Tag Archives: allergies

Visiting the Champagne Country + Moulin Rouge!

Monday, Sept 12, 2016 – Paris, Day 2

<– Previously, an action-packed day in Paris seeing Notre Dame, the D’Orsay Museum, and the Eiffel Tower at night

An Early Start

So we weren’t able to sleep in too much as I had booked us on a champagne day trip in Reims, which is located smack dab in the middle of Champagne Country.  But first we had to get to Reims on our own as the tour wasn’t a Paris-based one.  Hence we were going to get our first experience with the SNCF trains, but even before that we had to get to Gare de L’est by taking the subway.  After we got to the train station, we had enough time to grab a quick croissant at a vendor as we knew there was going to be lots of champagne ahead of us that day and it’s wise to not drink on an empty stomach.   Larry even did the ordering and used the advice of adding ‘si vous plais’ when doing so, as it drastically helps in getting the French to be nice.  The train ride there was very comfortable, as I had booked us in first class, and very smooth and VERY fast. Reims is quite a ways from Paris but via that train, it’s only 45 minutes. I love European trains.

Getting to Reims

paris-to-reimsI wanted to use this map to help give you a sense of how far away we were from Paris.  By car, it takes nearly 1 3/4 hours, but our high speed train made quick work of that in 45 minutes.  Nice!

Visiting our first champagne facility: G.H. Mumms

mumms-in-reimsIn Reims, we found our meeting point  at the tourism office and after waiting in the line there briefly, I looked back to see that our minivan group was waiting and we didn’t need to wait in the line. Our seats were up in the front as we were the last to arrive and it was a crazy wide Mercedes minivan.  Our host was a cute French/Brazilian guy who was not only our driver but also the tour guide for the day.  We got a quick drive-through tour of the city of Reims first, before heading to the Mumms factory in the city.   While waiting outside the facility for our tour to begin, we all got to meet each other.  There were 3 couples in addition to us, making a total of 8 people.

Once inside Mumms, we first watched a movie of their history, but after that, we then started walking throughout the vast complex that exists underground.  We learned about the various grapes used, the various bottle sizes, and just quite a bit of how champagne is made.   Some of the things I remember, others not, but that link is helpful.  Deeper underground, we got quite a cool tour of the workings, including walking around the huge underground city that is filled with endless rows of bottles and bottles.  We got to really see in practice the part of the process in which bottles of champagne are kept stored at various inverted angles. Continue reading Visiting the Champagne Country + Moulin Rouge!

Saturday at Home

Spent today staying indoors and away from the ridiculous October heat.  Successful!

  • Continued my studies for the PMP exam…my re-test is this upcoming Tuesday.  I’ve approached the studying a bit different especially knowing now what those 200 questions were like, first-hand.  Recognizing those things I was weak on and working better to memorize or distinguish those things.  I feel much better about my chances of passing.
  • Random update:  I had a food allergy attack yesterday, the first significant one I’ve had since that disastrous night having dinner with our neighbors last year.  We went out for Indian food for lunch at work yesterday, and I didn’t order anything that triggers any kind of warning bells in my head:  chicken tikka masala, white rice, and naan.  There was a Mulligatawany soup as an appetizer which I also had.  I’m figuring that perhaps some kind of nut had been ground up and put in the masala sauce?  Regardless, my first symptom was my bottom lip totally swelled up.  We got back to the office and that’s when my right eyelid swelled up.  Then I got hives on my neck and upper chest area as well as my armpits and finally my eye are just puffed out entirely.  GOOD TIMES.  Nicki thankfully went and got me some Benadryl as I stupidly let my supply run out.  I did have my Epi-Pen on me, but as my throat was NOT closing up, I decided not to use it.  So I drank a ton of water and took 2 Benadryl and I could feel my lip swelling going down, but the other stuff was just staying put.  I finally just decided to go home.  Back there, I laid peacefully on the chaise part of the sofa and read my book, eventually passing the fuck out.  I woke up and was all better.  UGH.  I still can’t tell what was the trigger.
  • I’m reading Gone Girl, the novel, on my Kindle before going to see the movie.  It’s a fascinating read.  You get presented with certain facets of the story of a wife who has gone missing and the husband is super suspicious, and then about halfway through, everything changes.  Very interested to see how the movie plays out, but I have to say that the casting of Ben Affleck as Nick is perfect;  Rosamund Pike is also pretty spot-on for Amy.
  • Stupid Diablo III….I’m addicted.  After upgrading my power supply in my PC, it runs perfectly and I’m just loving playing it.  I’ve also been playing Dishonored as I had intended, and that’s a ridiculously fun game too.
  • Larry & I watched Alien last night – I wanted to rewatch it as there’s an Alien videogame coming out soon that takes place between it and Aliens and I realized I hadn’t seen the first one in a really long time.  It’s a super spooky and fun space horror movie, that’s for sure.
  • Twin Peaks!!!  The word is that on Monday, the reveal will occur of what is actually happening… Please let it be a concluding set of episodes with the rescue of Dale Cooper.  PLEASE!!!

Oh, What a Night (& Day)!

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  PLENTY has happened, that’s for sure, but I just haven’t come back to the site for a bit.

Big Brother’s final few weeks have been mostly anti-climactic and a bit disappointing, which led to me abandoning my fairly good record of posting about the episodes.  I’ll do a final post about it separately though, in a few moments.

But man, do I have a story for this site!  Guess who got to go to the Emergency Room on Wednesday night?  ME!  It all started when we finally finally decided to have dinner with our very nice neighbors, who live in the other unit of the Los Feliz duplex we live in.   When planning the meal to make, we knew we were going to work with slightly healthier restrictions, including going with grass-fed, free-range meat.  No biggie, and that’s probably a better thing to do anyway.  So Larry found a tri-tip from Whole Foods that fit the bill, and then our neighbor agreed to bring her mac & cheese and a green veggie, which ended up being a garlicy brussels sprouts dish.

So the night began, and while both Larry & I were a bit nervous as while we really like our neighbors, the random and brief interactions you have with them are not the same as an extended, very small group setting.  Of course we drank a few to calm the nerves.  That certainly helped as it was so much fun just chatting with them when they came over.  They really are great.  We finished cooking and preparing the tri-tip on the grill and everyone sat down to what looked like a great dinner.  Then our neighbors tried to kill me.

Dramatic, much?  Alright, so they didn’t intentionally try to kill me, as I’m awesome, so why would you do that?  Here’s what happened:  I ate a few bites of both the brussels sprouts dish and the mac & cheese as I was very curious how they tasted and to see if I was going to enjoy brussels sprouts more than the time Larry made it.  I really wasn’t a fan back then and I’ve heard plenty of good things about their deliciousness.  And you know what?  That night’s dish WAS good!  But I started feeling a funny feeling in my mouth.  A bad funny feeling.  Larry worriedly asked our neighbor:  “um….are there any nuts in these dishes?”  OH FUCK.

Why, yes, there were nuts in those dishes.  In the brussel sprouts dish, yummy chopped walnuts.  In the mac & cheese, almond milk.  The double jackpot!

Thoughts After the Fact:  Seriously, I can NOT believe I was so not my typical self about food.  I ALWAYS annoyingly check with whomever if there are nuts in a dish.  I have to.  Allergic reactions are not pleasant but I usually recognize the symptoms immediately and stop eating whatever and drink a ton of water to flush my system.  That usually works.  This time?  Not so much.

Back to Wednesday night, I immediately realize that I’d been ignoring the symptoms a bit but now I am feeling them quite momentously.  I head to the bathroom to try to drink water.  The symptoms aren’t going away, and in fact, they’re getting worse.  I get the whole puffy face and neck, red skin, itchiness…..which I was actually thinking I could perhaps ride the wave out of, but then I started getting hives, and that’s when I was like, I needs to go to the hospital.

So off to the ER I went!  And oh, for good measure, on the drive over in Larry’s car, I decide to throw up all over myself.  So I looked a MESS when I got wheeled into the ER.  Of course, it’s apparently super busy, so I get to wait around for a while in the main waiting area covered in puke.  Then when getting evaluated by the first nurse, I puke again, luckily though not on myself but instead into a handy puke bag.  Yay me.  After another period of waiting, I got set up on a bed with an IV of Benadryl, prescribed to me by definitely the hottest doctor in the place.  YOWZA.  So it wasn’t all bad.

After all was said and done, with Larry by my side, my reaction finally subsided.  SuperBenadryl is amazing.

Lesson Learned/Reinforced:  Ask what’s in the fucking food.  Still kicking myself over that.

As for the (& Day) part of the headline, I ended up working from home as I was zonked from the Benadryl fix from the night before.  I had a doctor’s appointment already made due to the De Quervain’s problem I have in my left hand, so that was also a super fun time.  I am at a new doctor since going back to Santa Monica for doctor stuff really isn’t practical.  The new doc is really great so far and decided to inject a cortisone shot into my hand.  THAT IS A MOTHERFUCKING PAINFUL SHOT.   There was some anesthetic in the shot (which he gave me two of) to reduce the pain, but that wore off right before going to sleep and holy fuck, that was some pain.  I’m hopeful though, as he has some things for me to do to help solve this problem which is what I’ve been needing to do for a while now.  And this morning, the pain is significantly less than what I went to sleep with.

Long LONG story short:  I’m a broken mess.