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Aaarrg! Health...the fight to stay alive

by Ron Holdraker
July 15, 2022

Regular readers know I am lucky to be alive.

I got whacked by a car many years ago, resulting in two serious neck surgeries, lots of recovery pain and a metal bridge in my neck.

Then, there was that time they accidentally overdosed me while at the hospital; I still have semi-vivid memories of being surrounded by nurses and doctors trying to revive me.

Yes, I have had 43(?) various body parts under the knife, two cases of   pneumonia, one case of cancer and every morning and night I take a regime of pills that I cannot pronounce, with various side effects.

I have two total knee replacements and very often I am required to get blood tests for some/any of the dozen assorted/different doctors whose names and numbers are posted on the office wall.

Oh, don’t forget the rheumatoid arthritis. (Saw that doctor on Wednesday also) Other than the above, I am a picture of health.

Oh, and every year like clockwork, I get poison ivy just being in the neighborhood of the stuff. This results in massive itching, oodles of sprays, cream, and more prescription medication. Yes, I have it now.

Okay, so Wife Patti and yours truly watch a lot of cooking shows. When something of interest and not too much talent to prepare it, appears, of course we give it a whirl. Sometimes with success, sometimes a complete and utter failure.

This leads us to Wednesday night. Wife Patti decides to make me a steak with assorted ingredients in a rub pre-applied to the meat. This, a salad and baked potato were served, as per the TV show. She runs out and buys the ingredients and carefully, methodically follows the instructions.

The presentation is superb and is laid out in front of a willing face. The first gulp goes down, then the second. Then it happens.

I feel a burning in my chest, followed by burps, belches, watery eyes, nasal discharges, sweating, runny nose and an overall yucky sensation.

Wife Patti immediately tells me to swallow some water, or something, thinking this awkward feeling will surely pass quickly and I can continue my review.

That doesn’t happen. She sees the distressed face as an attempt to reply that drinking water, or whatever is not the answer.

I push the plate away and for the next 20 minutes, or so just survive  the belching and burning sensation. For a few minutes we were both really concerned. Should an ambulance be called? Trust me, I am no stranger to  ambulance rides.

“Should I save the steak,” inquires my bride? A “What the hell’ look informs her, probably not. She enjoys a few chews of the beef, without a beef.

Sometime later she retreats to the office and later discovers I suffered some sort of allergic response to the food.

Come to find out, I am one in billions who is probably allergic to one of the new spices she purchased and coated the meat with.

Wife Patti goes down the list of allergic reactions. “Yup, you had that one, that one, that one. Yup, you fit the bill for allergic reactions to the spice,” she proclaimed.

The spice was coriander, used as a culinary addition, with other uses as a fragrance in cosmetics and soaps. It is used by some as a type of medicine for a long list of ailments, mostly unproven.

According to the WebMD site: When taken by mouth: Coriander is LIKELY SAFE when taken in food amounts. It is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken in larger amounts as medicine. Coriander can cause allergic reactions. Symptoms of such reactions can include asthma, nasal swelling, hives, or swelling inside the mouth.

Ahh, yes, that pretty well describes what I went through. The description goes on. “When applied to the skin: Coriander is POSSIBLY SAFE when used appropriately. It can cause skin irritation and itching.” Just what I needed with the current plague of poison ivy.

Needless to say, this was NOT one of the culinary success stories. Still, Wife Patti insists on keeping the spice on the shelf.

Please Note: If I die unexpectedly (?) and a woman you now know cashes in on a certain life insurance policy, please have the autopsy look for excessive coriander in the body tissue and call the appropriate authorities. 

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