Friday, September 25, 2009

Scary Shit

Today was such a beautiful day for a run I thought that I would post about it. It was nearly perfect weather, about 61 degrees with a dew point of 37 degrees - perfect fall running weather. I ran about 13 miles, mostly on trails in Hollis off Rideout Road and Nashua in Yudicky Farm. I know, this is not very interesting but I have a good closer. About a half mile from my house something nailed me in the back of the head and I immediately determined I was stung by either a wasp or a hornet. This would be no big deal, other than the fact that it hurt like hell, if I were not severely allergic to hornet and wasp stings. I high-tailed it home, got my epi-pens ready and waited for the onset of the symptoms. In about 5 minutes I was in full anaphylactic shock so I used one of the epi-pens and called 911. I was wearing jeans and did not feel anything when I used the epi pen and saw no hole so, to be on the safe side, I pulled my pants down and administered another epi-pen (in my thigh, not my ass). Later, the doctors and EMTs said the first one was successful, so I got two 0.3mg doses of epinephrine. Right about this time my neighbors came to the door and I am sure they were a bit surprised to see me laying on the floor in my underwear with a bunch of spent epi-pens on the floor around me. My wife had called them and asked them to help out because the last time this happened my tongue swelled up and blocked my esophagus. They stuck around until the ambulance arrived and helped me get my pants back on. Thanks Kirk and Kelly.

Anyway, in the ambulance the EMTs gave me 50mg of benadryl through an IV, took all my vital stats and hauled ass to the hospital. Luckily, this time I did not have any trouble breathing, probably because I used the epi-pens, and my O2 saturation never dropped below 98%. Epinephrine does crazy stuff to your body, especially when you take as much as I had. My heart felt like it was going to pop right out of my chest and it was racing at about 120-130bpm. Also, my hands were shaking like crazy and I felt extremely light-headed. The worst part of the entire experience happened, coincidentally I think, when they started to administer the corticosteroids through the IV. Both my heart rate and blood-pressure started dropping and hit 40 and 80/40, respectively, I started sweating profusely and I became extremely nauseous. The doctors said that this was most likely caused by the epi wearing off and I was going through withdrawal. If this is what drug addicts or cigarette smokers go through when they try to quit I am shocked that anyone could quit. This was probably the most unpleasant experience of my life and for about 30 minutes I seriously thought that I was going to die today.

I am fine now and controlling the hives with benadryl. I guess that they will continue for a couple more hours. They told me to lay low a couple of days because they gave me another corticosteroid shot into the muscle which will last for about 5 days and it could mask any pain when running. I probably should not mention this because I will probably be accused of taking PEDS, but I can live with that because it probably saved my life. I guess that I need to start carrying my epi pen with me, but it is such a pain in the ass to carry stuff while running. I find it shocking that a sting from a tiny insect can cause this kind of reaction in a full-grown person and it takes as much time, money and drugs as it does to help the body counteract the effects.

8 comments:

DoubleJ said...

Damn man...that's crazy. I honestly think that is the craziest running related story I've heard for sure....glad you are ok now...I can't imagine going through that. Take a well deserved couple days!

Ethan Crain said...

Thanks. It was a bit scary but at least it made up my mind about running Applefest this year! See you on the roads.

Fly98rpi said...

Good to hear you are alright...brought back memories of the Old Grey Road...I use hydration belt for my 6-10 milers...perfect storage for an epi-pen and not as much a pain in the arse as running for your life...

Steve Wolfe said...

Wow, that is scary stuff. I think you were fortunate to be so close to home. If the choice is between taking a pen and nearly dying, I'd pick A, at least on the long runs. Sounds like you have a small window to work with. Take it easy.

Jim Hansen said...

Glad you are OK Ethan. Yeah, I'd carry that epi-pen!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Glad you made it through Ethan. The experience sounds very unpleasant. It is crazy that your life/death can hinge upon an insect bite. Maybe you can strap that pen to your arm or something...definitely carry it.
-Lan

mueblerunner said...

Best of luck with your recovery.

Michael said...

Wow! That's messed up. Good for you for thinking clearly and acting quickly. Yeah, the bees seem pretty pissed this time of year. I think they get angry when it starts getting cold at night - something about freezing to death, I guess. I got stung twice while on my bike this week. Bugger got under my jersey and couldn't get out!