chatted with a few of my coworkers. One had been to Nova Scotia with his wife the week before dh & I went, so we were comparing vacation notes. I've had sauceless pizza before without incident, so I felt safe, & thought I was fine. It WAS a little greasy & I felt a slight sting on my lip at one point, but I didn't think anything of it.

But when I got back to my desk awhile later, my neck felt a bit warm -- so I pulled out my mirror & sure enough, I was all blotchy red, including my lips. Go figure?? My cheeks were starting to feel hot & prickly, & there was a slight feeling of fullness in my throat & jaw area. So I popped two Benadryls -- something I haven't had to do in several months. (I've had a few food-related incidents, but in most cases, the reactions came & went quickly without the need for medication.) At least nobody noticed & I didn't disrupt the party. I e-mailed dh (who conveniently works in the same building as me); he met me downstairs in the food court, & we sat there for awhile until I started feeling a bit better. The redness disappeared within about an hour -- but then the grogginess kicked in.

Which did not help me when sending out a long list of approvals that afternoon. At the same time I was trying to send out a new batch of approvals, I was being interrupted with responses to the e-mails I'd sent out that morning. I was bouncing back & forth from one thing to another & back again. Can you say "distracted??"

I sent out one e-mail, then a second one.

And then I panicked, because I had forgotten to attach the PDF file (one page). So I sent a second e-mail with the attachment (apologizing for forgetting it).

Then I remembered that I had cut & pasted the information to be approved into the e-mail body -- and I wasn't SUPPOSED to send out a PDF, because it contained confidential information. (THAT woke me up again in a hurry!) I thought I was going to have a heart attack on top of the allergic reaction.

So I sent out an e-mail recall in a panic (only the second time I've ever had to do that, I think), & a followup e-mail asking the person not to open the second e-mail, if they did receive it.

Then I went in & confessed to my boss what had happened & what I had done, including the fact that I had had a food reaction & had taken some Benadryl, which was fogging my mind. I think she could see how completely stressed I was. She said it wasn't a big deal, because the recipient was high level enough that he probably had this information anyway. She suggested I go home, but I said I was OK & wanted to finish the job before I left. The last thing I wanted was to walk in & have this hanging over my head on Monday morning.

And when I got back to my desk, I realized that the page was password protected -- & the recipient wouldn't be able to open it anyway. DUH. Awhile later, I was able to laugh about it with one of my coworkers (who was also stressed, in a different way and about something different), but it was not that funny while I was going through it.

So -- needless to say -- it was NOT MY DAY. Black Friday, indeed...! (I'm not much for crowds, but I think I'd have rather been in the States, standing in line at 5 a.m. & elbowing my way to the bargains.)

(And if you needed even more proof that I am stressed and my hormones are running amok -- I woke up Saturday with a cold sore. Ugh.)

Dh thinks my reaction was more to the little girl & the shower itself than the pizza. I don't know. It could be. The worst reactions I've had have usually been in situations where I've been under stress of some kind. And they've often happened just before, during or just after AF's visits, although not always.

I thought I was safe, because there were no tomatos or tomato sauce (although I have had reactions when there wasn't a tomato in sight -- I've figured out that in some cases, it might have been certain spices that are related to tomatos -- including paprika, cayenne & chili peppers -- which may have been the case here). I thought I was OK with attending the shower, & was even enjoying myself. Maybe not. It's so frustrating not to know what's causing this!!

The last time I saw her, in July, my allergist recommended I try shots as a way of alleviating (if not elminating) these reactions; my family dr agreed they might be worth a try, when I saw him for my checkup this fall. I could have them done at his office, but I would have to go once a week for an entire YEAR. Obviously, this time of year is NOT a good time to start something like this, but maybe in the new year.

Until then, I'll just be hoping that the next few weeks (& next week in particular) go by quickly, & I can just enjoy Christmas.


  1. oh my goodness, what a crappy day to cap off november. :(

  2. Ugh, what a rough day! I *hate* days like that at work, where you are under a pile, trying to get everything done and then something (though in my case, it was always just exhaustion from being under stress, not benadryl-tiredness and an allergic reaction, etc.!) causes me to make an error, and then scrambling to fix it... OH, I'm feeling the anxiety reaction just remembering those times.

    I hope you are able to determine what is causing the reactions. I have noticed that my allergy reactions (mold allergy which triggers migraines) are a billion times worse when under stress. I can't imagine that the stress of your impending deadline and the shower and the unexpected (though adorable, I'm sure) child showing up did anything to make your allergic reaction *easier* to handle!

    Here's hoping that the rest of this year is easier on you as it winds down toward Christmas.

  3. That sounds like an awful day. Here's hoping this week brings much less stress for you.

  4. Oh, dear. I've got a nut allergy and I know these situations all too well. How horrifying to not feel in complete control of your faculties while trying to do such critical tasks! Glad it turned out OK.

    That old IF-envy can surprise us after all these years, can't it? You handled it well, LB.

  5. That's SO scary!! I'm so glad the Benadryl worked quickly and that your husband was able to come sit without for a while.

    Boys are nice for stuff like that.

    I'm glad November is behind you, and I hope things settle down enough for you to enjoy Christmas as much as possible.


  6. UGH!

    Have you ever been tested for food allergies (like the prick tests or even blood serum reactions?)

    Triple S had some stomach problems, thought it was to eggs - got serum tested and it was peanuts - stopped eating peanuts and stopped having troubles.

    it could be wheat, cheese, the nitrates in the ham - without testing you can drive yourself crazy!

    And I think insurance should cover it - since you are getting the anaphaltic symptoms (Throat constrictions - if it gets worse each time you will nedd an epi pen!)

  7. @ YaChun: Yes, I've had lots ot tests done. Shown sensitivity to some foods I eat with no problem -- had reactions when eating stuff that (apparently, anyway) should not be a problem (like the tomatoless pizza) -- it's weird. But I did test for tomatos & have had reactions when eating them, so that's an obvious one.

    Sometimes, I just get a bit red & blotchy & warm, & it comes & goes in a half hour or so without any intervention on my part. Sometimes it's like last Friday, & I take Benadryl. To date, the Benadryl has always done the trick. I do have an epipen -- I think they gave it to me more for peace of mind than anything else. I'm glad I have it, but I've never had to use it & hopefully never will.