My hands shook uncontrollably as I tried to screw off the top of a bottle of Benadryl. The little plastic measuring cup seemed more like a tiny thimble as I attempted to pour the correct amount of medication. My son, Jasper, was having an allergic reaction to peanuts. Red splotches develop all over. His tongue and face swell.
I had heard of peanut allergies in the popular media. No peanuts allowed on airplanes or at schools. All such precautions, I ignorantly thought, asked far too much for the comfort of just a few people. Then, my own child suffered his first anaphylactic reaction at 10 months of age. Instant comprehension: No measure is overly-demanding. To parents and their allergic children, an innocent peanut looks as menacing as a bullet.
Over the years, we’ve spread the word to friends and family. Prior to attending gatherings, we’d notify the hosts of our son’s nut allergy. Leaving him in the care of relatives or babysitters required a training session in using the EpiPen, a device that injects epinephrine to stop allergic reactions.
Still, despite emails, written notes and conversations, I never felt completely confident of my son’s safety. I needed a way to chisel my instructions into stone for all to see. I immediately recognized the Outpatient app as the rock solid solution that I sought.
In Outpatient, I could create a case for Jasper’s allergies. Everyone — family, friends, babysitters, teachers, coaches — would have access to information about his condition, the signs of an allergic reaction and instructions on what to do if one occurred. I could even include a link to a video that demonstrates the proper use of an EpiPen.
Believe me, it’s not as easy as it looks. I’ve done it just once. Driven by adrenaline, I jabbed the device into Jasper’s thigh with far too much force. The needle penetrated for about 2 seconds before four-year old Jasper screamed and pulled away.
The instructions that I would include in Jasper’s case in Outpatient: “Find someone to hold Jasper still. Don’t poke the EpiPen too hard so Jasper will allow the needle to stay in place for the full 10 seconds. That’s the time required for a sufficient amount of epinephrine to be injected.”
With Outpatient’s list of case members, I could’ve easily sent out a message to recruit help. Instead, on the night that I used the EpiPen, I felt the additional stress of trying to find someone to care for my older child, Claire, while I took Jasper to the emergency room. My husband was out of town. Claire needed to sleep and go to school the next day.
Fortunately, I live in a cul-de-sac with supportive neighbors. Claire spent the night across the street with our neighbor, who even drove Claire to school in the morning.
Jasper and I spent the next six hours at the hospital. Thankfully, all was well. (He’s been receiving oral immunotherapy. Now, he’s eating two peanuts a day without incident.)
More organization, more communication, more control. Less chaos, less stress.
#GetOutpatient #foodallergy #EpiPen