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Experiencing Anaphylaxis, by Breathing Better Now

This year, I dealt with anaphylaxis and it really clarified some issues with our prepping. Though I have been a prepper most of my life, I didn’t realize that was what I was until eight years ago. Most of the prepping that I did was food storage. I did it for stewardship not prepping for the apocalypse. I would buy supplies in large quantities when they were at “rock bottom”, once-a-year sale prices. Each time an item we used would be on sale, I would buy as many as I could afford and use before the expiration date. My wakeup call was the 2008 presidential election. I still remember sitting in disbelief at the outturn of the vote. Confused, concerned, and motivated, I did not see much hope for the future of my country or my children. After a few weeks of shock, I decided to take action.

A local group

I started researching all things prepping. I convinced my husband that we should attend a local group’s weekly meetings. He went along because he loves me and my quirky ways. Each week they had a different speaker. Most of them were very good resources. We not only attended the meetings but became so involved that when one of the people we met had a prepper expo, we volunteered to help because we wanted it to be a success.

Working together we got supplies  and had our house ready. We chose vehicles with SHTF in mind. I went to alternative medicine classes. We planted fruit trees and expanded our garden. Fencing was repaired and an additional machine shed built. We got some chickens and raised some goats. The guys already hunted and fished, but I learned how to can meat in addition to the fruits and veggies from our land. I studied essential oils, local herbs, and wild edibles. I started stocking up.

We divided the tasks and each learned a different skill set. None of us planned this, but it fell into place. The oldest son studied gunsmithing as a hobby and became a machinist professionally. The youngest son started taking emergency medical response classes. He is currently working towards a two-year degree as a Paramedic. The “hubster” is a welder, black belt, NRA-certified instructor, and an all-around handyman. If it’s broke, that guy can fix it. He also can think outside the box and find unconventional ways to fix things.

It never ends

After eight years of prepping, you’d think we would be further along than we are. I still walk around our property and see things that we need to finish to “get us ready”. The solar panel will be installed on the goat shed. We will then have lights out there if we have no electricity. Multiple things will be sold or repaired. We have a conventional private well, plus an open type well on our property. There is also a wet weather creek, but water is still a concern. Security would be problematic.

Too many friends have said they would just come to our house if things go bad. Even if you are quiet about what you are doing, the lifestyle sometimes gives you away. Of course, there are people you want to warn and they don’t always listen and prepare themselves. I’m sure when the time comes, we will see them, too.

Taking stock

Even though there are all these problems, I feel that we were more prepared than 90% of the people in our area and that we could weather a short-term event fairly well. A longer event is in the hands of God. Prepare for what you can and pray for the rest.

I wanted to give you this background to show that our family is aware of the need to prepare and I felt that we were ready for most day–to-day things. Unfortunately, in the last couple of months, I’ve had two different situations that I didn’t expect. Surprises can and will happen to everyone.

The first surprise

I was sitting at the dining room table writing checks for bills when my nose suddenly started bleeding. I’m not talking a little drip. This was a gusher. I had never had a nose bleed this bad before. I couldn’t raise my head level without the blood rushing down my throat. There is no way I could have even made a phone call for help.

Luckily my youngest was home. I had him call our doctor’s office. One of the nurses was able to explain to him that it was probably a blot clot. She suggested that I blow my nose to remove the clot and then squeeze the bridge of my nose to stop the bleeding. Within five minutes the bleeding stopped. The problem was solved and lesson learned. I had no idea how to stop this nose bleed. If I had not been able to contact a doctor, I’m not sure what I would have done. I was surprised at the fact that I started to panic. That’s not me. Just the sight of that much blood coming out of my nose for no reason was overwhelming. I handled the time I broke my nose better than that simple nose bleed. Hopefully, this will help one of your readers in the future.

The second surprise

Today, a friend and I forage walk. We had decided to go to a local Conservation Area. I got to the parking lot a few minutes early because I had given her directions and wanted to be there when she arrived. I knew I had a few minutes, so I walked away from the parking lot to look at the creek. As soon as I stepped out of the car, I started getting a sore throat. As I stood looking at the creek I started to feel extremely ill.

We had tried to do this walk for several days and I was determined to not wimp out. I would muster through. I figured that I was coming down with something or it was my usual seasonal allergies. It should be no problem. I headed back to the car, and she arrived a couple of minutes later. As we were visiting, before we started our walk, I started to cough and couldn’t stop. I took a drink, but it didn’t help. She offered me some gum, which seemed to help a bit. So, we started walking. Little did I know that I was in the early stages of anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis shock

As we entered the woods she made a comment that the smell of the flowering trees around us was pretty strong. I couldn’t smell it because my nose was so stopped up. She explained that she thought it was an Autumn Olive, which is an invasive plant in our area. The trees, in full bloom, lined both sides of the path.  They were beautiful. Within minutes, my tongue started to feel swollen, my throat was worse, and I had started to feel queasy. I was not going to admit defeat!

I noticed a mushroom off the trail, pointed it out to her, and we both headed that direction. She walked in a head of me. As I bent to go under a branch, I suddenly felt like I was going to pass out. I backed out onto the trail. She came back out after looking at the mushroom. When she got back to me, I told her I didn’t feel very well and sat down on the wet ground. I was not in good shape.

Pride gets in the way

After a few minutes she asked if we needed to get out of the woods. “No.” It was a matter of pride now. I got up and told her we could just stay close to the parking lot, just in case. We continued a few more minutes. Then I decided to stop being a pride-filled fool and asked her if we could do this on a different day. She immediately agreed. So we turned around and headed back to the cars.

As we walked, my condition worsened rapidly. We had not walked that far in. I had walked this trail numerous times, but each time we would get to a cross trail I would stop because I couldn’t figure out which way to go. My friend would look back and tell me that we needed to take a certain direction. Normally I could have taken off through the brush and still ended up at the parking lot, but I couldn’t maintain which direction to go on a cut trail.

I asked my friend if I was slurring my words because my tongue felt like it was the size of a cucumber. She said, “No.” I was having a hard time breathing. I couldn’t concentrate. My eyes wouldn’t focus. As we made the last turn towards the cars I looked at my hands. They were lobster red, and the palms were swollen. I hadn’t touched anything, not a plant and not the water in the creek. When we got to the cars, my friend informed me that she was following me home. As we were driving the very long three miles to my house, my arms started to itch. I looked at them as I shifted, and they were now red with spots and swollen areas covering them.

Safe at Home

When I pulled into the garage, my husband came out surprised that we were home. Fifty minutes had now passed since I stepped out of the car to look at the creek. I thanked my friend for following me home and explained that I was going in to take some Benadryl. I walked in the house, took two Benadryl, and started stripping off my pollen-filled clothes to shower off the pollen. My whole body was now red and covered in swollen areas. After the shower I went to bed. The hubster came in every few minutes to check my progress. The itching lasted for at least an additional 30 minutes. It finally stopped, and I was able to go to sleep.

An hour and a half later I woke up. The swelling was down. The itching had stopped, and my throat was fine. I had the bejeebers scared out of me, but I was fine. The bout with anaphylaxis was ending. I contacted my doctor and explained the situation. He suggested that I avoid the trees just in case. He also told me to pre-med before going into the woods this time of year. Of course, I’m to carry liquid Benadryl [1] in my pack at all times. If it happens again, he wants me to order an epi pen.

Taking Stock

Now remember, I thought I was fairly well prepared. I had my G.O.O.D. bag on me, but I had no Benadryl in it as I had never had this happen before. Anaphylaxis was not even in my thoughts. My house was three miles  and I can walk that distance with no problems on a normal day. I was in a familiar area. I know numerous people between my home and where I was. If I was in trouble, I know which neighbor would help me. I thankfully had gone with a close friend. My husband knew where I was and when I should return. I thought I had all areas covered. I was wrong.

We can and should prepared for the future. We should try to think about all of the possibilities and work out the solutions. In the end there will be things we do not think about. We can’t be ready for all of the trouble we will have to face alone. I did a lot of praying walking out of those woods today. As we walked I did not panic. A trusted friend was my company. I was actually more worried about upsetting her than thinking about myself. I knew she would get me out no matter what. It probably helped that I didn’t even realize how bad a situation I was in. If I had known I was in anaphylaxis, I might have been more worried.

I wanted to sit down and rest, but I kept hearing a voice say, “Take one more step.” I just had to keep taking that next step. I also had a peace, because I knew that even though I was in trouble, God was walking each painful step with me.

Remembering what is important

That is the most important part of prepping. When all the preps fail and they can, faith in God is the ultimate preparedness tool. I know that no matter what happens, He will still be with me and my family. The more of us who prepare, the safer we all will be. Yours in Christ, Breathing Better Now

For More Information:

SurvivalBlog Non-Fiction Writing Contest

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Round 70 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail [15] us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

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Comments Disabled To "Experiencing Anaphylaxis, by Breathing Better Now"

#1 Comment By KB On May 3, 2017 @ 6:40 pm

I carry Benadryl too, for potential food allergy issues in a relative who insists on testing the waters re shellfish allergies. Since you mentioned your throat closing up you might consider that Benadryl carries a “Junior” chewable tablets. Because the liquid Benadryl you linked to is still in a large capsule which must be swallowed.

#2 Comment By termain On May 3, 2017 @ 7:36 pm

Very nicely written. You explained everything very well.

#3 Comment By b On May 4, 2017 @ 5:01 am

I can assure you that even chewing a couple regular Benadryl capsules will work. Tastes terrible though. Done that few times, and the quicker done and in your system the better your chances of surviving.

#4 Comment By Phillip Beall On May 4, 2017 @ 1:44 pm

I have carried Benadryl strips for years as I have a food allergy (mushrooms). After reading this piece I decided to buy some new ones and was dismayed to learn they are apparently no longer available. Does anybody know a source for either name brand or generic adult dissolving strips?

#5 Comment By Just Some Guy On May 4, 2017 @ 8:36 pm

Anaphylactic Shock is defined by a dilation of the blood vessels which effectually reduce profusion to the Brain and other vitals. The symptoms you describe to me as an ALS provider suggest that you should have gotten immediate help. Im glad that you were able to recover, that is wonderful, but please, don’t mess around with this health issue. Do get an EpiPen, or variant, or see if you your doctor will even prescribe you a vial of Epinephrine (its much cheaper than the pen) and you can draw it up in syringes and give it to yourself 1:1000 in .03 mg. (Per your PCP Rx) If you have 2 or more of those symptoms in the future, or have airway constriction, act immediately and contact EMS. The EPI serves a lot of uses for TEOTWAWKI do to its method of action and ability to give life to potatoes. God Bless, and stay healthy!