'You won't beat me, devil fruit,' I wheezed
Sometimes life is going along smoothly and then bam -- out of nowhere, a piece of fruit tries to murder you.
OK, maybe I'm being a bit dramatic with the word "murder." But it was definitely an attempt at manslaughter.
Back in September, I had decided that a diet shouldn't consist of pork steaks and ice cream alone, and was trying to branch out into more healthy -- or at least less deadly -- eating choices. Things like carrots, squash, strawberries and peas were suddenly back in my diet. I also found myself at the grocery store, staring at a piece of ginger or a beet and pondering, "I wonder what I could make with this!"
During that time, I also tried a lot of fruits and vegetables I had never eaten or hadn't eaten for decades. Some weren't bad. Some were disgusting. Some were downright delicious.
This is how I found myself thumping a whole mango at the store after work one night. I have no idea why I was thumping it, as I wouldn't know a good mango from a bad one. But it seemed like the thing a guy who was holding a mango in the produce aisle should be doing before deciding to buy.
I picked up a few veggies that night, but on the drive home I dreamed of far off island cultures that hold the mango dear. So when I got home, I sliced that sucker open and made it my dinner. I didn't mix it with anything or have a bit of mango with something else. I ate the whole fruit, then set about some chores.
I was walking out to fill up the bird feeders when it hit me: the immediate desire to defecate, urinate, vomit, sit down and claw the skin off my face. I turned around and went inside and looked in the mirror. Every square inch of my face and torso was covered with red hives that looked like a mosquito swarm of biblical proportions had recently had their way with me. I started wheezing as I breathed. I called my wife, who was next door, and said, "Uh, I may have to go to the hospital."
The feeling was vaguely reminiscent of the day I learned I am allergic to pistachios, but the effect was multiplied by a thousand. Instead of itching and discomfort, I felt like, in the words of the great Fred Sanford, this might be The Big One.
As my wife walked in, I started to say that I thought maybe I could ride it out.
"IN. THE. CAR!" she yelled at me.
She called ahead to the emergency room and explained that I was likely having a food allergy reaction and she'd be bringing me in. As we drove, I could feel my chest tightening, my throat and lungs closing off, and I was wheezing so badly, my wife started asking me every 10 seconds, "are you still with me." As we entered the emergency room, the approaching nurse, noticing my attractive crimson color, said, "You're the mango man."
"Uh, yeah," I wheezed.
The nurse and doctor immediately started pumping albuterol into my lungs to open them up, and shot my back-side full of several injections. About 45 minutes later, the worst of it was over, and I could breathe and talk again. They gave me a doctor's pad full of prescriptions and some pills to take immediately and sent me on my way.
The next evening, with my new Epi pen by my side, I Googled "allergy mango" and found out some interesting facts. First, mangoes are closely related to both pistachios and cashews, and different people are allergic to one, two or all three. (I love cashews, and have never had a problem.) Also, the three are kissing cousins in the botanical family with poison ivy. That didn't surprise me, as I felt like I had eaten a poison ivy salad.
Strangely, even as I write this, my skin is starting to itch and I'm a little light-headed just from the memory.
Stupid fruit. Pork steaks slathered in barbecue sauce would never do something like this to me.