Am I allergic to friends?

Piano pills

When I had a friend take me to the hospital, I said, “If we have to pay for parking, I’ll pay.”

“No,” she said, “we don’t have to pay. I’m worried that you won’t be able to breathe so we should get there fast.”

When her car slows at the entrance, she’s looking at the front windshield and says, “Well, Grace, this is as far as I can go.”

I thought coming to the hospital meant they would be with me.

“Okay,” I say.

“Let me know if you need anything,” she says.

I leave the car as it’s pouring rain. Maybe she’s hungry. We hadn’t eaten all day. Or maybe there’s a lot of germs in the ER and she doesn’t want to get sick.

The hospital emergency room is very fancy, they give you a heated blanket. This like is a hotel with medical care. where are the beeping machines and rushing gurneys?

The receptionist says, “Do you want to leave an emergency contact?”

“Uhm,” I says. I could put that friend’s name who drove me, but realistically would they care if I had a heart attack, if they literally just left me at the hospital? I put Pan’s name.

I have to repeat my symptoms to a lot of people and it’s a bit embarrassing. I don’t want them to think I’m contagious or anything. In fact, I diagnose myself so they don’t think I have smallpox.

“I think I have an allergic reaction,” I say.

I’m seen within 5 mins. They officially diagnose me within another 10. They say it’s serious.

A heated blanket lands in my lap, the bed is covered with cloth instead of paper, and I get a private room. When can I go home?

The doctor says, “You’re not driving home.”

“Oh,” I say. “Ok.”

“No,” he says. “I’m asking if you’re driving home.”

“Oh,” I say. “No, I’m not driving home.”

“How did you get here?”

“A friend drove me.”

“So they can drive you home.”

“Uh,” I say. “Yea.”

“I’m asking because this medication will make you very sleepy and you can’t drive.”

“Oh,” I say. “I won’t drive home.”


“Do you think the allergy will affect my hands?”

“Not permanently. But you will need a few more days of rest. You won’t get better today.”

He explains the prescriptions, asks if I have any more questions, then gets out of there. Between people entering my room, I text my friends so it feels like more people are concerned about my wellbeing.

Should I text my friend to come back to pick me up? She lives less than five mins away.

I spent the day shopping with her so she can get her first makeup and first dress. I showed her how to use makeup and hair products because it was important for her. She gained a lot of confidence. Towards the end of it I was starving and I still stayed. I was having an allergic reaction to something, so I didn’t want to eat anything that I didn’t personally cook.

In the evening, we did her makeup for two hours until I said I should go to the emergency room now. I had brought it up a few times but i had reached the end of my waiting.

I text her to ask for a ride home, and she says yes.

When I get in the car 45 mins later, my friend says, “I got lost. I went to the other entrance underground and I texted you but I don’t think I had signal.”

“That’s ok,” I say. “Thanks for coming.”

During the ride, she says, “I originally wanted some dessert but I realize you must be tired.”

“Oh,” I say. “You want more of my blueberry loaf? I can get you more.” I had baked some loaf and given her a slice this morning.

“If you’re too tired, it’s fine.”

“That’s ok.”

When I get upstairs, I give her two large slices which is more than half of what I have left. This loaf makes me popular. I tell her she can keep the container however long she needs.


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  • Reply Tamara September 10, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    Grace, are you okay? What did you have an allergic reaction to? I have a sesame allergy so I totally understand. I have all kinds of rules about going hungry rather than eating something that I don’t know what it is. You sound like you need some love. Here’s a hug from me! (O)

    • Reply Grace Lam September 10, 2019 at 1:13 pm

      Aw, thanks for this, Tamara. I had an allergic reaction to some medication I was prescribed. I didn’t know I had that allergy! And thank you for the hug. :)

  • Reply Cathy Therrien September 10, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    Hi Grace. Sending you a hug and hope your allergy symptoms go away soon. I can’t believe your ‘friend’ just dropped you off at the door and left. I would have gone in with you!

    • Reply Grace Lam September 10, 2019 at 1:21 pm

      Thank you!, Cathy I am taking a few more days of rest as I’ve still got the symptoms. I would’ve appreciated a friend in there!

  • Reply Rosie September 10, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    Oh, Grace, you’ve been through too much! Let’s hope things settle down. I’m sorry you were left alone to go into the emergency room, but glad you went under the circumstances of having a reaction. I understand the awkward discomfort of having to ask someone else for help. I’m glad it worked out for you.

    Since your hands were affected, is there any chance there could have been a reaction to some of the products in the lengthy exposure while teaching your friend?

    “Am I Allergic to Friends?” That’s an interesting proposition in your title. It could be a tongue-in-cheek, clever play on words and circumstances. Or, it’s not entirely far-fetched for the body speak in symptoms as a way of getting our attention about something not in our best interest. Imagine if the symptoms had words to speak to you. What would they be saying?

    Get some healing rest and take care. I hope you can eat more than those two pills soon!


    • Reply Grace Lam September 10, 2019 at 4:31 pm

      Thanks so much, Rosie! It’s been pretty rough. The symptoms are saying that my body is confused and angry! My brain is trying to ignore my body. :) Hopefully I’m already on the road to recovery. There’s no way to know as I was told my symptoms would get worst for a few days. Take care, I just had my first sandwich today!

      • Reply Rosie September 10, 2019 at 8:30 pm

        Hurray for your sandwich! Maybe that will reassure your confused and angry body. :)

  • Reply Suzanna September 10, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    Hi Grace,
    I hope you will feel better soon and that your hands are fine again.

    • Reply Grace Lam September 10, 2019 at 4:41 pm

      Thank you, Suzanna. I hope my hands are fine again soon, too!

    • Reply Susan September 10, 2019 at 7:45 pm

      What an ordeal :0. So sorry for your physical and mental discomfort. I am very sensitive to medications and have been in the emergency room more than once because of them myself. It’s scary and frustrating. I don’t take any new meds when my hubby’s out of town because I had to take an ambulance ride by myself one time because of a reaction.

      As for the person who took you to the emergency room and dropped you off, perhaps she hasn’t learned how to care for another yet. You might try talking with her when you have more space and tell her how scared you were and how much you would have appreciated her staying with you. She may still be narcissistic and unsympathetic, but maybe it’s a teacheable moment, lol.

      However, don’t be afraid to expect better care in the future. You are not being a burden when you ask for help that might inconvenience another. We are meant to help each other, and only those that are completely selfish or clueless don’t realize that.

      Perhaps it was never modeled for them. I know that I had to learn empathetic joy for another on my own because my parents always felt another person’s success was to their detriment. In fact, we were taught to feel bad about ourselves when someone else did better. Empathy and consideration for another doesn’t come naturally to all of us especially if other selfish or negative feelings are taught or modeled in their place.

      That isn’t to say you should feel responsible for another’s life journey and what inappropriate behaviors they learned along the way. But it may help to know that they may have their own extenuating circumstances for acting like a jerk.

      Take good care of yourself.

      • Reply Grace Lam September 11, 2019 at 8:10 am

        Thanks for that, Susan. Perhaps they never had to be in that situation so didn’t know how to act. I certainly wasn’t obsessed over having them come with me; with the urgency of the allergy, I was trying to get help asap. I think there is always the question of what is reasonable care to expect from another human. We hadn’t known each other long at all!

  • Reply be dazzled by LL September 10, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    Hola, I’m adhd, as well as highly on the autism spectrum, my top LL is acts of service, my second last would be quality time and last would be words of affirmation. I think you could have asked, “could you come in with me, please?” or communicated, “oh dear – i thought you’d be coming in with me”, or you could be pro-active about asking, “can you possibly pick me up after your afternoon errands”? Because your friend may have thought she had done all that was expected. We all have our own patterns of thinking. Concretely, none of the commenters contributed in troubling themselves as your friend did.

    • Reply Grace Lam September 11, 2019 at 8:13 am

      I’m assuming LL means Love Language, for anyone reading this. I believe my love language would be words of affirmation, which makes sense in the context of me being a writer. In any case, you’re right, I didn’t communicate that I wanted them to stay with me. Ultimately, I got a ride to the hospital and a ride back home.

  • Reply Kate Hofherr September 10, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    I love the community here on your site but am sorry Grace you had to go through this experience alone. You’ve had to do much alone lately and you’re amazing to observe as you share these experiences — even as painful as some of them are. I agree with Susan above — we are here on earth to help each other but some people just haven’t had it modeled for them so…we move forward hoping things change the next time God-forbid, something like this happens. Hope you’re healing up and those talented hands feel better soon! God bless you

    • Reply Grace Lam September 11, 2019 at 8:23 am

      Thanks for this, Kate. Sharing through writing has helped, because I can see situation laid out and when someone else reads it and comments, I can see what is wrong with it from their point of view that I didn’t consider. My hands are getting better today, but they are still not normal-looking. Hope I get my hands back soon!

  • Reply Mike September 11, 2019 at 10:15 am

    So sorry you’ve had a rough time Grace. Also glad it wasn’t worse. I think everyone has said most of what is sensible to say, so I won’t bore you. It’s been my experience that the sort of people that help and consider others the most get the least back. Maybe that’s because we can cope with it better.

    Get well soon please.

    • Reply Grace Lam September 11, 2019 at 6:54 pm

      Thank you, Mike, I hope I get better soon. I appreciate that you left a comment as well. :)

    What do you think?