Death by Nut

By Samuel Willis

Hey, guys! Senior Samuel Willis here. Would you believe me if I told you that I could very well be dead right now? Ok, you probably would. Well, what if I told you that I could have died – no, that I almost did die – approximately 7 days prior to writing this? Okay, you probably still believe me but I at least sparked your curiosity (hopefully. Otherwise, you are cruel, cruel people).

You see, I happen to have a rather large arsenal of allergies. Essentially, there is a myriad of ways you could kill me without resorting to lethal poisons or weapons. The primary such way being my one allergy that sends me into anaphylactic shock (look it up) pretty much instantaneously – which would be an allergy to the rare Brazil nut. This seed (not technically a nut) has been found guilty of attempted murder multiple times – with me being one of its targets – and yet it just keeps coming back.

You can see where I’m going with this now, can’t you?

Last week, I woke up with an unfortunate issue with my neck. After surviving through the school day, I went to visit my chiropractor. After he fixed me up, I was offered some energy bar samples, and warned that 3 out of the 4 sample types were likely to have nuts (this is rather predictably going to be a problem). Naturally, I had no qualms with eating the one that didn’t have nuts in it – except that it totally did.

Almost immediately after eating the sample, my throat began to feel strange – and I knew that I was having an allergic reaction. However, like I said before, I have quite a collection of allergies and this one seemed to be minor, so I really wasn’t worried (a problem in hindsight). I dismissed it and left the building, asking my mother (who was with me at the time) if we could get a drink of water. We stopped by a store in search for a drink of water, but by then it was clear that the reaction was much worse than assumed. The seed then proceeded to attempt my obliteration from the inside-out through a variety of symptoms, including: my face and eyes swelling to the point at which I appeared blind (I could see though!), every single part of my face being filled with mucous (it’s just as bad as it sounds, though it did exclude my air-pipe thankfully), and several other unpleasant things. I was not scared, ironically, as I had experienced previous allergic reactions in which I couldn’t even breathe, so as long as I could breathe, I felt I was fine.


This was the face of someone who was perfectly fine.

After seeing the shape I was in, and that I was getting worse, my mom insisted that we go to the hospital. I resisted (I’m not fond of hospitals… or medicine for that matter) but it’s hard to properly resist when you look like you’re dying and you sound incoherent (I now understand the zombie’s plight). I ultimately ended up going to the hospital, where I was rushed to the ER. When asked my weight (to know the quantity of drugs to put in me), the doctor didn’t believe me and weighed me anyway, only to find that I was indeed just over 120 pounds. After I gave my obligatory incoherent, “I told you so,” I was sat down on a chair. I personally was surprised at how similar the ER looked to something in the movies, but I suppose that there is some truth in television. Anyway, those of you who are squeamish about needles may want to stop reading. If you’re curious, I get better.

It was decided that I would be hooked up to an IV and pumped full of a variety of things, including but probably not limited to: Benadryl, Prednisone, steroids, and albuterol. However, they had to get the needle in my arm before that, something that was difficult because apparently I have very tough skin on my arms (you would not think so from looking at me). After several attempts at stabbing me in the arm with a sharp object, they finally succeeded – and I felt the effects begin to kick in. Despite all of the drugs in my system, I managed to keep mental coherence, except now I sounded not just like a zombie, but a sleepy zombie (is that even possible?). The positive side of this: the effects that had up until then been getting worse immediately began to recede. The negative side: I was now half-asleep and a little bit freaked out. I could feel my heart rate slowing (on second thought, it might have been accelerating. It’s hard to tell…), and my body was beginning to shake like a madman. What followed were several minutes of me trying to reassure everyone that I was fine when I did not sound fine at all, and of course the allergy effects were subsiding as I slowly became more and more tired. After the IV was taken out and the staff left, I fell asleep. I spent pretty much the rest of the day either asleep or travelling back home, and I was still feeling the effects the following day. I spent that day recovering from the effects of the drugs in a tired haze.


This is me with the IV in. As you can see, swelling has receded.

And might I remind you that all of this was caused by a little bit of cashew butter that had been processed in the same plant as a brazil nut and then was used to flavor an energy bar?

Maybe I should just avoid food samples from now on…


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