Monday, August 24, 2009

In Which I Am At A Loss

To put it in the lightest of terms, this weekend did not go well.

I woke up Saturday morning with hives all over my arms, my hands swollen to the point where I couldn't make a fist, and constriction in my throat. It doesn't take a medical degree to know what was going on.

I was having an allergic reaction to something, again.

Not wanting to fool around with it after what happened the last time, The Boss and I decided that a trip to the Emergency Room was in order. (For those getting up out of your chairs and stretching your legs to give me a good ass-whooping, I had no trouble breathing at all, and The Boss was the one that drove. There was no medical need to call 911 this time around.)

As we prepared to leave, The Boss and I talked about what could be causing the reaction. There has been no introduction of new foods or drinks that I had consumed, and no new soaps, shampoos or detergents, either. The air filter in the air conditioner has been kept clean, and there is no funky mold in our apartment (to the best of our knowledge, anyway). What's more, short of the random allergy attack over a week ago, I have never had an allergic reaction, much less hives, ever before.

The more we thought about it, the more things we crossed off the proverbial list, the more it became clear that my allergies were being caused by one thing:

Our new dog, Stella.

She is the only thing new that had been introduced to our home environment before my reactions started. We looked up her breed (daschund and minature pinscher), and sure enough, she is a high-dander breed of dog. From the research that I did quickly online before we left for the ER, I read that most people who don't know they are allergic to dogs start showing symptoms 3-4 days after the dogs introduction to the home.

The timeline fits. We took Stella home Monday afternoon, and I started showing symptoms Friday, with an itchy head and minor hives on my arms. All of my symptoms on Friday went away with a dose of Benadryl, but my symptoms were back and much, much worse on Saturday morning, having spent the night before sleeping right next to Stella in bed.

We listed our concerns to the ER doctor, who agreed that it mostly likely was an allergy to the dog. I know that people can develop allergies at any point in their lives, but until this happened, I have never been allergic to dogs or anything else. What makes it all make sense is finding out that the only dogs I had previously spent longer periods of time with are my parents dog, a yorkshire terrier, and The Boss' parents dog, a schnauzer, both of which are low-dander breeds. So, even if I was allergic to dogs at the time, I most likely wouldn't have shown any reaction around them at all.

As far as resolving my symptoms, I left the ER with a prescription for prednisone. I've been taking it since I got home on Saturday, and I'll be on it throughout Wednesday. I've also been taking regular doses of Benadryl just in case. We took Stella to my parents house late Saturday night to get her out of our apartment, and we spent the night at my parents house so we could sleep on bedding that hadn't been exposed to pet dander. On Sunday, Stella stayed with my parents, and The Boss and I went home to gather up our bedding, clothing, towels, blankets, anything that Stella had been around or laid on, and spent a couple hours and $20 at the laundromat.

Unfortunately, we know for sure that my allergy is to Stella. I purposefully exposed myself to her before taking one of my doses of prednisone, and my throat started to become constricted. My hives started to appear again by the time I got my medication in my system. I also had a reaction when gathering up our blankets and things to bring to the laundromat.

To make a long story short, Stella will be going back to the humane society today. It was an unbelieveably hard descision to make. We've only had her for a week, and just started to fall into a routine with her. Taking allergy medication daily to cope with my allergies to Stella would just make me more tired, and you all know that I have enough problems with being tired as it is. When it all boils down, my health and well-being comes first.

It has been a rough weekend, but on top of an Emergency Room visit and having to give our new puppy back to the shelter, we came home yesterday to find that our air conditioner had broken. Our normally darkened and cool apartment was still dark, but a sweltering 85 degrees.

I guess when it rains, it pours.

So, like I said... This past weekend wasn't the greatest. Here's to hoping that, once we emotionally recover from having to surrender Stella back to the shelter, the rest of the week goes better.

41 Comments:

Mwa said...

Poor you! That's just awful. Best wishes with the recovery. Can't be easy.

dsmcaron said...

I really feel for this loss and disappointment. I'm sorry. Really sorry.

Sandy said...

I am very sad for you all, especially Stella. But you did the right thing. And I know how difficult a decision that was. I'm sure they will find another home for her. I hope you begin to feel better quickly.

Jenn(ifer) said...

Oh this makes me so sad :-(
I hope you get better soon.

Russ said...

Dude, I'm sorry. I've got a pooch and couldn't imagine giving her back. All the same, you can't go through life not being able to breath.

Coach J said...

Can't you just hold your breath for the rest of the dog's life? Seriously, that really stinks. Hope your week gets better.

minivan soapbox said...

How sad...I'm sorry. But you made the right choice - as hard as it was to make.

Moonspun said...

Oh honey! That's too bad. I am sure in her doggie heart Stella understands...but that sucks I am sure for everyone...
Hope you feel better and this week starts looking better.

Cape Cod Gal said...

I'm sorry, babe. It's a tough thing to do, but you're right, your health comes first. I'm sure Stella will find a new home soon.

lovelila said...

That's so sad to hear :( I really hope this week goes better for you!

Laura said...

That is so sad... I am so sorry you have to take Stella back, I am sure that really breaks your hearts. They will find her a new home though. If it makes you feel any better, I am pretty sure I am about to pass another kidney stone...Yay!!!

Organic Meatbag said...

Awww man, so sorry to hear about the weekend...that Stella is a cutie...I hope you feel better, man...

Anonymous said...

sorry to see you had a bad week buddy, but isnt somebody with known allergies getting a puppy just a bit masochistic?

alntv said...

Oh no! That sucks! Poor puppy...and poor you! Sorry it didn't work out!

Lana said...

i hope you feel better soon! that sucks about stella. any thoughts about finding a low-dander pup to bring home?

Nej said...

Oh no!!! I'm so sorry! That really stinks. New dog and the a/c...all in one weekend...should be against the law!!!!!! :-( :-(

So, are you going to get a low-dander dog....or just stay pet free for a while?

Daddy Files said...

Get yourself a Labradoodle my friend. Hypoallergenic dogs.

Notes From the Grove said...

Oh, my friend, I am SO sorry. I also developed allergies when I introduced my kitty into my home. I was 20 and had never been allergic to animals until her. BUT, I decided to keep her. All these years later (almost 9 to be exact), her fur still bothers me, but I'm able to keep it under control with a light non-drowsy allergy pill. I'm sorry your allergies are so severe.

Also, when I was 19, I had to take a dog back to the pound thanks to my shitty, irresponsible roommate, who on a whim, decided to get her, then dump her on me. I just couldn't have a dog in our 3rd story apartment. It wasn't fair. I ended up taking her back with my dad and cried the whole time.

I'm really sorry you have to deal with this right now.

Jade said...

Oh no! How sad! I'm so sorry to hear about your difficulties, and then your loss on top of it all. That must have been so difficult and heart wrenching. Do you think you might be able to have a different breed of dog? (I think Viszlas or Poodles are known to be hypoallergenic.) Or perhaps your reaction would develop due to prolonged exposure? Anyway, best wishes to you and the Boss and I hope things turn for the better soon.

Lola said...

Oh, man, that just sucks! So sorry ;( Our friends' kids have had dog allergies that bad their whole lives, so they got a terrier last year. Neither one of the boys has had a single problem.

Oh, and there really is no such thing as hypoallergenic dogs, just dogs who have less dander and shed less.

mumma boo said...

Oh that's heartbreaking! I'm sorry to hear that you're going through this. I hope you're feeling better soon. Don't beat yourself up about it - you made the right decision.

Aunt Becky said...

I'm sorry BAG.

Mrs Soup said...

Oh I am so sorry you've had to lose your new family member. :(

mommygeekology said...

Oh, geez... that's terrible. I can understand, though.

I hope that you're able to either find a low-dander pet that you can love and enjoy... but if not, I'm glad you're taking care of yourself.

LiLu said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. I wonder if you could get a hypo-allergenic pup, like the Obamas got? Or maybe a less allergic-y pet... but nothing really replaces a dog. Sigh.

Glad you're (ultimately) all right!

Mom said...

I get kenalog shots to deal with my collie and my mutt and my three cats, but still you pay a price when you shoot up with steriods.

We got a goldendoodle. Sound great, almost hypoallergenic? This male ripped my collie's neck to the point where my boy needed surgery. Watch out for poodle mixes.

An ideal situation would be getting to foster a dog for several days before committing.

Check into Kenalog, it does work well, but other than that, sometimes people with allergies just can't have dogs.

Our local spca will not adopt a pet out to anyone with known allergies. That's sort of mean, isn't it, but they want the pets to have as few transitions as possible.

I hope that you have success with a pet, they are very wonderful, but not at the expense of a person's health.

Kim said...

Wow, that has got to be tough. She's an adorable dog and should manage to find another loving home at least.
I am so sorry.
And I am quite sorry about the loss of your air conditioner. Hopefully the past couple of days have been cooler for you like it has been for us.

Chibi Jeebs said...

I'm so sorry. :(

BeautifulWreck said...

What a mess, I am very sorry. Mr. K has severe allergies as does one of our kids. They can come on all the sudden and be unsure of where they actually come from.
I am actually allergic to some dogs, but not all breeds. So its possible without a long exposure to this breed you would have never known.
Hopefully this will resolve all your allergic reactions!

Mrs. B said...

Sorry for the sucky weekend.

world of sekimachihato said...

ouch, it really is pouring in your part of the world...
if i was closer i would so have loved to take stella off your hands. i really want a pet but then again wonder if living in a high-rise building is not the best environment for a furry friend...

daria said...

I'm definitely sorry to hear that. :/ But you're so right, your health comes first, no matter how heartbreaking it is. Hope you have a better week!

Maggie May said...

Oh man I'm so sorry.

GeekByMarriage said...

Damn hun I am so sorry. It has to be scary and frustrating. HUGE huggles! If I were near enough I would take her and find her a home.

Tammy Howard said...

Of course you have to put your health first, but that doesn't make it any less heartbreaking. I'm so sorry, man, that just sucks.

Badass Geek said...

To All: Thank you for your concern and well wishes. It seems as if the rough weekend is continuing still into the week, as I wound up in the ER again early this morning due to the hives. I'm now on five different medications to try to keep things under control.

Also, I am essentially exiled from my apartment until everything gets under control. For at least the next week or so, I'll be staying at my parents house while my apartment airs out. Apparently all the work we did to try to remove the allergens still wasn't enough.

And yes, once I get back to normal, I'll be seeing an allergist to see what I am allergic to.

Thanks again for your kind words and empathy. The Boss and I greatly appreciate it.

Inna said...

Sorry I'm late in commenting.

I'm so sorry too! That really sux. But you're absolutely right, your health does come first. And, I'm sure Stella will be able to find herself a nice home with someone without allergies.

golublog said...

Thats sad. I always wanted a dog but allergies make it impossible for me too.

Aunt Juicebox said...

Wow, that's some reaction! I'm sure you've made the best decision to take her back though. Sometimes, you can develop an immunity to your own pet. My husband is allergic to cats, but ours no longer bother him. However, he has never had as severe a reaction as yours, so maybe for you that wouldn't be possible. I hope you got the AC fixed. Hang in there, honey.

Bama Cheryl said...

I'm so sorry about Stella. There are plenty of non-allergenic dogs out there but she looked like a real sweetie. She'll find a good home and you'll find the right puppy for you two!

x said...

Oh, Badass. I am so sorry for you, The Boss, and obviously Stella. That had to be the toughest decision.

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