Today I had a parenting experience that I hoped to never have. I was walking down our street to get to our community mailbox, my daughter was up on our balcony I could hear her calling me and our dog barking. As I turned the corner suddenly I heard her scream. Piercing. And then another scream.

I turned on my heel and ran back towards the house, trying to see her, calling her name. I got to the house, threw off my shoes, dropped everything I was holding and ran upstairs. My mother had brought her inside and my husband was sitting with her. She was still screaming, there were tears streaming down her face and she was writhing in pain.

She had been stung twice on her legs by a hornet.

She couldn’t sit still, she couldn’t stop crying and she was begging us to make the pain stop.

I have never felt so very much out of control. I had never dealt with this and I had no idea what to do. I got the stinger out of her toe, but then what? How do I fix this? How do I make it better as soon as possible?

And that’s when I noticed her toes were turning purple.

Having never dealt with anaphylaxis in my life (thank god) I had no idea if this was normal or a really bad sign. We called an ambulance.

Just last week she told me that I’m a better doctor than our family doctor after I had taken care of something that required a bandaid. Now here I was, totally helpless.

The paramedics talked us all through things. She was breathing normally, her heart rate was elevated but that was expected from her emotional reaction. She was in pain, which was to be expected, and the swelling was localized, which was a good sign. They told us that if she were going to have a reaction it would have happened by that time. We were to keep an eye on her, pay attention to her breathing.

There are a lot of people that live with anaphylaxis hanging over their heads all the time. I cannot imagine how that feels. The fear I felt today I never want to feel again.

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