Monday, September 25, 2006

Leaving no questions...

For a while now I have been wondering if possibly I have a wheat or gluten allergy. I had heard of some of the allergic reactions to it, and, well, the shoe fit. I am deathly allergic to corn (including popcorn, cornbread, etc), so the idea that I would also be allergic to another natural product wasn't too far off in my mind. But my diet is rather naturally devoid of wheat products since I tend to be carb adverse and avoid breads for the most part. So it has always been a bit of a mystery for me to figure out.
Well, on Sunday that mystery was solved for me.
My ward (translation for the non-Mormons- my local church congregation) is really getting into home preparedness and food storage. This is actually the understatement of the century. My ward is absolutely obsessed with food storage. (Additional non-Mormon translation- Mormons try to have a 2 year supply of foods, often in the form of grains, stored in their homes in order to prepare for emergencies.) And this past Sunday they passed out bags, and by bags I mean brown paper bags with a plastic ziplock baggy, of wheat. About a hundred bags of these bags of raw wheat were passed around the room, a small enclosed room with little ventilation. I knew I'd never use the wheat and just passed the bags right along to the folks sitting next to me. I probably only handled 4 or 5 bags. For a few minutes there was a bit of commotion as a few dozen people inspected their bags, opening them, smelling them, etc. And suddenly I couldn't breathe. My throat was tightening up, I was sneezing and coughing, and I could feel my eyes swelling up. I put my head between my knees really fast (a feat in and of itself considering how tightly packed together the chairs are in that room), and tried to breathe. The lack of air getting to my lungs started to freak me out. My EMT skills only kicking in enough to remind me that I was on the verge of anaphylactic shock. So I quickly ran out of the room and went outside to the fresh air. By the time I made it outside I realized I was breaking out in hives. A few minutes to calm down and talk to a friend who had intercepted me outside, and I went home.
A big dose of Benadryl, a hit off the inhaler, and a 3 hour dead solid nap later, all symptoms disappeared.
Mystery solved: I am most definitely allergic to wheat.

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