My Unintended Vacation

Between March 26 and March 30 I was a guest at St. Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick after suffering from what my mother called the “perfect storm” of medical weirdness. What happened?

It all began on March 23, when I woke up with a mild cold. It wasn’t too bad, but I’d had a late night due to covering Bassem Youssef Wednesday and getting home at or a little past midnight. So I was sick and tired in a very literal sense, which wasn’t too big a problem. I did, however, choose to have a warm lunch so I got some fast food from a chain I have never had issues with before. A few hours later, I began breaking out in hives, which has never happened to me before. I determined I was probably suffering from an allergic reaction to something I’d eaten, took some Allegra and went to bed.

Friday was not too bad – I was still covered in hives but it hadn’t reached my face or lower arms and was not debilitating. On Saturday though, I woke up and found that my eyes couldn’t fully open. Cue mild panic and a trip to a doctor.

The doctor prescribed prednisone and Benadryl, which are standard medicines to dealing with allergic reactions. He also discovered that I had a tonsil infection, and prescribed an antibiotic to take care of that.

On Sunday, March 26, I woke up and found my entire body was swollen. The red spots from the hives had become large blotches and in general I was not feeling all that great. We went back to the doctor who told me to go to an emergency room.

The ER at St. Peter’s admitted me immediately after triage – which in hindsight probably should have concerned me.

It took several doctors, but eventually they decided I was probably allergic to the antibiotic as well as whatever I had eaten, which is likely what caused the massive swelling.

So to recap, I suffered from an allergic reaction on top of suffering from a previous allergic reaction.

(Also there was that tonsil thing but that was pretty unimportant, relatively speaking.)

I was admitted to the hospital proper and kept there until Thursday, which is about how long it took for all of the swelling to go down and various related issues to be dealt with. Benadryl is primarily an antihistamine but one of its side effects is “to induce sleep” so I effectively spent the first two or three days in the hospital out cold.

To cut a long story short, the medical team at St. Peter’s patched me up and sent me on my way, but I do want to acknowledge the very large number of people who kept me alive through that week.

Several nurses – including Aleks, Payal, Rowena, Laura, Jane, and Chen – ensured my recovery went pretty smoothly.

Their assistants who took care of me.

And last but not least, doctors Shetty, Gupta, Kothari, Lynn and the several others whose names I’m not quite sure deserve all the thanks in the world for treating me (and special thanks to Dr. Gupta for being the first to figure out what was wrong with me).

Shoutout to my family for bringing me fresh underwear and socks.

And yes, it was a little weird not wearing pants for a week.

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