The throat-swelling roll

The 'throat-swelling' roll

I’ve been eating sushi for years.  I love sushi.  I have eaten sush with my wife, Jan.  I have eaten it with my children; in fact, for my daughter’s fourth birthday, she wanted nothing so much as ‘sushi, sushi, sushi!’

I’ve had sush in Japan, for crying out loud!  I love spicy tuna rolls, nigiri, salmon and roe, soft-shell crab, tuna and salmon and eel sashimi and so many others.  I even eat the daggum seaweed salad!  I’m a devotee’!

So what’s up?  I’m eating sushi at home that spent one night in the fridge, and BOOM, my throat swells up and I can barely swallow my secretions.  I’m hoarse.  I’m trying to figure out how to do my own cricothyroidectomy without freaking out my wife and children, even as I’m frantically searching for the epi-pen we bought last summer (that may or may not still be useful as my airway slowly squeezes shut!)  My children keep asking ‘are you OK?’  And I, with my diminishing voice and sense of doom, have to keep answering ‘I’m fine’ without losing my cool.

(As an aside, in support of sushi, I’ve had similar events before with food that I think had a preservative on it which caused throat swelling.  Pre-packaged sushi and frozen fish from grocery stores have caused me some smaller degrees of similar discomfort.)

Fortunately, Jan took me to the ER, calm as she has always been in the many, mini crises of my life with her.  While I sat in our doctor’s lounge like a kind of ‘stealth, double-secret patient’, my partner, the most excellent and capable Dr. Mike Scott ordered IV decadron and subcutaneous epinephrine.  Nurses Nancy Rust and Renee Duncan administered my medications with their normal levels of professionalism, skill and compassion (even though I’m sure they wanted to make fun of me).

While my throat began to return to a normal diameter, Jan effectively cleaned out my entire locker and mail-box, which had attained legendary levels of messiness and a nearly 1/1 ratio of spoiled food to unanswered mail.  (My wife organizes chaos to keep herself calm.)

In about one hour, we went home home,  gathered the children and went to a birthday celebration for

Served with Sushi!

Served with Sushi!

one of my nephews.  But it’s good to be a patient sometimes.  In the process, I realized how terrible it feels to have difficulty breathing.  I realized how wonderful it is to be treated urgently and compassionately.  And I came to the startling, very sad conclusion, that maybe I should give sushi a wide-berth for a while.  Otherwise, I might end up with a reaction even worse than the first.

At the party, I had ribs.  Oh the humanity!

Wishing you sushi dreams and a fully patent airway…


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