I was hungover, but I wasn’t that hungover.
I tottered into the kitchen in search of food and coffee. There was soup, potato creme, just finished. Still steaming. I hungrily gulped down two bowls, splashed some water on my face, and went back to the wagon to read.
Laying in bed, Tropic of Cancer open in front of me, that’s when my face started to swell in large red blotches all over my chin. One eye was already red and swollen from a piece of fuzz I’d rubbed into it upon waking and that Coffee had plucked out of my eye with dirty fingers. The other rose to join it. I had noticed that the skin on my chin felt tight, dry I thought. So I put on some lotion. We don’t keep a mirror out.
I noticed first in the faces of the others who saw me. They looked horrified. I got a mirror. Red puffy blotches distorted my face. My neck was covered with the red itchy bumps that have been appearing and disappearing regularly for weeks now on my stomach and arms. I laid back down and tried not to panic. Then my throat started to tighten.
The doctor said I got there just in time. It’s the sort of thing doctors say. I’d already been in the waiting room for an hour, and my throat had felt better since I’d thrown up while someone ran to find out where the nearest doctor’s office is. Just in time for him to charge me 50 some euros for fifteen minutes of his time before closing.
He did give me some allergy pills though. Said I was obviously having an allergic reaction. Said the inside of my mouth was covered with red spots too. I don’t need to pay an expert to tell me these things. But I needed him to get to the medicine. He didn’t even ask me what it was I had eaten. The health care system doesn’t make any fucking sense.
I suspect soy (though it appears to be only certain brands of soy) and am going to try to test this theory out in the coming weeks (allergy pills on hand). I went cold turkey on soy and haven’t had a single bump since. Soy sauce and tempeh appear to have no effect. Other ingredients in the soup: potatoes, garlic, green beans, salt, pepper, lemon grass. If it comes down to suffocating or remaining alive, sure, I’ll go to the allergist. But I have some major problems with the way modern (re: mainstream) medicine is organized and implemented, and I’d rather avoid it for all but the worst cases, especially since I don’t have one of those little plastic cards that say someone else will be footing the bill.
The point of all this is to ask all you readers, in your diverse and eclectic wisdom, if any of you have any experience with allergists, soy allergies, or anything that could be remotely useful/of interest to me in figuring this one out myself (alternative medicine, herbs, etc etc). Cheers.