Thursday, August 7, 2014

I Ate a Banana

That’s all I did.

Of course, I did have my normal breakfast not long before that -- a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats with milk, along with a bowl of strawberries and blueberries.

I eat the cereal because I like it. I eat the strawberries and blueberries because I believe they can offset the damage done by decades of Dorito binging. While I wouldn’t say I was the least healthy eater in the world, a steady intake of chicken wings, pizza, Quarter Pounders with Cheese, fries and potato chips doesn’t necessarily qualify as a healthy diet. I’m fairly certain the blueberries are compensating for all of that now.

Oh, I also drank water and took the usual vitamins, if you want a complete breakfast inventory from the morning of the great banana incident.

In fairness to the banana, my skin already was slightly itchy when I woke up that morning, but it was after eating the banana sometime around 10:00AM that my immune system shifted into overdrive. Red bumps formed in my armpits within minutes of discarding the peel and, soon after, that familiar tightness in the throat joined the party.

Trust me when I tell you nothing gets your attention faster than a restricted airway. It doesn’t hurt, but it is most definitively unnerving. One minute you’re fine, and the next you find yourself gagging on your own uvula and wheezing like a ninety-year-old chain-smoking coal miner with a collapsed lung.

Fortunately, I’ve had only one reaction so severe that I seriously considered calling 911 and it was a long time ago. My troubles in recent years have been comparatively mild, resulting in only slight restriction of the trachea and a few hives that hang around just long enough to remind me how uncomfortable hives can be.

I wish I could identify my triggers, which would enable me to avoid those things that set off an allergic reaction. Whenever I’ve broken out, there’s never been an obvious culprit, except for that one time I ate gumbo chock full of crabs and clams. They might not have caused my lips to swell, but they’re nasty and that’s enough reason for me to blame them. Unfortunately, I’m not entirely certain I have identifiable triggers. It is an understood fact that there are times when the immune system, just for poops and giggles, decides to respond to an allergen that isn’t there, flooding the body with mast cells itching for a fight with a foe they can’t find. And that’s the most annoying part of it – not knowing what to avoid, or whether avoiding anything will make any difference anyway.

So, maybe it was the banana.

Maybe it was the combined effect of the banana and the strawberries.

Maybe it was the lethal combination of the 5:45AM cycle class, the healthy cereal and the fruit, with the banana serving as the final nail in the coffin.

Perhaps all that healthiness is the root cause. I’m starting to think I might need to return to the dietary patterns of my unenlightened, halcyon youth. After all, I can’t recall the last time Doritos made my throat close up.

© 2014 Mark Feggeler

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