How our first date was interrupted by my food allergies
My first date with Patrick, my now hubby, is one to remember. It was a night that changed my life in multiple ways, I had met my soul mate, and living with allergies would never mean the same thing to me.
Our first date was at Noodles & Company. Not the most romantic venue, but we were college students, and the concept was so fun to us. Neither of us being American and the place feels so American, eh! It was also a good venue because I had eaten there once before, so it seemed like a natural choice for managing my allergies with ease.
This was pre allergy card, so I rhymed off my food allergies when I order, and we were pleasantly surprised that they marked them on my receipt (we are talking 2008). It was even a topic of conversation as we slurped on our noodles.
We ate successfully, or so I thought…
After dinner, we decided to stroll through Millennium Park (where you can find the ‘bean’ in Chicago). I started feeling weird; my stomach was cramping, and something was happening that I had never experienced. I wish I could say it was just butterflies in my stomach. Alas, it was my body was fighting sesame seeds.
I didn’t want to cause alarm, so we sat down on a bench to enjoy the evening and hope I would feel a little better, but by that time my whole body started getting itchy and then covered in hives. I was itchy, like so itchy I wanted to rip my scalp off.
What happened next is a lesson for everyone with anaphylaxis on what not to do.
Usually, when I had an allergic reaction, I would take Benadryl and start to feel better. So I took Benadryl, and we decided to head back to the dorm room. Nothing seemed to subside. Instead, it got worse, I was itchy, my throat was swelling, and I was losing my voice. Signs of an anaphylactic reaction!!! I had an Epipen but didn’t want to use it because…
I was in denial, the previous reactions I had were I always had vomiting as a symptom. To me, vomiting meant it was an allergic reaction. There was no vomiting so it couldn’t be that bad or even a real reaction. Plus this was not how I wanted our first date to go!?
At this point, I should have used my Epipen. I didn’t.
Instead, I went to my room and changed into some sweat pants (lousy idea Kortney). Things were just getting worse.
Patrick asked if he should call an ambulance. At that point, I had no clue what was going on and said yes. I was no longer coherent.
By the time I was in the ambulance, I had no voice, was delirious, and passed out. They gave me epinephrine and Benadryl through IV. I can’t remember anything from getting in the ambulance to being in the hospital.
I had to stay in the hospital for observation for a couple of hours. Patrick was with me the whole time. He also called my parents to let them know what was happening. How about that for a “meet the parents’ icebreaker!”
An allergy date to remember
That night changed a lot of things in my life. I had found my future husband and my food allergies became something very real. The doctor told us if I was ten minutes later, I might not have made it. Patrick was my knight in shining armor! He called the ambulance and made sure I was ok the whole time.
I cannot express how fortunate I am to be with someone who understands the seriousness of food allergies and who is my number one allergy support system. ❤️
So if you are going out on a first date, don’t be shy about your allergies! I promise that if the worst thing happens, you will be happy your date knows.
You may also like my love letter to food allergy partners.
Kortney is your typical atopic triad! She manages asthma, eczema, environmental and food allergies. Kortney is a co-creator of the online community Allergy Travels and co-host of The Itch Podcast. She wants to spread joy in a community that can easily see the hard side of life with atopic disease and believes that you can have a full life with food allergies, it may just be lived a little differently!