Anaphylaxis

I told my wife, don’t eat the crab, remem­ber what hap­pened July 4th, but she shrugged, couldn’t resist.  Then she com­plained of feel­ing hot, light­head­ed.  Then the hives came.  Then she had trou­ble breath­ing.  So I gave her Benadryl, rushed her to the hos­pi­tal, told the scared kids, I’ll call.  I went through two red lights, want­ed some cred­it , but she wasn’t watch­ing.  Inside, the breathing’s bet­ter but still labored.  She’s seen imme­di­ate­ly.  Doctor came by, asked, why’s she eat­ing crab if she’s shell­fish aller­gic.  He had thick black glass­es.  His chis­eled physique and per­fect tan threw his career choice in your face.  We didn’t know, I said, omit­ting, do you think I’m stu­pid?  He asked about vom­it­ing, diar­rhea, anx­i­ety.  He men­tioned ana­phy­lax­is.  He asked about drug, bee, nut aller­gies.  The nurse admin­is­tered epi­neph­rine.  My wife had an elec­tro­cu­tion moment. Then she’s fine.  The nurse hooked up an IV, said, you should be fine.  Before call­ing home, I said, you look good now, but man that was scary.  Why am I hav­ing prob­lems now at 39?  I shook my head, looked at her.  She was scared, like the first time she was preg­nant.  I refrained from say­ing, I said don’t.  I remem­bered our wed­ding recep­tion.  I tast­ed the crab cake, pulled her from greet­ing peo­ple, said, you have to try.  And she did.  Now, I said, for­get crab, we’ll try oth­er things.  I wrapped my arms around her.

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Christian Bell lives near Baltimore, Maryland. His fic­tion has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Pindeldyboz, Skive Magazine, flashquake, Rumble Magazine, JMWW Quarterly, and Camroc Press Review, among oth­er places. He has a blog at imnotemilioestevez.blogspot.com.