Live by the EpiPen, die by the EpiPen
Zach Shallbetter

When I almost died from eating pre-packaged apple slices junior year of high school, I had an allergy test done. I had so many (some minor resulting in stomach issues, some major resulting in hives or anaphylaxis) that my Mom and I made a small laminated card I could carry to help me remember them all. I think the total count was upwards of 60. My wife met a high school friend of mine years later and she referred to a boy in her chemistry class as “Allergy Boy.” It was me.

I carried around my EpiPen in my — lame — cargo shorts. Mom had one. The school nurse had one. Dad would’ve had one except he traveled a lot. I think with our rather good insurance, the cost was somewhere between $100-$130. Every year, $300+ to re-up. After 3 years of not using one, I couldn’t bear the financial burden it caused my parents after both of them made career changes and took pay cuts post-recession.

Today, I still have really bad environmental (dust, grass, trees) and cat allergies. Luckily, I’ve outgrown many of the others. But I don’t carry an EpiPen because it’s so expensive and expires every year or if it gets hotter than 85 degrees or so (I think).

You tell me what’s okay about this situation.

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