Photo by Rebecca Gould Photography

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

"Self-Injecting Epinephrine" -- Susan's "A - Z Essay"

Susan had an interesting assignment over the Memorial Day weekend for her English Language Arts class.  The assignment was to write an "A-Z Essay" about a new experience or a "first."  The concept of an "A-Z Essay" is new to me -- and harder than it might sound.  In order to fulfill the requirements of this assignment, the essay must be exactly 26 sentences long, and each sentence must start with a different letter of the alphabet -- in alphabetical order.  Susan knew immediately that she wanted to write about self-injecting epinephrine, and I could tell by her excitement as she was working on her assignment (she came to find me in the kitchen to tell me about it part-way through), that she knew it was going to be good.  And...she was right.

With her permission, I share it here.

Self - Injecting  Epinephrine

(Food) Allergies are one of the worst things in the world-- food restrictions, places you can’t go, and worst of all…allergic reactions.  Bad, bad reactions occur every time you accidentally eat your allergen;  I have had many such reactions.  Clinical trials are being used to try to find a cure and since I am in one where I eat peanut (my allergen), I have had even more reactions than most people.
“Daaad,” my sister yelled: “Susan’s face is really, really red.”  Everyone in my family knew what was happening, since we had seen these symptoms before.  
“Food allergies are terrible,” I said.  
“Go get Mom,” said my Dad.  Hurrying up the steep stairs to the office where my mom was working was hard especially since I was starting to have a hard time breathing.  I took out my EpiPen without even discussing who would administer it because I wanted to be the one to do it.  
Just imagine jabbing yourself in the thigh with a shot;  it is very hard to do. Kindly, my dad made my worried little sister go to her room to make it a little less chaotic.  Lightly, I tapped the EpiPen on my thigh;  I was sort of “practicing” while I was steadying myself.
Mom said, “You have to do it or I will,” and then she started to count.  No way was I going to go past ten.  Once my mom got to six I was mentally ready and steady.  “Pop!” the EpiPen made a sound as I jabbed myself, but since it is so fast I’m not sure exactly what it sounded like.  Quickly I had to push back against the rebound of the EpiPen since I have to hold it in me for at least ten seconds.  Racing-- was what my heart was doing.  Slowly, I calmed down.  Tears…of relief poured out of my eyes.  Usually within about five minutes of administering epinephrine I start to feel more normal.  Very shortly after I used the EpiPen I felt much better.  
Whoa…I felt better but also shaky and tired.  X-tremely happy I was that the scary moment of wondering if the epinephrine would work was over.
            You have no idea how epinephrine works-- it makes you so tired.  Zzzzzzz...I slept for pretty much the rest of the day.

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