My First Experience with the EpiPen

Previously published on Factoidz.

The 3rd time I was stung by a wasp, I had a systemic allergic reaction. I got stung on my toe when had accidentally stepped on or near the wasp that was on the floor. Within the first 10 minutes after the sting I started having a systemic reaction; my mouth and lips got very tingly and I felt like I had had a shot of Novocain there. It was then that I knew I was in trouble.

Since that 3rd sting, I was given a prescription for an EpiPen. Two EpiPens come in a kit, and an extra non-active pen is included in the box to practice with. It’s important to practice with the ‘dummy’ EpiPen, so that you know how to use it when the time comes. It’s important to practice quite often. I would suggest practicing once a week or every two weeks with the practice pen, because when you get stung, you can be so panicked that you forget what to do. That happened to me yesterday (4/7/11).

Yesterday I was taking out the trash and when I was coming back in the house, I took hold of the porch railing so I could climb the stairs. Little did I know that a wasp was sitting there on the side of the railing. I didn’t see it, and when I placed my hand on the railing, it popped me good. I came in the house screaming in pain and in panic. All I could think of was that my doctor said “the next sting will kill you.” By the time I got into the house I was so excited that I wasted the first EpiPen. I took the top off and couldn’t think of how to administer it and I put my hand on the wrong end of it and got popped in the hand with the EpiPen. It didn’t have time to deliver the epinephrine into my hand because I jerked away as soon as it stuck me. By then, I was unable to talk clearly because my tongue was flaccid and hanging out of my mouth. My other EpiPen was in my purse. I managed to get the EpiPen out of my purse and successfully injected it into my thigh. I had 2 Benadryl taped to the EpiPen, so I tried to get them out of the blister pack. By then my hands weren’t cooperating. My hands were trembling uncontrollably. After what seemed like an eternity (it was only seconds) I got the Benadryl out of their packaging and took them.

While I was panicking with the EpiPen, my daughter was on the phone to 911. The first responders were here at my house within a minute or two. The EMTs checked me and saw that the EpiPen had done its job. The epinephrine and the Benadryl stopped the systemic reaction in its tracks. My lungs were clear and my blood pressure was 122/80. It couldn’t have been better.

As soon as possible after the ordeal I got the prescription for my EpiPen refilled. The EpiPen worked perfectly. My only complaint now is an itchy, swollen hand. My hand is twice the size it should be, but I can deal with that.

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