TDP: Fight and/or Flight

Here’s the latest Daily Prompt: Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding, belly-twisting nervousness. What caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

I had to laugh when I read today’s prompt, as my story has a bit to do with fight and with flight, though not in a way you might expect.

A few background facts to preface my story:

– About three years ago I discovered [the hard way] that I have a life-threatening allergy to Brazil nuts. I hope none of you ever have to experience anaphylaxis and look in the mirror to find this looking back at you:

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– I [used to] have an undying love for peanut butter. There were days my morning/afternoon/evening snack consisted of nothing but a bottle of Kraft Smooth and a spoon.

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– I love travelling, but I hate flying.

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Two years ago this October, I was living in Victoria, British Columbia and antsy to get on a flight home to my family for Thanksgiving. True to form, I was running late and my roommate/boyfriend’s cousin/favourite DIY’er (check her out at Leftcoast Creative offered to accompany me and drive my car back to our condo for the weekend.

What’s a girl on the go to grab for a quick pre-flight snack?

A peanut butter bagel, of course!

Flash forward. We’re in the car, ten minutes into the half-hour drive and half-way through the bagel, when Courtney innocently asks me, “Do you ever find that other nuts give you the same reaction as a Brazil nut?”

Cue panic attack.

Those of you who have endured a panic attack can attest to feeling something like this:

I can’t breathe.

I can’t breathe!

I CAN’T BREATHE!

…it’s all over. Good-bye, cruel world.

As the fear sinks its adrenaline-dipped claws into you, it’s all you can do not to give in. In my case, ‘giving in’ would have meant pulling my car to the busy highway’s shoulder, asking Courtney to take the wheel, and risking missing my flight home to Mike, my parents, and my puppy.

Not an option; too much pride.

Besides, I’d never had a panic attack before and tried to console myself that the heart-pounding, belly-twisting nervousness was simply a spot of airport anxiety, and not what would become a series of intermittent assaults on my nervous system.

The upside of adrenaline, of course, is that once it runs its course through your bloodstream, you are overcome with exhaustion. This allowed me to slip into a satisfying sleep shortly after my plane lifted off the tarmac.

…the downside is that each time I woke up, I broke whatever homeostasis my body had been diligently working towards and threw myself into another bout of panic. Here, ‘giving in’ would have meant grabbing the doggie bag I’ve only ever used as an oversized gum wrapper and – even worse – admitting something was wrong.

Again – not an option; too much pride.

I’m here telling the story today, which means I survived. However, since every story should have a moral, here is mine: don’t eat and drive.

/jr

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3 responses to “TDP: Fight and/or Flight

  1. Thanks for the explanation of the feelings involved while enduring an anaphylactici episode. My son was five when I lived thru his anaphylactic episode. He told me “Mommy, I’m dying”. I almost died too! We both lived, but I often wondered what it was he went thru, even though he was right in front of me. I’m now writing a blog about how to live with such extreme Food Allergies. I will create a web link to your page as soon as I figure out how to do that. You see, I just started blogging about this topic.

    • I can’t imagine having a little person look at you and say those words. I admire your strength, and am honoured you’ve chosen to share my words on your blog. I look forward to what’s to come.

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