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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:57 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:52 am
Posts: 214
All of these articles on people getting into problems because they were not carrying the epi-pen had me wondering, how many of us really are so perfect we can say we have never taken chances? Maybe you were going to an evening event and did not have a bag the epi-pen would fit in, so you thought 'I will leave it behind this one time' or maybe you have not checked the expiry date and can't guarantee the one we have is current? Or maybe over time you just get complacent and forget, or let something slide?

I will fess up to one time where I willingly did not do what I should have done for what in hindsight was a stupid reason. I was working on a contract where I did not have health insurance and I had a reaction that was really scaring me. But I could not bring myself to use the very expensive epi-pen because I knew it would cost $120 to replace it, so I decided to take a Benadryl first just to see if that cleared things up. It did, thank goodness, but when I talked to my doctor about it afterward, he was quite horrified and told me that if a reaction is ever so serious that I feel like maybe I should use the epi-pen, I definitely should use it. And my mother was quite horrified to, and told me I can always come to her for money for that.

Asthma and eczema
Drug allergy (succinylcholine)
Food (corn, raw apples, green beans, tree nuts, flax)
Misc (pollen, grass, mold, dogs, cats)

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:34 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I can relate--I *always* have more than one epi with me, but I have hesitated to use the epi at times when I probably should have used it.

I'm not at all afraid of administering the needle itself---the issue is more with having to spend hours in the hospital. Also, the whole ordeal of being rushed to the hospital brings back bad memories. The last time I administered the epipen, I got kind of depressed for awhile, and also had an aversion to eating for about a week afterwards.

Once when I accidentally ate something with a bit of soy protein in it, I took Benadryl and asked someone to drive me to the hospital parking lot (where I waited the reaction out). My mouth/throat was tingling, and I threw up a bit. Seeing that it was soy, I should have used the epi. If it happened again, though, I'd probably do the same thing (unless I were by myself--then I'd take the epi and call 9-1-1)

Sometimes, too, I hesitate because I'm not sure if it is a reaction or if I'm just stressed.

example: I once opened a box of 'rice flour' that looked slightly different--I thought maybe it was tapioca starch instead. I tasted it (stupid thing to do!) and found out that it was some sort of mix (the company put it in the wrong box). I spit it out right away and rinsed out my mouth, but I had some mild chesttightness. I didn't know if it was stress or if it was a reaction---instead of treating the 'reaction', I researched the company on the internet and then called them. They said they thought it was a gluten free mix that didn't have soy or egg or nuts or in it. I wouldn't react that way to corn starch (which I didn't actually swallow), so I thought I was just suffering from anxiety (usually, the first sign of a reaction for me is throat/mouth tingling). I was by myself at the time and living in TO without a car. Anyhow, turns out there *was* soy in the mix (I called Health Canada and they analyzed the contents.) I'm still not 100% sure if I had a reaction, but my allergist told me that that should have been an epipen moment.

In the recent past, I stupidly left my allergist's office in spite of a suspected reaction to a ragweed/grass pollen vaccination shot. I started sneezing in the waiting room afterwards, but I was sneezing before the shot as well. I felt like I was having a mild reaction . . . but I thought it could be anxiety (people have anaphylactic reactions to those shots, and I had had major localized swelling before from a previous shot). My allergist saw me still sitting in the waiting room, and told me I was fine and could go. I was on the verge of saying that I thought I was having a reaction . . .but they close the office at lunch time, and I *really* didn't want to reinforce any suspicion that I have imaginary reactions.

A few minutes after I left the office, my chest felt slightly tight. I was by myself (no cell phone), and I had planned to stop off to get a few groceries before walking back to the subway (altogether a very long walk!). I thought about turning around and going back to the office, but I didn't want to interrupt the office staff's lunch for what might turn out to be an imaginary emergency. The chesttightness reminded me of the time I had my most severe reaction---it was on a much lesser scale, but I had the same feeling as before. Anyhow, in the grocery store, I felt the chest tightness getting a bit worse.

I paused when I reached the subway. Should I go home? Or should I get medical attention while I was within walking distance of 'hospital row'. I decided to proceed--on foot-- to one of the hospitals. Instead of going to emerg (where I'm sure they would just roll their eyes anyhow as I wasn't struggling to breathe and wasn't wheezing), I went to my respirologist's office. It *did* end up being a reaction---while I was there, the corners of my eyes started to swell shut. It was bizarre. I felt safe at the time since I was in a hospital, but I would have been in a panic if that happened to me while I was walking down the streets of Toronto!

In a way the whole ordeal was a learning experience because now I'm more likely to trust that I'm having a reaction when I think I am. I can't let people who think I'm liable to 'overreact' get to me!

In regards to eating food I shouldn't---I have taken some chances in the past due to social pressure . . . but now that I'm allergic to so much + have celiac disease, I really have a good excuse to turn down food! I don't take chances now anyhow.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 7:16 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:24 pm
Posts: 94
Location: Toronto area
Yup....I can relate to this one. I've had tree nut allergies since childhood - way back in dinosaur days when there were no epi-pens, much less anyone else in my entire school who was allergic to nuts ("are you sure you're not from mars or something?"). By teenage years I had grown too accustomed to being allergic - hadn't had a reaction for many years. my summer job - I was 17 - at break time someone had brought in brownies with walnuts in them - my worst allergy. I stupidly decided to see if I was still allergic :roll: (teenage 'nothing can hurt me' attitude). I did have the foresight to buy a coke because that was the one thing that helped get rid of the itchiness in my throat.....picked the walnuts out.....ate the brownie....started counting...1000, 2000, 3000,,,,by 5000 I couldn't count anymore 'cause I was coughing and clawing at my throat. A fellow worker calmly said "well, guess you're still allergic !!!" :roll: Haven't done that since!!!!! Interestingly enough...was re-tested about 10 yrs ago - skin test said I'm not allergic....yah, right! ..Dr. said my system hadn't seen nuts in 25 yrs so likely no longer recognized it. Have reacted since so know its still there!

4 out of 6 of us nut allergic (mom & 3 kids) - hey, who needs 'em! we're nutty enough!

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