Archive for the ‘Anaphylaxis & Food Allergies’ Category

Are You Epi Ready?

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

What does it feel like when you’re a new mom with a 5 month old and the pediatrician writes THE script for your first Epi-pen Jr.? Overwhelming? Mindboggling? Surreal? Scary? Empowering? Infuriating?

For me, it was all of the above. I felt like I had just learned how to change a diaper, and now this?! What had I done to draw this hand of cards? Better yet, what had my baby done to deserve this?

So, you’re telling me that if my baby looks like he’s going to die from something he ate I need to stick this long needle in his thigh and keep it there for 10 seconds, and then call 911? Welcome to motherhood. This was not in any of the books I read while I was pregnant. Needless to say, I was not very happy.

I got the prescription filled and decided to look for some new reading material. If I had to deal with this “thing”, I was not going to lose, and I was not going down unprepared. I looked and I looked and I searched and I looked. Back in 1987, it was extremely difficult to find any written material on anaphylaxis, Epi-pens and food allergies. Remember, no internet. Pretty much had to rely on the doctor’s explanation and the instructions on the side of the Epi-pen.

What exactly do they mean by outer thigh? How exactly do you hold a squirming, screaming infant still for ten seconds if you manage to get that needle in that little soft squishy outer thigh? Heck, getting a clean diaper and pants on him was a major event every morning.

Like many other things in my life, I knew that practice would make perfect. Right? But how the heck do you practice when there’s no practice pen? Or no old pens to stick into an orange?

I knew that athletes sometimes improve at their sport with visual imaging. So, that’s what I did. I thought about it, and thought about it. I saw his face. I saw the thigh. I saw my hands. I saw the Epi-pen. I went through every step of using that Epi-pen in my mind thousands of times. I thought about it while I was trying to go to sleep at night, and I thought about it while I was doing the dishes, and I thought about it while I was vacuuming, and I thought about it while I was watching the kids, and I thought about it whenever I had an idle moment……..until….. until I knew I could use it with confidence when the time would come that I would have to step up and use it.

And years later the time did come, and I did use it, and I was thankful that I was there because I was ready. And I did save a life, and you can too.

You can do this. And you will if you have to. And you will feel grateful that you are prepared.

Warmest Regards,

P.S. I still think about it.

Epi-pen Saves A Life

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Ran into a friend this morning who told me a frightening story. Her six year old nephew, who has a diagnosed peanut allergy, almost lost his life to a brush with a hazelnut last week.

She was not with them in Germany on vacation when it happened. Fortunately, the boy’s dad is fluent in German, so was able to get medical assistance when the allergic reaction blind sided them. As the story was told, the family was walking down the street, when the child’s lips began to swell, tongue began to enlarge and his throat began to tighten. The first responders gave him Benadryl, followed by an Epi shot at the hospital which saved his life. My friend firmly believes they would have lost him, had his dad not been able to speak German fluently.

All this stress and commotion was caused by a hazelnut that was not even consumed. The boy had simply touched it to his lips.

Please let this serve as a reminder to all of us that seconds do matter, and Epi-pens really do save lives.

So, Bud, please continue to carry your Epi-pen and wear your neck chain wherever you go.

Love, Mom