What it’s Like to (Almost) Die From Anaphylactic Shock

This is a summary that I wrote out a day or two after I almost died the other night. Everyone knows about the throat closing up bit. But there is so much more to it. The summary is a little incoherent maybe. But the entire process of dying is a little incoherent. So you’ll excuse me that, I’m sure.

“The throat closing and chest tightening and sudden onset of headache because you aren’t getting enough oxygen and you try to swallow but there is something in your throat that feels like a noodle. There is no noodle in your throat. There is only throat in your throat. But you can’t swallow past the noodle. And holy fuck maybe if the headache would let up maybe you could think straight but the headache is only getting worse. And your chest is being squeezed by Andre the Giant as tight as he can squeeze. And the flaming sword piercing through your chest hitting your spin doesn’t help anything. The paranoia feels well placed though. You’re actively dying. The paranoia hit before the rest. It always knew you were dying. The noodle is getting bigger. Your throat is getting smaller. The sword is getting hotter. Andre is hugging tighter.”

I had my first double epi event that night. I always start with 6-8 benadryl. Epi pens are expensive and thus hard to come by. I know this. But about an hour after I took the meds, the lack of oxygen headache was setting in, and the next step is turning blue, so I went ahead and injected the first epi. It sort of helped and the noddle lessened. But then is came right back so I used the second one on the ride to the hospital. You don’t actually need to go to the hospital with just one epi. But a 2 epi event can lead to cardiac arrest so as soon as it became clear the one wasn’t going to cut it, we headed out.

Anyway, they pumped me full of steroids (and sent me home with more) and monitored my heart for a few hours. But the epi pens did their job and my heart was fine, so I was released at the end of the 4 hour monitoring period.

Here is the fun part.

Guess who has met their epi-pen quota for the year. Apparently, due to the cost of epi-pens (A generic brand 2 pack is over 600$ because in the land of the free pharmaceutical companies can charge what they want. These same 2-packs are 32$ before insurance in the UK, for the record), my medical insurance will only cover 2 near-death experiences a year. The third is life insurance’s problem. I do have a full set on hand. I’ve only almost died once this year. But if it happens a second and then a third time? Guess I die for real. Btw. This isn’t the 2020 quota. It’s a rolling 12. I can’t get another refill until June 2021. Also, this is why I take a half bottle of Benadryl before I even think about the epi. But sadly, allergies like this get worse with each exposure. My throat will close more and more with each exposure and get harder to reopen. And I can’t just avoid the thing since it’s in everything and not listed on the label. Obviously I do my best but… Anyway, when I say capitalism kills this is what I mean.

So that’s where things stand in mid July of 2020.

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