Allergic Reaction or Lip Injections?

Lily Newland

My family and I went out to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory for my cousin’s sixteenth birthday earlier this September. With the pressure on in school, that night was the one thing I had been looking forward to all week. Everything was going well; we had a large party, so the adults and the kids sat separately. Nonetheless we were all enjoying each other’s company. I hadn’t ordered an appetizer and the service was a bit slow, so I was glad when the adults passed down what was left of their plates. I tried some of the crab cakes and the stuffed mushrooms, not thinking anything of it. Little did I know what was to come in the next few hours. My brother and I were talking, when all of the sudden I felt a distinct tingling in my upper lip. I ignored it, but it kept bothering me and my lip started to swell, and before I knew it, it was growing with every passing minute. I had never been diagnosed with any allergies.

At first, nobody really noticed except for the few people around me and I made a joke of it, because frankly it was pretty funny. Things took a more serious turn; I was starting to look like I just came fresh out of the specialist’s for lip injections. At this point Benadryl became a necessity and my mom was too preoccupied by the talk and food to really care enough, so off my brother and I went to the Rite Aid just down the block.

I still found the whole thing hysterical but now my brother wasn’t even laughing. As soon as we got to the counter the pharmacist took one look at me and immediately brought me a vile of Benadryl, said not to worry about the cost and to purchase an extra dosage if the swelling did not reside within the next half hour. We returned to the restaurant, everyone was finishing up their dinners so I made an attempt to eat mine but my issue was only getting worse. I was kind of freaking out at this point so we made it clear to my mom that something had to be done. She called 911.

As embarrassing as it was, now it looked like the freak show was in town. I couldn’t breathe for about two minutes, and my mom overreacted and called for an ambulance, I protested, but of course it came anyway. It was quite theatrical, with the bystanders puzzled looks, curious to see what all the hype was about. When the ambulance arrived I felt pathetic because at this point I believe the Benadryl started to kick in and my breathing returned to normal, although my lip still was a monstrosity. They even made me sit and get strapped to the gurney. When we got to the hospital it was protocol for me to get taken in on a wheelchair (how ridiculous), then we waited a little while and I talked to a few doctors and nurses, took a handful of pills, and within a few hours we were on our way home.

Thank goodness my older brother took my allergic reaction seriously because all of the adults, including my mom, pretty much just ignored the fact that I look like one of the Beverly Hills Housewives until 911 was called. The whole night was kind of a comical nightmare, but as mom always says “better safe than sorry.”