I got to the ENT office, checked in, and waited my turn to be called. When I was called, the allergy nurse brought me to the furthest room in the back of the office (to which I thought - are the needles that bad that they need to put the people in the back to stifle the screams?) and sat me in a chair. She pulled out a questionnaire and asked me a series of questions: do you eat this, are you ever around that, do you have this or that pet, do you find it easier or harder to breathe at certain times of the year, etc. I answered each one and she made some notes on her sheet. When she was finished the 20 questions, she pulled out a tray of tiny beakers and said what each one was. Turning one of the needles in my direction before she put them in the tray, she suggested that I touch one to see what the test would be like. Seemed harmless enough, almost like touching the end of a sewing needle and poking yourself in the forearm. She wrote on my arm with a ballpoint pen so as to not lose track of what pricks would be what, and began the testing.
Image from myallergydr.com
The first round of testing was an initial screening and tested for airborne allergens such as pet dander, various pollens, and cockroach droppings (yes, seriously). She pricked my skin with 30 samples, set the timer for 10 minutes, and went on her way while we waited. I grabbed my book and after about 2 minutes noticed a few hives beginning to develop on my right arm. After 5 minutes, three of the hives had developed even more and were excruciatingly itchy. I took my eyes away from my book to see what they were - and they were the first three in the first row.
Oh well. When the 10 minutes was up, the allergy nurse returned and "read" my arms. She took notes on where the allergies were obvious, cleaned up the pen marks, and gave me an ice pack to relief the unbearable itching of the three huge hives on my arm. Oh sweet coldness, how I loved you in that moment.
Round two of testing was uneventful. Same pricks, but this time there were food allergens based on my normal diet placed on my skin. Just as I had thought - no food allergies. Since she tested for coffee - this was a huge relief. That would have been an absolute disaster.