Yes, that coffee thing. That allergy that came on abundantly and changed my life. The one that forced me to leave an industry I loved. That thing that has kept Jeff and I from visiting local restaurants, attending shows and events for the last four years. The one that has kept me grounded for fear of being trapped at 30,000 feet unable to breath as those around me were being served coffee. Its the allergy that changed my life.
Yesterday I entered a doctors office in hopes that he had a secret treatment that would make it all good. I filled out a few forms and was ushered into a room. The doctor had brought coffee from home to which I added beans of my own. I was given instruction on breathing, eye movement and a few other requirements. We practiced a few times; I couldn’t help but laugh as I worked diligently to follow his instructions.
My mom, daughter and I have an issue following instructions given to us by doctors. Something happens when we hear these instructions. It’s as if we suddenly forget which is our left and right and what direction is up or down; we begin breathing as if we’ve never done it before. I was so preoccupied with: stand here, head straight, eye’s up, deep breath, eyes down, arm out….that I did not realize the importance of the moment.
We made it through once with no change, twice with a little change and on the third time, my world changed. The two symptoms that have plagued me for four years, loss of voice and the ability to breath, disappeared. I could see it in his eyes as the doctor watched the changes I was experiencing. His expression was priceless. I stood there breathing in deep clear breaths and speaking in an almost perfect voice. I then stayed in this small room which was now filled with the amazing aroma of coffee for 45 minutes with no effects. At one point I inquired, “You do smell coffee, right?”
“Yes,” was the reply, “It smells like Starbucks in here!”
“I’m in shock,” I said in a clear voice. “Not only can I speak but my chest is not tight and I’m breathing normally.”
He shrugged his shoulders, grinning ear to ear, “We’ll just say it worked again!”
I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. If this hell was over for even a few minutes – it was worth it. I couldn’t possible begin to think that perhaps it was gone for good.
I called Jeff and when he didn’t answer I simply texted, “It worked!” to his response, “Seriously?” I stopped at a friends house and upon entering her kitchen asked where she kept her coffee. “Why,” she asked with big eyes. I didn’t say anything, just opened the container, took a big whiff and said in a clear voice, “I worked!” She put her hands to her face as her eyes began to fill with tears. I had missed her surprise birthday party two years ago because I could enter the restaurant where it was held.
Next week the doctor and I are going to do it again. Before that I will be attending a manager’s meeting. It’s possible that I will actually be able to be to have breakfast with the group instead of sitting in my room waiting for the text informing me that the coffee has been removed and I can come down. Maybe, just maybe I won’t have to stand in the hallway trying to listen through the crack in the door ever again.
I still don’t know if I should laugh or cry…