Using the EpiPen on the Train

A couple of months ago, my sister and I traveled to New York City to visit our dad at work. We saw his office and explored the city before going to lunch. The place we normally go to was closed so we decided to go to a vegan Korean restaurant. Because it was classified as vegan, I assumed the food on the menu wouldn't have dairy or egg. However, to ensure my safety, I checked with my waiter and she said the dish I ordered, the bibimbap, didn't contain any of my allergens. The bibimbap is a Korean dish made up of rice, vegetables, and at this restaurant, imitation chicken.

When I received my order, I took two bites out of the imitation chicken and almost immediately, my mouth started to itch. I went to the bathroom and took Benadryl and then sat back at my table. I didn't eat any more of the meal but the symptoms started to get worse. After my dad dropped us off at the train station, I started to feel nauseous and I developed hives all over my body. In order to avoid waiting another hour for the train, we hopped on the next train to go back home. When we were sitting down, my face started to turn red, my airways started to close, and I had hives everywhere. This was not like the other times I had an allergic reaction - I was on a train with my sister and she has never seen me in this state before. My worst fear was that she would witness something fatal happening to me.

My sister was right next to me and I knew I had to administer the EpiPen so she gave it to me. Only a few minutes later, the symptoms started to improve.

The scariest thing about all of this was that I didn't know what caused the allergic reaction. We emailed the restaurant and they said the chicken didn't contain dairy, eggs, or nuts. They sent us the ingredients. I chose this restaurant because I thought it was safe due to it being a vegan restaurant. However, it proved to be just the opposite.

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