I was at my old home, the house where I grew up, in my parents' bedroom, unpacking suitcases. I looked at myself in the full-length mirror and saw that my face was rather puffy. In fact, it was swelling as I watched; I was almost fascinated. I walked into the bathroom and turned on the faucet. My face continued to puff up and my throat began to close, making breathing difficult. I recognized I was having an allergic reaction.

I ran to the other end of the house where my parents were and somehow got their attention. I could not speak, but clutched my throat to indicate choking and tried to sign the numbers 9-1-1. The faucet in the bathroom was still running. I grabbed the shoulder of a little blond girl, my little sister in the dream, showed her the kitchen faucet and pointed down the hallway to the bedroom. She understood and ran to the bathroom to turn off the faucet.

We live 15 minutes out of town, so we had to wait quite some time for the EMTs to arrive. I worried I would lose all ability to breathe before they got here. I tried to remember everything I had recently eaten, wondering what could have caused such a violent reaction. Before the EMTs arrived I began to improve; facial swelling went down and I could talk some, though my throat was still swollen.

The EMTs arrived, two men who sort of milled around asking questions. I expected they would inject me with something, but they didn't. I still wondered what I could have eaten, when I realized my mouth was full of dried salty Japanese plums that I had been sucking on. Standing in front of the kitchen sink, I spit them out into a little bowl, scraping my mouth clean with my finger. They must have been the culprit, though I have enjoyed salty plums plenty of times before without ill effect. One of the EMTs said he would take them into the lab to be tested. I opened the cupboard and pulled out a container of salty plums. They had white and green crystallized "blooms" on their surfaces. They had gone bad with bacteria and that is what caused my allergic reaction.

In the morning I woke up repeating in my head, "Denial of service."