We are an epi pen family now.
Epi pens – the self administering, pre dosed, ‘shots’ of epinephrine (the company calls it “Auto-Injectors”) most frequently for the treatment of acute allergic reactions to avoid or treat the onset of anaphylactic shock. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epinephrine_autoinjector). Epi pens are not a ‘treatment’ for the reaction, they are a band-aid measure to allow you to access care. Who, you might ask, in our little family has a life threatening allergy and might be in need of immediate access to a medication to prevent anaphylactic shock?
At the end of July Daddy and the boys were fishing and Little got his first ever bee sting. His thumb swelled immediately. Daddy administered Benadryl and watched him. Within 30 minutes his face was starting to swell. We took him in. We live with a balance, we are rural and have to weigh the “going too soon” “unnecessarily” vs being caught too far out from the hospital in a real emergency. So we, as always, decided to error on the side of caution and took him to seek care. First we went to urgent care, with the RN told us to take him to Blanks ER. We inquired about the hospital ER next to the urgent care; but the RN felt we needed to go to the Pediatric ER.
We arrived, the triage nurse looked at him and he was quickly taken back, I do not know if care is always that fast or it was his reaction motivating them, I think it was the latter. Little quickly had an epi shot, and they started an IV. His face continued to swell for a time and he became quite ill.
We ended up with him being admitted because the reaction was still persisting despite multiple does of Benadryl and the steroids. He spent the night and came home on 3 more days’ worth of steroids. The Pediatrician attending him on the floor made it quiet clear that we should expect if he is stung again for the next reaction to be faster and more serious. We were instructed if he is stung again to administer the Epi pen and take him to ER without waiting to see what the reaction is going to be; just give him the shot and go.
He is fine, and was never at risk of not breathing, but he did have a serve reaction. The doctor at the hospital was confidently his next reaction would be faster and stronger. So now, everywhere Little goes, we have to carry an Epi-pen. Also all the adults in his life have been “trained” on the pen and correct usage; the company provides a practice device with the prescription pens; and that has been nice, to actually handle a mock injection. We got him a cute bracelet to wear any time we are out and about, especially if when he is not with Daddy or me. He is practicing saying “I am allergic to bee stings” and we have a designated pack and place for the Epi pen. Actually we have 4 pens; one for the home medical kit, one for Daddy’s backpack, one to go with him every place he goes and a 4th as a spare or to give to the school if he dual enrolls again.
Right now we are deal with a lot of generalize fear in him about bugs; and I have to admit I never notices how many bees and other flying stinging bugs our flowers and garden attract. Nevertheless, we will all find our footing (and never again put the sand box by the flower bed) with this new normal.