Acerbic Allergic

, , | Healthy | December 31, 2017

(I am 15. In my family, most of the women on my mom’s side have a condition called Restless Leg Syndrome, which is a brutally frustrating tic where your muscles in your thigh and calf feel like they are in spasm, like a small electric shock. It comes randomly, and nothing seems to help it stop once an episode starts; you just have to ride it out. I’ve been dealing with this myself since I was a kid. What my mom thought were growing pains turned out to be RLS. I’ve been referred to a specialist to see what my options are. Part of the process is conducting a nerve path function test. I have small needles pointed into the tips of my fingers, with electrical simulation higher up my arms to track if the signal is flowing properly. The test is uncomfortable to say the least.)

Specialist: “The results seem to be okay for your arms, which is a good indication that your legs would reveal the same.”

Me: “No short circuit, then? Bonus!”

(I am trying to lighten the mood as my mom is stressed at seeing me in such discomfort, and I am trying to take my mind off of it as well.)

Specialist: *stares blankly at me* “Your RLS is likely caused by poor diet and lack of exercise and in many cases, alcohol.”

Me: “Well, geeze, Mom, if you had just laid off the whiskey at bedtime, we wouldn’t be here now!”

Specialist: *blank stare* “In the event we have to do a minor surgery to explore nerve function, is there anything you’re allergic to in terms of medication?”

Me: “Penicillin.”

Specialist: “And what happens when you take it?”

Me: “I get a terrible rash over my stomach and chest and become very sick to my stomach.”

Specialist: “So you’re not allergic to it.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Specialist: “You’re not allergic to it. You wouldn’t die if it was given to you.”

Me: “Well, no, I guess not but—”

Specialist: “That’s an intolerance. You shouldn’t say you are allergic to penicillin. What if it was required to save your life from an infection?”

Mom: “Well, there are plenty of alternatives out there, I think it’s a semi-common allergy? She’s had to have antibiotics for various infections, and they always seem to find something else.”

Specialist: *to my mom* “Do you have allergies?”

Mom: “Yes, I’m allergic to strawberries.”

Specialist: “And what happens if you eat them?”

Mom: “Well I go into anaphylactic shock very fast.”

Specialist: “THAT, is an allergy. I’m not writing on your chart that you’re allergic to penicillin. See the front reception to re-book when you’re ready.”

(He promptly leaves, with my mom and I sitting in stunned silence. I suppose he was right — I wouldn’t die if I was given penicillin in an emergency, but the marvel’s of modern medicine mean I don’t have to when there are so many alternatives. I am careful to tell other doctors now, that it’s not a life threatening allergy, but to avoid it if possible!)

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