Yesterday afternoon, I was out watering the garden, when I was stung at the base of my left thumb. I dropped the hose and ran inside to get anti-histamines - my husband had used them all. I quickly changed my clothes and drove to the drug store to purchase some. I took two while standing in the line to cash out, and hoped they would start working soon. As I was driving out of the parking lot of the store, I could feel the roof of my mouth, my tongue, and my throat beginning to go numb. I turned down the road towards the hospital, and prayed for calmness as I waited at red lights and the numbness in my mouth and throat progressed, and I began to feel as though I were wearing a too-tight shirt. (The literature about anaphylactic shock mentions "a feeling of impending doom" as a possible part of the reaction - I can now say I've experienced that.)
I parked in the Emergency parking lot, and walked quickly into the hospital, not stopping to get a parking ticket for my car. I was taken into the back, an IV port put into my right hand, and a large syringe of medication was shot into me - epinephrine. This is a horrid sensation; I felt the rush of coolness go up my arm, into my heart, and suddenly that felt as though it were going to pound itself out of my chest. I also felt distinctly light-headed and strange. I had three seperate injections before the numbness in my mouth, and tightness in my chest began to go away, and after another long period of observation, I was released.
I walked outside to find a ticket on my windshield, with a notice on the back from the parking company, that if it had been a medical emergency, I could call and speak to one of their representatives about possibly having the ticket cancelled.
The doctor at the hospital gave me a prescription for 2 Epipens, and suggested that I carry them at all times.
The moral of this story is: Check the expiry date of your emergency epinephrine injector regularly, and, if you realise it is out of date, go and get a new one immediately! Don't throw the old one out, and forget to get a new one for 3-4 days - it's the laws of life that you will then get stung, experience a serious reaction, and put your life in jeopardy.
Today, I'm feeling as though I've had a narrow escape for my foolishness.