I was talking with a colleague the other day about developing an allergy/anaphylaxis education program for a local school district. As these conversations go,we talked about the various aspects of allergy care and how the goal of such a program would be to try and make everyone in a school as comfortable as possible in recognizing and then, providing assistance to a student who may need help. We talked for few more minutes and then she said to me that her daughter, who is not an patient of mine so HIPPA police calm down, has anaphylaxis and for a long time never felt comfortable if she had to use her epinephrine. Before everyone starts screaming, “she needs more education” she did not. She saw a very good Allergist and was instructed in the proper use, storage and indication for epinephrine use. Her mother, the colleague I was speaking with, is a nurse and very comfortable around injectable epinephrine. So I asked how did she, meaning her daughter, get comfortable about having to use her epinephrine. Her response: “An orange”.
She repeated ” An orange.”
“Yeah, that’s pretty funny. Seriously how did she get more comfortable with her epi”, I replied.
After a few minutes of staring and smiling at me — I think she enjoyed having stumped me — she relayed her story. Her daughter, a teenager, never felt comfortable if she had to ever use her epi. She had been taught the right things by her Doctor. She had an epinephrine trainer. She knew how to remove the cap, inject herself in her outer thigh, count to ten and then call 911. She knew when to use her epinephrine as well. But she was still afraid if it ever came time to use her injectable epinephrine she would not be able to inject herself.
Then one day, my colleagues daughter decided to use her injectable epinephrine — despite not have any symptoms of food allergy and anaphylaxis.
“Tell me she didn’t just inject herself for kicks”, I chimed in.
Well, I must have had an interesting look on my face as, my colleague, just starred at me. Now I have known her for a long time and I thought she was just messing with me and having some fun — at my expense. But I also knew she, from past experience, she usually has some good ideas and comments.
“She used an orange” my colleague casually throws out there.
“Yup, she used her expired injectable epinephrine on an orange”. She explained, her daughter was always afraid that the real epinephrine would be more difficult to use than the trainer. Once she used her expired injectable epinephrine on a orange she realized that the it really was not that difficult and now she has no fear or worries about using her injectable epinephrine.
Well this idea, use your expired injectable epinephrine on an orange, just became apart of my injectable epinephrine education program.
Don’t you hate it when teenagers teach us lessons!