Thursday, August 18, 2005

Dangerous Nuts

I finally got off my lazy ass and went to my allergy doctor's appointment. For a few years now, certain nuts (cashews, pistachios, hazelnuts, and pecans) have made my throat feel all swelled-up and awful, and have given me nausea. No shortness of breath or hives or anything--thank God--but allergies all the same. This worried my parents. They can start out with small reactions, they warned me, But often they can escalate into fatal ones. So I went to the doctor.
While saying that it was astounding that a person with food allergies was not subject to hay fever (yay me!), he actually asked me what I'd like to be tested for. I chose nuts, shellfish (allergy-foods that I don't have very often), but I forgot to get tested for bee stings.

Anyhoo, they put drops of the nut-allergy- and seafood-allergy-proteins on my skin, wrote the names of the foods in pen beneath them, and then the nurse pricked the drops (and my skin) with a sharp little needle. With my arms itching furiously, I went to lie down.

When the doctor came to check on me, peanuts and almonds (as I have always suspected) ellicited little to no reaction, along with most seafoods (I'm mildly allergic to shrimp, to my horror). However, the cashew drop caused a hive the size of a strawberry to develop, and pistachio only slightly smaller. The doctor said that judging by the severity of the reaction, cashews and pistachios were fatal to me, and that I needed an epipen. Fatal. As in, if I ate them, I would choke on my own blood and die.

I'd eaten cashews and pistachios before. Not recently. I'd eaten pistachios once when I was little, but felt sick eating them (go figure), and never touched it since. Cashews I once had in a bowl of mixed nuts, and let me tell you, that made for a very unpleasant Christmas party. I went to a mall after the appointment (although shopping for clothes was now out of the question with hives up and down my arms), looked into the window of a Ben&Jerry's, and saw my favourite icecream flavour sitting next to a tub of pistachio ice cream. It was like I was no longer looking at food, but a man with a gun. Sure, it wasn't pointed at me, but it was still a present and lethal threat.

Hazelnuts got the third-largest reaction, although it was still small in comparison to the pistachio reaction, so mum's banned Nutella from the house. I had reactions to brazilian nuts and pecans, but not to walnuts or coconuts. So I still can't eat snowballs, and Mum's told the relatives who like to make snowballs to have Mum and Dad eat at THEIR house, instead of here. Mum and Dad have decided to have an allergy-free zone. No one is to bring any of those nuts into the house. At all.

Now, on to other news--I've given my two weeks notice to my job, which, if I'm lucky, will leave me with an empty two weeks to have fun and to write before I have to go back to University. I've made a fair amount of money, or at least more so than McDonald's, but now that the end is coming, I'm horribly impatient, to the point where I'm tempted to call in sick before every shift. Not that I do so (I tried it, when I was actually, really sick, and was forced to come in anyways because we had two preview screenings and it was raining outside--a sure sign people will come to movies).

Also, I'm now addicted to Shojo Beat, a manga periodical, much like the girl's version of Shonen Jump. I'd bought issues #1 and #2 at Animethon, and soon subscribed, but found out that issue #3 is now out, and, frightened that my subscription might start after #3, I've gone out to find it. So far, nobody has it. Shonen Jump is everywhere from Chapters to Comic King, but Shojo Beat is not. It's a new magazine (started in July), so the bookstores that carry Shonen Jump either haven't yet subscribed to Shojo Beat, or have sold out. Gah! If I don't get #3 I'm missing out on the stories!

I've mentioned several times, to you readers, just how much of a waste of money I consider manga to be. I've said that it's expensive (15$-20$ a book), and it doesn't take that long to read. Well, you have no idea how interesting and economical Shojo Beat can be. Every month, I'll get a thick volume that contains one chapter from 6 different mangas. They all started at the same time, and every month they show the next chapter. I like all the mangas in Shojo Beat right now (especially Absolute Boyfriend), and, at 8$ a volume (shelf price), it's a great deal less expensive than a book, even though you're getting the same amount of material.

When I go to the University today to transfer onto the LRT to get to my job, first I'm going to check out the convenience stores at the University, just to make sure they have (or don't have) it.


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