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.