Thursday, 24 May 2012

Keep your Epipen and a sense of humour

So I need to tell you about the angioedema. Angioedema is a reaction to something. As disfigurements go, it's a good one. Your face swells twice the normal size, then your skin peels off. If the swelling moves to the throat, it blocks the runway to the lungs, then you must evolve quickly to breathe through your ears. Failure to do so results in death.

Where this has come from in me, I have no idea, but then, maybe it has been creeping up on me for the last few years? I mean, those eyes that looked like golf balls last May? The morning I woke up in the Philippines and it looked like Dig had punched me? Well, two attacks this last May and I know, something is going on.

Normally I self-medicate my way through all disasters and emergencies because I am the daughter of my mother. When the paramedics came to lift her into the ambulance she bit the head off the driver and yelled I'M WALKING.

It's not only that we are made of stuff which doesn't give in to minor inconvenience - like loss of a limb or having your entrails fall out over the floor - it's that we cannot just stop life because your face explodes. Things have to be done! The washing has to be brought in. The kids must be fed. Shark needs new pyjamas. Quite frankly, if I am not going to see to this, who is?

But even I have to recognise that maybe it is time to call upon the services of the wonderful NHS.

I can tell you, so far the reactions of the professionals have varied.

1. Adopting a very serious face with some finger interlacing, providing information of various prognosis, worst case progression, possible complications, emergency treatment, providing reference to anaphylaxis, prescribing Epipen and instructions to involve your 'loved ones'; all professionally highly competent, efficient and responsible.

2. Handing over the Epipen while bursting into laughter with the words, 'Learn how to use it, quick! You don't want to be standing, gasping your last, and you think I CAN'T REMEMBER HOW TO GET THE LID OFF.'

Yes, I probably need both those reactions, but I preferred number 2.

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