The Story Of That Girl, The One I Almost Killed

University of Maryland, College Park.

Maryland, My Maryland (Image by carmichaellibrary via Flickr)

A long time ago, I was in college. There was this girl I dated back then. She was a good person. She became a special education teacher when she grew up. In the end, things didn’t work out between us. It wasn’t her, it was me.

Seriously, all me.

Now in saying it was all me, I do want to point out that the end of the relationship had nothing to do with the fact that I nearly killed her. The truth is, I came pretty darned close to doing her in. How close? She never really said as much, but I think she had started going into the light.

If there was ever an example of nearly killing someone with kindness, this would be it.

It Was A Cheap Date


I have strawberries, but now I’m afraid to use them. (Image via Wikipedia)

I pretty much worked my way through school. I was a full-time student and I worked at least 25 hours a week, typically more. During the school year I had at least two jobs, in the summer I’d often pick up a third job. One year I even got a summer job as the groundskeeper at this particular girl’s church.

Yes, I dated a girl who went to church. I told you she was a good person. She probably still is. I don’t know what she was thinking.

Because I was working to keep my car running, pay the rent, buy food and cover my school expenses I did not have a lot of money. So when the girlfriend said one Sunday that she wanted to go to a local farm and pick strawberries (after church) I was all over the idea. It was something she wanted to do that I could afford.

I drove us out to the farm and we were given a couple of baskets. We walked way out where no one else was picking and went to work. There were points at which there was probably a berry eaten for every two that hit the basket. We were ravaging this field. We filled two baskets with berries and I went back for another.

When I got back to where we were picking, my girlfriend mentioned she was feeling a little itchy. Neither of us paid that too much attention. We filled the third basket. She was feeling a little light-headed, but it was hot, so we just thought a little shade would cure that. We ate berries all the way home.

The girlfriend wasn’t feeling any better when we got to her apartment. We sat around for a bit watching television and munching strawberries. She was coughing and wheezing, but she had a little asthma so that wasn’t out of the ordinary for her. She kept feeling worse and decided to just go to bed. I got ready to leave.

Weapon Of Choice – Hair Of The Dog That Bit Her

What neither of us realized was that she had a food allergy. She was allergic to strawberries. She had started exhibiting symptoms back with the itching while we were in the field.

So itching, lightheadedness, coughing, wheezing,  and now congestion did not add up to food allergy to me. I knew she had some ice cream in her freezer. I made her a strawberry sundae and went home.

I drove home. I told myself I was such a nice guy. We had a nice day and when she felt bad I was nice about just hanging out at her place. It did not occur to me that I had probably pushed her into anaphylactic shock with my last little gesture.

But I did.

Yup. Anaphylactic shock. Abdominal cramping. Throat swelling shut. All the greatest hits of a severe allergic reaction. I’m pretty certain I’d have done her in if she hadn’t decided to call a friend while she was eating the sundae her sweet boyfriend had made her.  She started to realize she couldn’t breathe. Her throat was swelling rapidly. The friend’s mom was a nurse, they lived right around the corner. It was that close for her.

So Anyhow…

This image was copied from wikipedia:en. The o...

No! Put it down! (Image via Wikipedia)

She lived. I found out about what went on when I went over to pick her up to go to summer classes the next morning. I haven’t come close to killing all that many people. To her credit, she took it really well. There was not a lot of finger-pointing, but she might have still been a little weak.

It has been a long time since I was in college. I don’t think about this story all that often, and I hardly ever pick strawberries.

I hope you’ll take some time to learn a little about food allergies. Someone’s life may depend on it.

62 Comments on “The Story Of That Girl, The One I Almost Killed”

  1. Luda says:

    You would’ve been convicted. Likely put to death.

  2. dufmanno says:

    I thought this was going to involve you squatting in a shrubbery sporting fatigues and a rifle with a scope.
    One day i’m going to give you all a proper lesson on killing people.
    Anyway, food allergies are dangerous and sneaky so I am completely on board with destroying them. I hope the t-shirt helps soothe your guilty soul.

    • omawarisan says:

      When you start teaching people a lesson, remember, I’m generally a harmless sort who was not involved at all in that unfortunate incident that triggered you.

      Food allergies are sneaky. She had no idea she had this one, maybe it was triggered by the amount of berries. Maybe it was just building. I’ve heard of people who never had a bad bee sting reaction having them later, maybe this is like that.

  3. Katybeth says:

    I was so glad you popped up in my google reader; I was running out of ways to procrastinate…Death by Strawberries is such an awful way to bite it. But what I really want to know is this–your girlfriend was itchy, light headed, coughing and wheezing and you decided to make strawberry sundaes? Not a cup of tea but strawberry sundaes. I’m sorry but this is just such a guy thing to do…I mean really!! Men just boggle the mind sometimes. I bet you anything she is still telling this story and says, “Yea and then he made me a strawberry sundaes!” You should find out.
    Karma is a very good thing.

  4. I’m guessing they won’t be handing out peanuts at the walk!

  5. jacquelincangro says:

    I’m glad that your girlfriend was no worse for the wear in the end. Otherwise you would have had to send The Jolie in there to kick some strawberry butt.

  6. Laura says:

    I almost got hives just reading that story, and I don’t even have any food allergies.

  7. AiXeLsyD13 says:

    I could feel my adrenaline rising just reading that story! I’m glad there was a happy ending here, thanks to the mom nurse around the corner. I can sympathize in that feeling of choking… it’s obviously no fun. (Unless you’re Micahel Hutchence or David Carradine?) Seems like the symptoms came up relatively slowly for her, but what a scary crescendo that could have been!

    I can also sympathize with you… you had no idea what you were doing though. Ha ha. So many people will say “I’ll pick it off” or “it’s just a little” and they have no idea that it just doesn’t work that way.

    I applaud your efforts to raise food allergy awareness in general, with an amusing yet very very real & serious story. To me, the biggest battle is gaining some understanding from people who aren’t affected by it directly.

    I also personally really appreciate your donation, and any others that may come along thanks to this blog! Please email and give him your size! I’ll take care of shipping if you pop over an address.

    • omawarisan says:

      The part about people not directly affected not understanding is big. We had parents really upset because we had to make some adjustments in feeding my son’s marching band when he was in high school because we added a girl with peanut allergy. It was ridiculous.

      Looking back, I don’t know why we didn’t think of the possibility of an allergy. While she had not been diagnosed with any food allergies at the time, she was allergic to about everything else in the environment.

  8. Wow, I’m more surprised by the fact that someone in college could make it that long without ever having a strawberry before. I guess she’s one of those people who use grape jelly on her PB&Js.

    • omawarisan says:

      That’s the thing, she loved strawberries. I think what pushed her over the edge was the amount of berries we ate that day. We had a ton of them before we even left the farm.

  9. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    I’m putting out a call for everyone in the world, well at least in your city, to wear bracelets with the name of their food allergies written on them. We can’t change you, Oma, so we’ll have to make the world alter their ways.

    Wow. Was she lucky. I bet you didn’t even get a kiss from her. You do realize, Oma, that she’s been retelling this story throughout her life: “There was this doofus I dated for one day who tried to kill me…”

  10. Todd Pack says:

    Yikes. That’s a scary story, but you’re still a good person, even though you nearly killed her with strawberries.

  11. Betty says:

    Well, at least the idea to go pick strawberries was *hers*. I’d say that absolves you.

  12. Spectra says:

    Allergies can pop out of nowhere, at any time. I was never allergic to dust and mold, then one day, about 9 years ago, I stopped being able to breathe. I ‘de-allergized’ my bedroom just in case. It took years of horrible allergy meds before my doctor sent me to be tested. And I had 15 allergies by then! That is in addition to both dairy (casein) and Gluten (wheat, oats, rye, barley).

    Thanks for this considerate post today about food allergies!

    • omawarisan says:

      Thank you for speaking up about it too!

      It is surprising that people can develop allergies. The thing about this person is that she had allergy problems and was tested pretty thoroughly before this happened. Scary

  13. madtante says:

    I’m allergic to agave and octopus. Found out “the hard way” on both. As far as I know (touch wood), those are my only food allergies. Oh, and I’m lactose SENSITIVE (not intolerant). It means when I eat it (esp. without other foods), I feel like I’m going to barf for about an hour. Finally, it starts being digested–sort of and finally (12-48 hours later), diarrhea.

    More info than you wanted but there you go!

    • omawarisan says:

      so if you eat pizza are you cool because of the other stuff?

      I will never ever know if I am allergic to octopus. I am just going to act like I am because I want to be.

      • madtante says:

        Pizza seems fine. Ice cream (alone) KEELS me (you’d think I’d stop eating it that way but but but). Also, if I’m drinking tea or coffee and using milk rather than soy milk (I don’t BUY cow’s milk), I get that same horrible bloating, then nausea, then I want somebody to hold my head while I either cry or puke or both…then the 12-48 hour thing).

        So, yeah. If my stoopid arse would just eat it WITH something, I’d be fine. I was told it could worsen but meh. I’m FINE!

        Living in the Ozarks, I rarely encounter this issue unless I go to a Japanese or sushi resto. Agave sneaks in though, as it’s a popular “low calorie, non sugar” sweetener these days. Bastards will use it in a product and claim “Naturally sweetened” without stating AGAVE.

        I had some vitamin water (or maybe sobe — but the clear stuff with flavor) last summer and ended up very, very, very sick. It doesn’t state agave on their label but I’m almost totally sure that’s what it was because my reaction was the same (violent).

  14. You really know how to spin a yarn of innocence and romance and attempted homicide.

  15. We found him Captain!! says:

    You Bosterd!!
    You coulda killed dat girl……..I wancho ta bee more cairfill. Plus try yousing spelchek.

  16. Blogdramedy says:

    Wow! Intense. I once worked with a guy who had a peanut allergy and his license plate read “No Nuts.” He got a lot of honks and knowing looks from other guys but he’s still alive today so going nutless saved his life. 🙂

  17. Jane says:

    I’ve heard of the “Feed A Cold, Starve A Fever” adage; however, “Gorge an Allergy” method is new to me.

    • omawarisan says:

      Yeah, apparently her metabolism had not heard of it either. That’s the way it is when you’re around an innovator like me, Jane. Sometimes people accidentally almost die from my good ideas.

      On the plus side, during strawberry season it is good to be around me because I see to it you get your antioxidants.

  18. Kim Pugliano says:

    Wow. How do you make up for that?

  19. […] A long time ago, I was in college. There was this girl I dated back then. She was a good person. She became a special education teacher when she grew up. In the end, things didn’t work out between us. It wasn’t her, it was me. Seriously, all me. Now in saying it was all me, I do want to point out that the end of the rel … Read More […]

  20. […] The Story Of That Girl, The One I Almost Killed ( Eco World Content From Across The Internet. Featured on EcoPressed Study Says Sea Lice From Farmed Salmon Do Hurt Wild Fish—But the Debate's Not Over Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Allergies, Consumer Advocacy, Food, Life, Pittsburgh, Reviews and tagged Allergic Girl, Allergies, Allergy, Barbecue, BBQ, Cafe, Clean, Cooking, cross contamination, Deathfish, Food, food allergies, Food Allergy, Giant Eagle, Giant Eagle Market District, grill, Health, Kuhn's, LaChoy, Market District, PA, Pgh, Pittsburgh, Robinson, rotisserie, sandwich, sandwiches, seabugs, Shop 'N Save, Sloane Miller, Subway, Teriyaki, turkey, Turner's, United States, UrbanSpoon. Bookmark the permalink. ← The Story Of That Girl, The One I Almost Killed (via Blurt) […]

  21. Amy says:

    I’m glad your career as a would-be assassin was cut short before it began.
    These kinds of stories scare me because I am allergic to most anything I can inhale, but so far I haven’t reacted to anything edible. I know that could change any day, though. I’m like a ticking time-bomb. If I ever become allergic to dairy I seriously may just commit death-by-ice cream.

  22. spencercourt says:

    Apparently, she didn’t know she was allergic to strawberries either. And how did that happen?
    She gets to that age without eating strawberries?

    I’ll be picking scuppernongs this Saturday…if it’s not too hot.

    • AiXeLsyD13 says:

      Weird thing is, adult onset allergies can happen at any time… to anyone.

      Also… it obviously took her a great deal of Strawberries to get sick… maybe she never ate that many before?

      • omawarisan says:

        I think that is what happened. I wonder if it was the amount that triggered it for the first time. She was 19 or 20 I think, she liked strawberries and had them before. I don’t know if she ever was tested after this incident to see if she could handle them at all anymore.

        It’s kind of scary to realize that a dangerous allergy like this can just develop unexpectedly.

  23. Lenore Diane says:

    Strawberry fields forever …. Wonder why that song is playing in my head right now.

    What a romantic story, with just a hint of murder.

    Sadly, we’ve had three deaths in our area over the past several months, due to food allergies. My neighbor’s son is allergic to tree nuts. I don’t recall allergies being so prevalent when I was a kid. Deadly, too.

  24. Keli says:

    So we can all take comfort in knowing you were only almost a killer, but not quite and without intent, right? But what’s that old adage about the road to hell?

  25. Pie says:

    Wow, Oma… hardcore! My eyes were widening as I continued to read the story. You were both very lucky.

    I think allergies and intolerances are increasing, but why? Is the food not as good as it used to be (overuse of wheat and other substances to enhance/thicken products)? Are we eating too much of the wrong things? Or are we just too clean (lotions and potions to scrub ourselves and our homes paranoid clean may have knackered our natural defence systems)? I don’t know, but if anyone else has an idea, I’d love to know.

  26. […] Jensen Carol Smith Antoinette Caligiuri Galioto Joann Funtowitz Carolee Polley Nancy Leahy Erica Varner Stevie Carpenter Julianne Pierce Joyce Emily Collins Cynthia Casper Carla […]

  27. […] girlfriend has appeared on the blog over a year ago. She is the girl I nearly killed. We both survived that incident […]

  28. […] enjoy The Story of That Girl, The One I Almost Killed – a completely non-violent tale of love and (near) […]

  29. shoutabyss says:

    I know Lenore already used this line, but Strawberry Fields Forever! Sherlock Holmes you were not. Hindsight, though, is 20/20, just like the 20 pounds of strawberries she ate. Could we say you were the Franken to her Berry?

    One question, though. How could she be that old and still not know about the allergy. That seeks askew.

  30. I’m pretty sure none of this was your fault. It was her idea to go strawberry picking wasn’t it? She willfully ate all the strawberries involved, right? You didn’t ram them down her throat did you? How could she not know that she was allergic to them?
    Apparently I have more questions than answers but I am still pretty sure none of this was your fault.

  31. Oh, who knew she was allergic to strawberries! It seems like it would be the kind of thing that one would be aware of long before college. I think it was just your bad luck and very good luck that she lived close to a nurse! What a story! I guess that was the end of your relationship, huh?

    • omawarisan says:

      That’s what was weird. No one knew she was allergic to strawberries. She had a lot of allergies that were not life threatening. She had an allergist, but it took me to find her berry allergy.

      Oh no, this wasn’t the end. There’s more to come.

  32. Debbie says:

    That poor girl! And you, all innocent and such. Well, I’m sure you meant her no harm, and it’s pretty obvious she didn’t really think you were trying to do her in, so all’s well that ends well (or something like that). Nice memory, but I think that might have ended any fondness I’d have had for strawberries!

  33. 1jaded1 says:

    Lesson learned on all counts. Good that she survived.

  34. […] Here is a good link to a story that I found…  it is written with grace and humor … STORY!! ( The Story of the girl I almost killed! […]

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