I was in Shoprite with my best friend when I received the call. I ran into the liquor store and asked for a pen so I could write down the name of the hospital they were taking my son too. I asked them to repeat the name to make sure I had it right. Looking back, How could I not remember? They were taking him to St. Anthony’s and my son’s name was Anthony. But I was so scared that I wanted to make sure I had it right. My son was away at camp. He had been stung by a yellow jacket. He was having difficulty breathing. They had already called 911. The ambulance was there when they called. They told me they were “working on him” to make sure he was stabilized before they started their trip to the hospital. They had administered epinephrine.
I had a thirty one mile drive and I didn’t have enough gas in the tank to make it, I pulled in the gas station and asked the man to hurry because my son was being rushed to the hospital. We started to drive. I was flipping out on the inside but remained calm on the outside. As a matter of fact, I was trying to keep my friend calm because she was even visibly more shaken than me. I was speeding. We hit a roadblock. I was saying, “Please God, Please God.” We arrived. Turns out I was only minutes behind the ambulance. They had just gotten there. I saw my son. I knew he was going to be okay. He was happy to see me as well but concerned because he wanted to go back to camp. I told him, “We’ll see!”
My son’s hand was so severely swollen:
They kept him for monitoring. I spoke with the doctor. He said my son could return to camp but he should be watched for the next twenty four hours and he needed to carry an epi-pen. It was a huge and difficult decision for me but I made all the arrangements. I found a local CVS and picked up the epi-pen. I spoke to the director, nurse and my son’s counselor. The counselor agreed to sleep in my son’s tent that night. My son returned to camp and he had an excellent time for the remainder of his stay. I had made the right decision. I was relieved.
Interestingly, my son had been stung previously before having this type of reaction so know your symptoms:
Anaphylaxis symptoms include:
- Skin reactions, including hives along with itching, flushed or pale skin (almost always present with anaphylaxis)
- A feeling of warmth
- The sensation of a lump in your throat
- Constriction of the airways and a swollen tongue or throat, which can cause wheezing and trouble breathing
- A feeling of impending doom
- A weak and rapid pulse
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Dizziness or fainting
Also know that yellow jackets are most violent in late summer to early fall and are responsible for most life-threatening stinging attacks in the United States. I was also a victim to multiple yellow jackets stings one October day when preparing to decorate for Halloween but luckily I did not have an anaphylaxic reaction.
In any event, after doing my homework I found for people who experience severe or life threatening reactions to insect stings, researchers at John Hopkins have developed a series of allergy injections composed of increasing concentrations of venom which provide excellent and usually life-long protections against future insect stings. For the treatment to be successful the patient must go for a series of shots over a five year period. My son has almost completed his treatment now. We have two more shots to go and he’s since been stung with very mild reactions. It was a long five years but this December 21st we will be done. Consider checking into immunotherapy if you’re at risk too….
copyrighted 2011: danadogooder and DMT