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  • BW Baldwin Wallace College

Allergic to Work

My will to survive this summer, in Berea, led me to seek a third job in mid June, after my theater job was going to be ending at the end of June, and since my second job playing with the band would be allowing for many of my days to be free.  So, I boldly walked into the Houlihan's Restaurant located in the South Park Mall in Strongsville, about ten minutes from Berea, looking for a job and I was lucky to be hired as a server on the spot. I started training a couple days later while I was still performing in "Smokey Joe's CafĂ©".

My first day of training, a Monday, went very well and everyone at the restaurant was super nice, especially considering I had no waitress experience at all.  The second day was great too until towards the end of my shift I started to get itchy and began to break out in hives on my face and neck. I washed everything, including myself, when I got home, went to the drug store to buy antihistamines, and went in for day three of training the next day.  On the third day I began to break out much more extensively and by the time I finished my shift, I  was covered in angry red welts from head to toe. Considering I had to perform in the musical that weekend my supervisor suggested I wait until Monday to come back in for the final few days of training.  I lived in a groggy state of needing to take the antihistamine every six hours for the next few days and went back in on Monday but again I broke out in hives!  So, at this point they suggested I see my doctor and try to figure out what I was allergic to but were very nice and said I was welcome to come back anytime.  I went to my home town for a day after that and was told I was probably allergic to MSG used in the food at the restaurant.  I had been required to taste everything as part of my training. The doctor suggested continuing on the antihistamine for a few more days, which I did, and the following Monday I went back for training and this time I did not get hives.  I also found out at that point that Houlihan's does not use MSG in their food at all, so I still had no Idea what I was allergic to.

The following night I left to take my first of two scheduled bus trips to NYC and had to put the rest of my training on hold again. I began the training again the next Monday and never got hives the whole rest of the summer.  I worked at Houlihan’s up until the week before school started when I took the second bus trip to NYC and enjoyed working there a lot.  I can go back whenever I like, but my school and rehearsal schedule have made that impossible so far.  I'm glad I have that experience now but I wish it had been a little less dramatic. I also wish I knew what it is that I'm allergic to.