Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Day I Almost Killed My Mother-in-law

by Julie Coulter Bellon

It started out innocently enough. It really did. We invited my in-laws over to have a birthday dinner for my oldest son. Harmless, right? I was busy making a nice homemade lasagna and decorating the cake that I’d baked. Everything was almost done when they arrived and I was relieved. You see, my mother in law is the epitome of homemaking and somewhere in the back of my mind, I’m always trying to impress her a little bit. I know, it doesn’t make sense, but that’s me. My mother-in-law had seven children and ran a daycare and her house was impeccably clean. Always. She is a gifted quilter and seamstress, she cans food just beautifully, and always seems organized and put together. I know, I know, I have my own talents, (though I admit that I can’t lay claim to any of hers that I listed above) and I definitely do value my own talents, but this particular day I was feeling a little smug because I had done it. Everything was perfect. The house was sparkling clean, the dinner was on time and smelling good, and the children seemed to be on their best behavior. I just knew it was going to be a great evening. Memorable, even, because it was just so perfect.

I put out the best china and crystal on the table, the French bread, the vegetables, the salad and the piece de resistance, the lasagna. We sat down, blessed the food, and started the meal. Conversation was flowing and everyone was having a great time. Then, my mother in law excused herself and went to the bathroom. We didn’t think anything of it at first, but when she was in there for fifteen minutes, we began to worry. We knocked on the door and heard a weak voice declare, "I don’t feel very good."

We opened the door and she was standing in front of the sink looking as white as a ghost. Her breath was coming fast, like she was having trouble breathing, so we sat her down as quickly as possible. Her eyes were glassy and she seemed to be having a hard time focusing. Then she lost consciousness.

We rushed her to the hospital which, thankfully, is only a few blocks away. My husband and father-in-law ran inside with her, and I parked the car. When I got inside, the doors were locked to the treatment rooms, so I had to wait. By the time I was finally allowed back, it didn’t look good. My mother in law’s blood pressure was dangerously low, like 60 over 40 type low and her airway was closing off. She was allergic to something she’d eaten. That I’d made in my perfect dinner.

Well, I had been right about one thing. It was a memorable evening.

The doctors were able to successfully treat my mother in law and kept her overnight to make sure she didn’t relapse or anything. They were able to figure out eventually that she is allergic to lima beans. Which had been in the mixed vegetables I’d served that evening.

I hadn’t tried to kill her. But I almost had.

Interestingly enough, at a Canadian Thanksgiving dinner I’d served her the year before she had sort of a similar reaction, but not as severe. They went home early that evening since she wasn’t feeling well and the kids stood in the driveway waving to them and singing the Canadian National Anthem as they drove away. (Which was very cute by the way.) But we didn’t know then that it was the lima beans that had caused it. We know it now, though. Mixed vegetables can be dangerous! Well, for my mother in law anyway.

Since then, we mostly eat out for birthday dinners. And I never serve her lima beans if she does come to the house. I don’t want anyone to accuse me.

It was an accident. I swear.

(Love you, Mom!)


At 6/07/2007 2:20 PM, Anonymous rob wells said...

What better way to celebrate a Canadian holiday than to poison an American?

At 6/07/2007 3:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always knew lima beans were scary.


At 6/07/2007 3:51 PM, Anonymous Jennie said...

Who got the weird idea lima beans were edible in the first place?

At 6/07/2007 9:24 PM, Anonymous Jennie said...

Seriously, Julie, I can sympathyze with how sick and miserable the experience made you. Remind me sometime to tell you about the day I shot my boyfriend. Everything was going perfectly, then . . .

At 6/08/2007 11:36 AM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

I've never heard of anyone being allergic to LIMA BEANS. How bizarre! And what a sad, tragic way to end your perfect Martha Stewart day. Ought to use it in a book some day.

At 6/08/2007 1:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jennie, I would love to hear about you and your boyfriend. Sounds scary!

Rob, you make me laugh.

And lima beans are scary! LOL

Thanks for all your comments.


At 6/08/2007 4:05 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Here's my fun lasagna story: my girlfriend made it for me for my birthday once (like Garfield, it's my favorite dish!)

It looked really, REALLY good - but tasted awful. I got through about half a square (and lots of water) before she tried any of it. Turned out she had put both salt AND garlic salt (instead of garlic powder) in it.

Didn't send me to the hospital, but we did go out for dinner instead. =)

I didn't realize people ate lima beans outside of the South. I didn't like them as a kid, but they're alright now, in a mixed vegetable setting. (Are they part of succotash?)

At 6/08/2007 6:38 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

I would have never thought that lima beans would cause an allergic reaction. I haven't had them for years.


Post a Comment

<< Home