I’ve been trying for a while now to deal with a bad situation and figure out a way around it all but it’s just not happening. So I’m going to share it with you blog readers and see what advice you have for me. The blog universe is sure to have some wisdom right? Boomer and Dottie hope so!
It all started a few months back, I was in an exam room with one of the veterinarians I work with. We were doing an exam on a dog that was very, very excited to see us. So we had some serious restraining to do! Luckily we got everything sorted out and then just needed to go over the results with the owner. While the vet was talking to the client I was standing there starting to feel a little weird. I got really hot, then I started to feel dizzy and then I felt really nauseated. Eventually I excused myself from the room, I couldn’t take it anymore.
Once out of the room I got some fresh air and started to feel better, but when I looked down at my arms I was covered in welts. I realized I was having some sort of allergic reaction to the dog I had just handled. I immediately told my boss and then went to wash my arms really well. I also took some Benadryl to see if that would help. After a while I still didn’t feel well and asked to go home. Once there I took a shower and then passed out for about 3 hours. When I woke up I still had some hives but was doing OK.
The next few days I took it easy with my animal handling, but unfortunately was bit by a cat I was restraining for a procedure. And, even though I washed my hand really well it started to swell up and hurt. I knew at this point something was wrong so I made an appointment with an allergy doctor. What followed has been a nightmare.
First, I went in and had blood work done, a scratch test and breathing tests. Second, I found out that I have asthma. And third, I’m not only really allergic to weeds, grass, trees, dust mites, corn pollen (whatever that’s about) but also to cats and dogs.
The doctor gave me my options and told me I had some big decisions to make. He said that to continue taking antihistamines would just mask the problems and one day I could get really sick. He said the best option was allergy shots and I eventually agreed. He said we could start by doing clusters which is grouping allergy shots all in one day a week, it’s risky but it would get my immune system jump started and I agreed.
The first few clusters were uneventful. I took my iPod and iPad with me to keep myself entertained for the 4 to 5 hours I needed to be there. They would check my vitals and inject higher doses every 30 minutes as long as I was doing well.
Well, the third cluster didn’t go so well. My arms started to swell, my head started to itch and I was in pain so they stopped and sent me home with steroids, ice packs and strict instructions to rest and not come into contact with any triggers.
Luckily I got over that reaction and was able to go back the next week. They gave me my first injection and I was fine so they proceeded with the next one. After checking me over the second time they noticed that I was swelling up again so they said they would wait longer before moving on. And, here’s where it all goes wrong.
I started to itch really bad, I felt like I had fleas or lice! I went to the bathroom only to see that I had hives all over my neck, chest and back. I was getting hives all over my scalp and then my lips started to swell up. And, then I had a panic attack, a bad one. Apparently panic attacks are a rare reaction but I certainly had one. I very close to going into anaphylactic shock!
So the nurses came in held my arms down and jabbed me really hard in the leg with a dose of epinephrine. It hurt so bad, I cursed like a sailor and had one of the nurses not grabbed my arm I would have clocked the nurse injecting me. Unfortunately the drug surged through me and made my blood pressure spike and caused another panic attack. At this point they decided to call my hubby and asked him to come to the clinic.
Over the course of several hours they checked my vitals, iced my arms and head, gave me steroids and antihistamines and tried to keep me calm. I was able to go home later in the day but not before making another difficult decision I wasn’t ready for.
The doctor told me I had to stop doing the clusters because a reaction like this could happen again. He said we could stop the injections all together which would put me right back to where I started, we could just do regular allergy injections but it would take longer to get my immune system going or we could dilute the serum we were using and come in once a week for shots. I decided to go with the last option, because stopping wasn’t possible, I’d come to far.
So you may be asking yourself why I’m making such a big deal about this. Well, I lost my job at the clinic. Actually it was a decision the owner and I decided together. She was afraid that I was putting myself too much at risk and that she didn’t want to see anything happen to me while at work. And, honestly I was afraid something would happen too. So I’ve left the clinic.
I’ve got another job working at a dog training facility which is great but I can’t handle any of the dogs. The one or two times I’ve come in contact with clients and their dogs I’ve ended up with hives. Luckily my boss understands and can keep me busy doing other things, like writing blog posts, posting to Facebook and Instagram, doing inventory and talking to clients as they come in about what classes they need.
At home I’ve been very careful not to let Boomer and Dottie rub on me as much on days I’m getting injections, they are triggers after all. And, I’ve only had a reaction to each of them a handful of times and it’s been very mild. It’s still something to be concerned about though. My hubby knows where the epi-pens are as well as a rescue inhaler!
But, do you see the problem? There is a chance these injections won’t work. And, if that happens what’s next?
I love dogs, I love working with them, I love having them as pets, they’re my furry children. The idea of not being able to have a dog is enough to send me over the edge. The thought of not volunteering to help the homeless ones makes me want to cry. And, I’ve always wanted to foster someday, but it’s possible I won’t be able to. My fingers are crossed that this works but in the mean time my heart is still broken, dogs are my life and I’m unable to be around them now.
What do you do when the one thing you are most passionate about makes you sick?