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30 years ago Holly was stung multiple times by wasps and went into anaphylactic shock. This was the 1st allergic reaction she had ever had and she thought little of it after being well again. Not long after, she had the same severe reaction after eating peanuts. Later she discovered being severely allergic to all tree nuts, coconut and latterly palm oil. All this caused Holly distress, as her multiple severe allergies made her feel like not being able to let the guard down at all. Even though she already was a MedicAlert member, she felt reluctant about wearing her medical ID bracelet and letting anyone know about her allergies, even if they were putting her life at risk every single day.
“I was extremely embarrassed about my condition and was very reluctant to wear my MedicAlert or tell anyone. This ended up getting me into a lot of bother about 8 years ago when I accidentally touched a peanut in a bag of hamster food. I went into anaphylactic shock and couldn’t find my epipens. I drove to the doctors surgery nearby and collapsed in the doorway. Of course, no MedicAlert bracelet on and I couldn’t speak, so they had no idea what was wrong but were quick to act nonetheless. 4 epipens and a barrage of other medications later, my husband was contacted and thought he was going to have to tell the children they had lost their Mum. However, things improved though I was left with a long lasting legacy of the medication badly affecting my eyesight because it upset the pressures in my eyes.
From that day on I have always worn my bracelet. I always choose the plain, rather utilitarian one, with red engraving on the disc as it is the most obvious in an emergency. I have several different bracelets for different occasions, because when you have to wear one all day, every day, forever, it’s nice to be able to change it up just a tiny bit.
I wouldn’t use any other medical ID service even if I have to pay £32 for annual membership, as I was told that MedicAlert is the only one that is taken seriously by medics. A friend who is a fireman recently noticed my MedicAlert bracelet and actually congratulated me for being sensible enough to wear it!
There is never a moment I can let my guard down. There are so many things I need to avoid now palm oil has joined the list. The last few reactions I’ve had have all been bi-phasic, meaning the reaction keeps coming back and won’t be stopped. Last time they recurred for 2 months. I have to take vast amounts of antihistamine every day slow down any potential reaction.
Having been so reluctant to tell anyone, I now steel myself to talk about it. I am still embarrassed but at least I’m alive!
I won’t let anaphylaxis define me and I lead a normal life although the worry is always there. I run 2 of my own businesses and despite all this, I can honestly say I’m living my dream.”
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