Friday, February 27, 2009

Taken for granted - part two

 Sure enough, this afternoon I ended up taking my last anti-histamine pill.

This is what happened. Last night the family member preparing our meal served up:
steak pie from a packet
sausage (one)

Hungry as I was, I declined the sausage and the broccoli but could not resist the steak pie. Then today I went to a working lunch. I had thought this event was sorted. Sandwiches are produced including a plate for me, made up of cheese and lettuce or maybe plain tuna and lettuce. It is meant to be plain tuna - no mayonnaise or sauce. Today it was half and half so I gladly ate some tuna sandwiches.

Someone had sprinkled pepper on the tuna - maybe they were trying to poison me, it was a working lunch after all. If so, they nearly succeeded. My lip swelled, my tongue swelled, my nose dripped. Then my leg started itching and at that point I dived for the anti-histamine. Sadly my montelukast ran out a couple of days ago and I am waiting for a repeat prescription. Now I feel rotten.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Taken for granted

This what happens when everything is under control. My family meals are low-salicylate and external catering is reasonably well managed. I've got some level of tolerance which means I can now drink wine and take part in meals produced by other people.

Mostly my skin is a lot better in spite of the occasional flare up of red spots on my tummy and arms. And my digestion is not too bad. Sometimes I eat things which look okay and realise there is, say, pepper or ginger in them. That makes me a little bit hoarse and maybe makes the nose run a bit.

I've got used to living with a stuffy nose, technically known as chronic non-allergenic rhinitis.

So what's the problem? Well because we are living with the condition and it gets taken for granted and my tolerance levels have improved, I've notice that friends and family are much less likely to cook fish. I cook it and eat it at every opportunity because not only does it reduce obvious symptoms, it makes me a feel a lot better. And because, as I discovered, the salicylates do not react with the omega-three in fish, it really does improve tolerance levels. But others prefer to eat meat and find handling fish fiddly and inconvenient.

At least I'm spared the refrain of "why don't you try this?" - which so misses the point.

I don't think I should be living with a stuffy nose and occasional flare-ups of rash. I still don't know what it does although the best bet seems to be that it is the first stage of Samter's Triad. And if I am occasionally getting hoarse, it means in fact I am living on the edge and things could easily spiral out of control.


Sunday, February 15, 2009


I'm fairly confident I've shaken the virus off now. I know because I started itching all over yesterday and all the little red spots have appeared on my skin. In other words I overdosed on high salicylate food - probably because I've been indulging in white wine again over the weekend following two days of drinking redbush tea.

As other people have tended to linger for a couple of weeks and develop hacking coughs this suggests that either a) it was not a very dangerous virus at all or
b) that I've shaken it off in record time and that there continues to be a plus side to having a hyperactive immune system.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Kill or cure?

 I drank a pint of redbush tea yesterday. It is wonderful stuff. It lifts the mood, clears the head and most importantly kick starts the immune system. As it contains some salicylate - we don't know how much - I cannot normally drink it. But because of the salicylate it seems to be just the thing when I'm fighting a virus.

The immediate impact is alarming when you have a sore throat and hoarse voice. I start coughing (thankfully this virus has not caused much coughing). But I did not choke and after a while started to feel better.

By the end of the day there was a slight rash reappearing on my body but it had gone by the morning.

Last night I took a paracetamol before going to bed and slept for about ten hours. No camomile tea.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Camomile and paracetamol

I drank a cup of camomile tea before going to bed with a view to sleeping long and late and trying to shake off this bug. Camomile is okay and in the past I have found this herb makes me really sleepy.

It didn't seem to work. Sleep was restless and at 7am I woke in terrible pain with my upper right chest on fire. So much for camomile. I got up and took a paracetamol (that's acetaminophen in the USA) with a glass of water and succeeded in getting back to sleep, staying in bed until late morning. I still have a terrible throat, a sporadic dry cough and a gummed up stomach but my chest is not too bad.

Today I am drinking redbush tea as I did when I had the cold before Christmas. My skin is not too bad at the moment so I can probably tolerate it and it is by far the most refreshing hot drink in these conditions.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009


 I'm not sure if my weekend excesses were responsible but today I woke up and discovered the dreaded flu bug had struck - seemingly out of the blue. My voice was all but gone and my shoulders and upper chested ached. I thought something was wrong after the weekend when I did indulge in quite a bit of wine. At the time I seemed not to suffer any ill-effects but I began to get uncomfortable by Monday. Now it seems it was a virus gestating.

I took two montelukasts over the weekend, the first in some time. I wonder whether they weaken the immune system. Whatever has happened, on this occasion my once hyperactive immune system has not saved me.

I've just eaten a Bakewell tart to get my blood sugar levels up and wake me up to do this entry. It contains jam and coconut. Based on my experience with my first cold before Christmas, I might have hoped not to suffer reactions because of the virus infection. Not this time. I think it's just aggravated the discomfort in my throat.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Another test

Another big test this weekend as I attend a dinner that I have been to in early February for several years now. The last two years have been miserable, picking at highly prepared food and grabbing for bread rolls to try to fill my stomach whilst watching everyone else consuming copious bottles of wine.

Now I'm looking forward to enjoying some white wine myself and being a little merrier in conversation. So far the year is going well, my tolerance levels remain high and we are managing my diet sensibly. Cutting down the amount of chocolate I was eating seems to have helped, as does eating lots of fish. I'm probably taking montelukast no more than once a week now, usually when I know I will have to partake of commercial catering. If fish is served I can then tolerate a small amount of pepper and whatever other herbs are used.