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Back from perhaps one of the worst weeks of my life

Last week was one of the roughest I’ve experienced in my entire adult life.

At the start of the week I became poisoned and had a severe allergic reaction to what we believe were gasses emanating from a new memory foam mattress Sofia and I purchased a few days prior. It took the rest of the week to recover.

Sofia was totally fine (no effects at all), although I ended up in the Emergency Room of Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, San Francisco.

The allergic reaction itself was frightening. My throat swelled up and my chest went tight from bronchial dilation. My face also felt like it was on fire, and my arms and chest came up with rashes – all from the histamines rushing through my body. Thank you to the wonderful Giselle Kennedy (of Seesmix fame) for taking me home (the severe reaction took place at Seesmic).

Sofia later took me to the ER after I didn’t respond fully to a large dose to anti-histamines we administered at home.

The days that followed were some of the lowest I’ve ever experienced. My cognitive abilities were severely diminished, giving me a whole new appreciation for the ‘brain fog’ my father experienced on his year-long beta-interferon treatment for Hepatitis C. I had to sign on to a doctor here in San Francisco for post-ER follow-up and I couldn’t even fill out the new patient form they gave me.

I also couldn’t stay in my apartment whilst the mattress was still there as it was still off-gassing. I can’t tell you enough how grateful I am to Matt Mullenweg for letting me crash in his apartment whilst we waited for Macy’s to collect the mattress. Thanks again for everything Matt, and Glenda.

Sadly, this isn’t the first allergic reaction I’ve had and so I’ve also been prescribed an Epipen which I must now carry with me for the rest of my life. In the event I do have another allergic reaction and my throat swells up, I can administer to myself a life-saving dose of epinephrine (adrenaline).

You can also watch more in a Seesmic I recorded during the week (I was still pretty unwell whilst I filmed this, which accounts for the slurring!):

Today, Sunday night, I’m feeling about 95% better and getting ready to fly down to LA tomorrow for my first day back at work. It’s been a frightening, low and expensive week (I’m insured, but I have a high deductible plus the lost earnings).

But I’m pleased to have made it to the other side and hopefully back to my normal self. My apologies if I haven’t returned your email – I’ve got quite a bit to catch up on.

Published in News


  1. Ben,

    I’m glad everything is on the mend, and you’ve got some great friends around you to help you out. And it sounds like Sofia’s been a tower of strength. I hope there’s no more surprises for you.

    — Ewan

  2. Sam Sam

    Wow, sorry to hear that. Glad everything is (almost) better now πŸ™‚

  3. whoa Ben, sorry to hear about that, that must have been very scary for you and Sofia. Glad to see you’re feeling better now. Take care

  4. Ki Ellwood Ki Ellwood

    Holy crap, dude, what a traumatic experience. Glad you’re feeling better, and that you have such good people around you. Sending healing thoughts your way!

  5. Steven Steven

    What Ki said.
    I’m hugely relieved to hear you’re getting back to normal. I’ve never met a mattress I didn’t like but if I ever meet the one that poisoned you I’ll kick its arse!
    Love and best wishes to you and Sophia

  6. Steven Steven

    …to you and Sofia

  7. Wow dude. That sucks. I didn’t realize it was soo bad!

    My advice is to stop buying mattresses made out of prawns and peanuts.


    Seriously…. glad you’re better!

    I guess this is your superhero weakness though.

  8. Ben Ben

    Thanks everyone for the kind comments! Peace and f***ing (as Nathan Barley would say)!

  9. Ben, this sounds very scary. So glad you are over the hill, so to speak. It seems to take so little to get us from full speed to incapacitated creatures. :-/

    All the best and take it easy!

  10. Glad to hear your alright Ben! Allergic reactions are not good.

  11. hi Ben!
    how are you doing.sad to read worst weeks of your life, allergy is always hell,but really nice to see you are well now. wish you good health always.all the best.take care.

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