I woke up yesterday morning with a plan already set: time to get serious about being healthier.
Now, this isn’t a new plan for me, really. I’ve had this plan all written out – even printed out [twice]- but well, you know how it goes… I’ll start tomorrow.
I have a lot of excuses in my mind, but none of them are that I don’t know what to do. I do know what to do. That’s the thing. I’ve been much healthier at other points in my life. I have always been an exerciser, a runner (a slow runner, but a runner none the less), and someone who likes healthy foods. I have not been a good sleeper and in the last few years I have had a lot of stress, but I know what to do about those things. Maybe, like some of you, I have read a lot of books on food and health and wellness. I’ve had a lot of conversations about these things. But, honestly, in the past year or so, I just haven’t done much of what I know how to do.
So anyway, yesterday I got up and drank a bunch of water and while I was making breakfast, I decided to take some vitamins. I took my usual prenatal (for nursing lest any of you think I am crazy enough to be pregnant again!) and garlic. One of the recent times I had decided I was seriously ready to live healthier, I got a bunch of vitamins and green cleaning supplies, etc. While my plain eggs were cooking, I raided the medicine cabinet. I found some items I had used before and got those out and then I saw an unopened bottle of B-3 vitamins.
Having read that a lot of women don’t get enough B-vitamins and protein, I barely looked at the bottle before popping one into my mouth. After all a month ago I did a lot of research and I thought that was one of the bottles I purchased then. After all, it was unopened....
My thoughts went about that far, before the eggs needed dealt with. I finished my eggs and grapefruit a short while later and was jonesing for some coffee, so I made decaf. I started to put the dishes away when I felt my face getting hot. It felt like that time when I was in middle school and got a perm and reacted bad to the chemicals on my head…. but then the living room needed picked up. So I did that and then I realized my legs were getting hot. Not just warm from moving around, but like hot-fire hot... like a blow torch had just been ignited somewhere between my pant leg and my skin. I felt my leg, it was hot to the touch.
I went into the half bath and looked in the mirror. I looked like I had spent a week at the beach with no sunscreen.
I immediately thought about the B-3 vitamins. I ran into the kitchen and grabbed the bottle which clearly read:
“WARNING: B-3 (Niacin) may cause flushing, tingling, and skin reddening, particularly on an empty stomach”
Flushing is a nice way to put it, I thought. Not a second later, David (who was working from home) and my brother Ben (who is wiring the addition) stepped into the house. I don’t remember what I said, but it something to the effect of “look at me! I am as red as a tomato!” to which they both laughed and nodded. I laughed too just before telling David he was in charge of the baby for awhile. I needed to get in a cold bathtub. “Are you really that hot?”
I didn’t even bother to answer.
I reclined in the bathtub, feeling like someone who had spent a week at the beach with no sunscreen. I was miserable. Then I started to feel antsy. What if I had overdosed? I started searching online thanks to the google app on my phone. After reading a few articles I learned some important things… like, I had taken 500mg, but I should’ve taken like, 100mg. Oops. And B-3 is most often used to increase circulation, which explained why I could almost feel the blood pulsing through my veins and why I was red (capillaries are expanded with B-3). One article made a big point of saying that medicine containing Niacin should never be consumed by pregnant or nursing women because it is a “class C” substance. Grrreaat... hadn’t even thought about that. So, then I searched “Niacin + breastmilk” to find nearly every website said you should contact your doctor. So, I did that. I called the nurse answer line and left a message.
Then I started to panic and tried to remind myself that :
“Niacin flushing is completely harmless. If experiencing a reaction, drink a lot of water and relax.”
Just when I started to relax I remembered a couple other things that made it impossible.
“Contact your doctor immediately if the whites of your eyes turn yellow”…
I jumped out of the bathtub and stared into the mirror. They looked white… (relief). Wait, maybe they do look a little yellow (panic)…or was that just because my skin was so stinking red that they looked a little yellow? I had to literally tell myself to calm down before I hyperventilated. I got back into the bathtub, breathing like I was going to give birth, and then I remembered from some message board a woman had said her reaction lasted 2 hrs.
I wanted to cry.
Instead I got out of the bathtub, told myself to be a big girl, and laid down in bed. The cool sheets almost hurt my stinging legs. I watched an episode of Monk on my laptop, trying to laugh at my own extreme reactions to things. It helped a little.
Then Adler started to cry. I hadn’t heard back from the doctor, so I decided to be safe I would have to pump off some milk. Luckily I had never gotten rid of the sample formula the hospital sent home with us. And for the first time ever as a mother, I made a bottle of formula and fed it to my baby. I felt sad too… isn’t that silly? At least the sadness kept me from wondering if the formula would hurt his tummy (which, thank God, it didn’t).
He fell back asleep and I tried. I felt dizzy and sick to my stomach. Then, about , (yes, wait for it…) 2 hours later I felt my skin getting cooler. I checked the mirror and sure enough, the redness was paling into pink and in some places almost a normal skin color.
Some five hours later I got a call from the nurse saying it was okay to nurse Adler. Um, thanks. Guess all my worrying was for nothing. Surprise, surprise.
So the morals of the story are read labels, whatever you do, don’t panic!, and don’t bother calling the nurse hotline if you need an answer now.