Last week, carrots tried to kill me.
I’ve always been very aware of my super weird allergies/sensitivities to apples, carrots, and many others natural foods. From the time I was about 24, most people thought I was faking it just to get out of eating my fruits and vegetables. But they couldn’t ignore the fact that when I ate a carrot, my lips would get itchy. And if the actor I was playing opposite had an apple with lunch before we rehearsed the kissing scene, my face would get all red and swollen with hives. Eventually I figured out that I most likely had Oral Allergy Syndrome, which basically means that because I have really bad seasonal allergies to birch trees specifically, raw tree fruits (apples, peaches, pears, plums) and raw root vegetables (carrots, celery, beets) are not very fun to eat. As long as these foods were processed in any way, they were completely edible and there was no irritation.
So because of that, I’ve had no issue with smoothies or juices, or anything else I would eat to try and make up for the nutrition I was missing. Tropical fruits, great. All forms of lettuce? Awesome. It was just those raw apple slices in a salad or the couple of carrot sticks I ate with my buffalo wings that caused a problem.
Imagine my surprise when this past Tuesday, while drinking carrot juice (THAT I HAVE DRANK MANY TIMES BEFORE, thank you), my lips started to feel that familiar itch. I was in a music rehearsal for a reading, and when it became clear that my eyes were starting to swell, I left the room and took a Zyrtec. Approximately three minutes later, my eyes were almost swollen shut and the brilliant people in charge of this rehearsal (shout out to Eric, Will, Marc and Joel!) had called 911. The ambulance took about 10 minutes to arrive and in that time, my tongue swelled up to the size of my mouth, my breathing canal was getting thinner, and I could no longer speak. The tips of my fingers were starting to tingle and go numb, and all I could do was lay my head on Will, drool and concentrate on breathing. Apparently the EMTs were cute, so obviously I threw up on one of them. They gave me all sorts of epinephrine and Benadryl and steroids and morphine, loaded me into the ambulance (after carrying me down two flights of stairs on a folding chair) and rushed me to the emergency room.
I stayed the night in the ICU and got a constant stream of drugs for about 24 hours. No news to me, but you should know that my friends are amazing. From the one who went to my house, got me new clothes, and took my pukey jeans home AND WASHED THEM FOR ME (thank you Lindsay!), to the one who came as soon as she heard what happened (Danielle!), to the ones who watched over me every minute until my husband could get there (Andrew & Mike, you guys). My husband left his fancy TV show set in Chicago as soon as he heard and flew home for about 12 hours, just to see me and kiss my big duck lips. Guys, I literally looked like an entire episode of “Botched.”
And my parents, who I of course delivered the news to with a phone call that started, “Don’t freak out,” leaving them to freak out, as parents do. They kept in constant contact with me until they could come the next day and help me out of the hospital. I’m pretty sure they were way more worried than they showed, but they kept their cool about everything.
Not to mention my best friends/sisters who received my texts and scary swollen face pictures with the proper amounts of concern and humor. Pam, Kat, Heather & Julie, you help me find the humor in anything.
It didn’t actually hit me what a shock my body went through, or how much it was going to affect my physically until a day later. I actually left the hospital and went to an audition like an idiot. By that time, my husband was back in Chicago and I was trying to be myself at rehearsal while hiding my shaky hands and pinspot vision. I got out of breath every time I tried to sing. When it came to being “on” and “Patti!” I could fake it until the cows came home. It was only when I went home that I asked what I was doing and who I was doing it for.
So for the next week, I’m going to do an exercise in putting myself first and see how it feels. As an actor, I feel like that’s the only thing I ever do, but what I’ve actually been doing is putting my career self first. Not my actual self. My priorities have been:
- Patti Murin!!!
So it’s time to stop. Look, I’m well aware that I am incredibly lucky to eat whatever junk food I want and still be naturally skinny. I’ve felt guilty about this, because most females don’t tend to be quiet about their jealousy, and because I’ve made myself feel bad about it, like it’s something I don’t deserve. This guilt has forced me to eat more “healthy” foods, even if they make my lips itch. Better itchy lips than the death stare of someone eating a salad while I shove fries in my face, right?
NO. So I say, fuck vegetables. They may be healthy for other people, but to me they are just a little crunchy army of murderers. I embrace my weird quirks and this lot I have been given in life. People almost die every day because they’re trying to be “healthier.” I will do what I can to feel good about in my own body and skin, but I won’t conform anymore. I like ice cream too much.
And I am back on the road to recovery now, equipped with an EpiPen everywhere I go. Thank you in advance for your well wishes. Just don’t send flowers. I’m allergic to them.