My holiday weekend (it was the Fourth of July, here in the US), ended with a bit more excitement than I had planned for. Saturday night when I went to bed around 11:00pm I noticed that my eyelids were just a little bit swollen. I’ve had a ongoing issue with some yet to be determined ingredient that is apparently quite prevalent in facial moisturizers. I had tried a new product earlier in the day, so I applied a little of the ointment I use when this rears it’s ugly head and went to bed.

Three hours later, I woke up and could tell with the first blink of my eyes that something was wrong. A trip to the bathroom mirror revealed that not only were my eyelids swollen, but also pretty much the enitre middle of my face from the bridge of my nose down to my upper lip. It was also bright red.

I weighed my options (after appropriately freaking out, of course). Wait until a clinic opened in about 5 hours. Search the medicine cabinet for some Benedryl and see if I could get things under control. Go to the emergency room. Option one didn’t particularly seem right, if I had gone from a little swelling to full blown red-balloon face in three hours, what could happen in another five? Option two, was pretty much a non-starter, because even if I had Benedryl the likelihood of it not being expired was nil. So that left only option three. After a call to the 24-hour nurse hotline provided by my insurance (I can be just a little bit stubborn about these things), I asked my sweet husband to drive me to the ER. At 2:30 on a Sunday morning.

The ER closest to my house is the trauma center for the area and I knew that swollen face with (most thankfully) no impaired breathing would not score me a place at the front of the line. There’s nothing like being at the bottom of the triage list to give you a little perspective.

Sure it took a number of hours for me to be seen and yes, I would rather have been pretty much any where else. But there was nothing at all I could do about my sudden allergic reaction. If my symptoms had worsened, it was the best possible place to be. Walking across the waiting area to tell the nurse it’s gotten hard to breath, takes 30 seconds compared to the 10 minutes it would take to get there by car (or probably even ambulance). That 9 minutes 30 seconds might have made all the difference.

Above and beyond that, I’m thankful that my Saturday night didn’t end with a broken ankle (but if it had to, I hope my friend would have splinted it with a magazine and brought me to the ER, too). I’m grateful that I didn’t cut my hand very badly by slamming it in a car door. I’m thankful that I walked in of my own accord and wasn’t brought in by the police. And I’m thankful I’m not addicted. Or angry.

While there are a lot of lists it would be nice to be at the top of, I’ll accept my place at the bottom of the early Sunday morning ER triage list with great gratitude.

Have you found perspective in unexpected places this week?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!  (Also, I’m doing just fine now, thanks! And trust, I won’t be straying from my fragrance/dye/wax-y stuff/yellow-#5 free lotion again any time soon.)

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