Cumberland Times-News


July 1, 2014

Anaphylaxis shock not to be taken lightly

— More than 40 million people in the U.S. may be at risk for a severe allergic reaction. I never dreamed I would be one of them or that the cause would be a tiny wasp. My first experience was when I was 14, and it was very frightening. The severe rash was so uncomfortable, but the throat constriction nearly claimed my life.

The doctor said I was within minutes of dying when my parents took me to his office. After a series of shots administered over a three-week period, the doctor assured me I would probably grow out of it. Boy, was he wrong!

Over the years, I was stung several times by other types of bees (even a bumblebee), but had no reaction. Just in case, my doctor prescribed an Epipen that I was to keep with me at all times. As the years moved on and nothing happened, I fell into a complacency about the whole ordeal, thinking it would never happen again. But, years later, after I was married and had my own home, it did.

I was using a string trimmer when a tiny, dark object zipped from a crack in the basement wall. It flew directly at me and landed on my right forearm. I felt the sharp stab of pain as the stinger went directly into a blue vein. Looking down, I saw my worst enemy — a wasp. My right arm quickly was bright red and twice its normal size. I could feel my throat swelling, and my breathing was coming in painful gasps.

I ran to the shed where I kept one of my Epipens for just such an emergency. Removing the pen from its plastic case, I placed my thumb over the end and stabbed the tip into my thigh. Within a few seconds I knew the medication would calm my racing heart, stop the itching, take away the hives, and allow me to breathe easily again.

Had I been calm enough to notice the expiration date on the carton, I would have realized my effort was useless. The medication had expired two years ago.

With the rash now covering most of my body, I started across the lawn toward the house. A quiet darkness enveloped me as I dropped to the ground.

I was not aware when my wife called 911, nor when the ambulance and crew arrived. In fact, I was halfway to the hospital before I responded to the shot of epinephrine and two shots of Benadryl. Upon arriving at the hospital, my heart was racing, and tests showed an abnormal heartbeat.

The doctors were not sure if it was a heart attack or a reaction to the bee sting and/or medication, so I spent the night in high level care. I left the hospital the next morning, but not before receiving some stern warnings from my doctor. I was given a new prescription for Epipens, which was filled on the way home. My family developed an anaphylaxis action plan. We also completed a registration card for the Epipens that would allow the manufacturer to remind us when the medication needed replaced. It’s also a good idea to mark it on your personal calendar.

Remember that in just a few minutes a tiny giant can take your breath and stop your heart. It may be a wasp, hornet, or any member of the bee family, peanuts, seafood, or any number of allergens.

Do the smart thing and discuss your allergy with your doctor and be prepared. There’s no time to waste.

The Rev. James Blubaugh

Wiley Ford, W.Va.

Text Only
  • Please return valuable items taken from woman’s parked van

    On July 8 at 2:33 p.m. my 16-year-old granddaughter Caitlyn Cook and I arrived at Children’s Medical Group for a 3 p.m. appointment.

    July 23, 2014

  • Legion honor guard available to honor veterans at their funerals

    We in the honor guard of Fort Cumberland Post 13, American Legion, performed 196 veterans service in 2013.

    July 22, 2014

  • Remember, we’re not immune to extinction

    I’d like to pose a theoretical scenario to Cal Thomas.

    If a medical specialist said, “Cal, you’ve got a serious physical problem. Do nothing and you’ll die soon. Follow my prescription, which involves certain life-style changes, and there’s a good probability you’ll live, even if your life may be a bit more constrained than now.”

    July 21, 2014

  • America has three branches of government for good reasons

    “Mikulski Calls for Continued Action to Protect Women's Health Following Dangerous Supreme Court Decision” is the heading you will find on Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s website.

    July 21, 2014

  • Tell legislators to do what is right for America’s vets

    Without our veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice, where would America be today? It is anyone’s guess, however certainly not the Freedom and Liberty we enjoy.

    July 18, 2014

  • Move over Move over

    Have you noticed, in your travels, that the front end of a police cruiser usually protrudes a bit more than you would expect when the officer has it parked behind another vehicle on the side of the road?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Use local workers in building new Baltimore Pike travel stop

    As a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly representing Allegany County, and specifically the City of Cumberland, I welcome you to our community as you prepare to construct a Love’s Travel Stop at the above referenced location (on Baltimore Pike).

    July 17, 2014

  • Northern Garrett Rescue Squad raising funds, seeks members

    The Northern Garrett County Rescue Squad recently conducted several fund raising events to raise funds for new Lifepak 15’s, which are EKG monitors with AED / defibrillator.

    July 16, 2014

  • Citizens should be more ready to deal with power failures

    An open letter to the electrical power companies in West Virginia and Maryland:
    The return of electrical power to my home recently, after its unexpected failure for approximately 48 hours, as a result of such a sudden and violent storm, reminded me anew of how much I take for granted.

    July 14, 2014

  • Scare tactics, misinformation abound regarding marijuana

    In response to Frank J. Clark’s well intentioned letter, “Don’t be too quick to legalize marijuana use,” July 10 Times-News), I believe that his letter misses the point of legalizing and regulating marijuana.

    July 12, 2014

Latest news
Must Read
House Ads