I dropped off, very carefully, my urine sample at the doctors this morning. I made the brim of the bottle after ten hours which means I will have to call them later to see if they want another go at a 24 hour test. The beta blockers are still sedating me to an uncomfortable level and I feel they do not have a long future. They seem to have done nothing for the symptoms and I have no intention of becoming drug dependent.
I flushed on Saturday after a couple of pints and again yesterday but still don’t believe it is alcohol. Yesterday I noticed that only my right hand had red blotches, the left one was fine. Interestingly the skin graft also had a bright red patch so it may be that my arms also flush but I can’t see it under the ink. On reflection this morning I realised that I was leaning on my left arm so may have constricted the blood enough to stop the redness, so that may be irrelevant.
I battled a third pint but the heat was getting uncomfortable so I left. Leaving the warm pub for the bracing east coast air would fix it right? Oddly not, it was like pouring petrol on a smouldering fire. My skin started crawling as the burn spread over my chest and shoulders. My chest tightened up and breathing, whilst still happening, took considerably more effort. By the time I got home the stairs were a real battle and I had to stop and take a break midway.
Once home I checked the extent of the problem, my face was now purple and shoulders and chest were smothered in scarlet patches. Interestingly the cold air had triggered raynauds so my hands had darkened to a more ‘normal’ shade of blue. I confirmed raynauds and then checked my legs and feet, something the doctor asked, and all was well.
Ten minutes on the couch with a cold wet flannel on my face was enough to recover my breathing. The temperature reduced a little and the flannel was hot when I removed it. As I set about cooking dinner the colour of my face returned to a more natural shade as the ‘episode’ subsided. At this point I needed some wine for cooking and, in the interest of research, I poured a glass as well. Two large glasses of chardonnay did not start the process again, no change in temperature or colour.
My conclusions from this experiment are vague to say the least. I wondered if I was allergic to the pub, hardly a good situation for a publican, but that made no sense. Could it be beer that I was allergic to? But I drank on Thursday this week with no trouble. I have also burned up on a number of occasions at work with no alcohol associated. I remember a similar issue a few years back that I narrowed down to a change in Becks beer. One bottle of Becks, it only happened with bottles, would bring about the burning and chest tightness so I stopped drinking it. Could this be the same reaction to a different brand? Or more accurately something in that brand since I must come into contact with the ingredient at other times.
There are now two tests that I need to complete the first is to avoid lager and the second to drink becks. I considered yeast, gluten and various more common allergies but that doesn’t match with a brand specific reaction. I am very interested in the Becks results but this test needs to be performed at home because historically the reaction was severe. Since I don’t drink in the week both of these tests will have to be scheduled for next weekend so there is time to work on the detail.
I also have bloods on friday and doubtless a repeat of 24 hour urine but something tells me that Dr Gav will turn up a more accurate diagnosis.