Note: this is not a post that requires your sympathy nor is it a post to blame anyone or the universe. This is a post to help educate others about allergies.
Yesterday wasn’t my best day. I came into contact with an allergen. And just to clarify coming into contact does not necessarily mean ingesting something, it can be as simple as touching, smelling, or having your food cross contaminated by an allergen (I.e. A knife being used for bread and then being used to cut an avocado can trigger a reaction in a person with a wheat allergy). It can also be an insect bite or sting. For me, yesterday was smelling spices. I don’t need to touch them or ingest them, I simply have to smell it. My hands started to tingle and swell. Within minutes my lips started to swell. I administered my epi pen. And an ambulance was phoned. It took approximately five minutes for my throat to swell and close. By this stage my arms swelled and then my legs. My feet were so swollen that they were being squashed by my shoes. I’m so lucky that a friend had understood my predicament and gave me a second epi pen. I couldn’t speak, I tried to reach for the pen but any extra movement reduced my intake of oxygen. Thankfully the second dose enabled my airways to open. An ambulance arrived shortly after. I spent the ride to hospital attached to an ECG and then EKG, having a cannula inserted, having my blood pressure recorded… with the adrenaline working my blood pressure was above 160/90(adrenaline raises your blood pressure a lot)..ten minutes later it went down to 100/73.. the adrenaline had stopped working. The next few hours are a blur to me. But what I remember so clearly is the kindness of everyone who helped as me when I was completely, and utterly helpless. My life was saved yesterday. I’m lucky to be alive.
Epi pens save lives. You do not need to be a scientist to administer one. They are so simple to use – a child can do it. I hope that no one else will ever have to use one – but the reality is that there are so many people with allergies. Please learn how to use one – you never know who will need one. The next step is to phone an ambulance 😉
Thank you to everyone who has reached out to check on me. Thank you to Kerrie and Mel for saving my life (not sure how many times you’ve done it now!). Thank you to the ambulance service and staff from Hornsby Hospital. Thank you to my mum – who always has my back.