Last week, I had a large allergic reaction. This is something I am used to so I called 999 and asked for an ambulance. They asked for my symptoms and an ambulance was sent to me. The operator stayed on the phone with me and for help from an on-site paramedic who decided I needed to use my EpiPen. Those words were scary, I’ve carried EpiPens for 9 years or so but have never had to use it before. I was quite convinced I couldn’t do it, I mean, who wants to stab themselves in the leg? Hmm, not me!
The operator was very calm and told me that I could do it and that he would be with me every step of the way and, he was.
I didn’t even feel the needle go in and I’m glad he was there, even though it was at the end of the phone as I am sure would not have allowed enough time for it to do its job. You have to keep the EpiPen against your leg for 10 seconds and then rub the injection site for 10 seconds and I was hugely reassured hearing him count that down, I am convinced I would have counted way too quickly.
It only took a couple of minutes to kick in and then less than 5 more for a paramedic to arrive. I was taken to A&E and observed there for several hours until I was free of the reaction and my heart rate blood pressure had returned to normal.
I called 999 around 1.30am and was at A&E just after 2am (I think). As much bashing as the NHS gets for when they do get things wrong, I, for one am very grateful they can be as efficient as they were with me that night (morning). I was sent home with a few days worth of steroids and many good wishes from the nurses looking after me. Without such easy access to the medical I needed there might have been a totally different outcome.
Until recently my local hospital was in special measures and for quite a while it seemed that there were negative stories in the local papers about it every day. I have no complaints about it, I’ve had outstanding treatment every time I’ve been there and last week was no exception.
We are fortunate to have such a service available to us, I dread to think how much I would have been charged if we didn’t have, way more than I can afford to pay though, I’m sure.
I honestly can’t thank everyone I came into contact with that night enough, from the 999 controller to the HCA who helped me walk to the toilet. They all treated me with respect and kindness which goes a long way when you’re scared.
I was on SERV duty that night so one of my SERV guys gets a special thanks. I woke him up and announced quite fiercely that he needed to take the phones NOW, which he did. Not many people could wake up to a phone call of that magnitude (and volume) and just deal with it, I’m not sure I could have done even though I do wake up quite quickly.
I am now armed with replacement EpiPens and reassured that I can manage to look after myself during a reaction, even to the point of “stabbing” myself.