An Epipen Saved My Life, But I Think The Cost is Fine
I don’t care if you get mad about the title, because you’re right, I want to draw your attention to what I have to talk about.
Is it true that an Epipen saved my life? Maybe. I know it woke me up from being unconscious while having a severe allergic reaction to a bee sting.
The back story.
I climbed over a fence surrounding a neighborhood pool. I was about 12 years old. I was so excited to get to the pool that I couldn’t wait for my mom and family friends to unlock the pool door.
After climbing the fence, I laid my towel down next to some bushes and took my shirt off. I had the whole pool to myself. I laid down on my towel, and started soaking up a little sun while I waited for my mom.
A few minutes of laying around and I started to feel super thirsty. My mouth was kinda dry, and I felt a bit dizzy. I wasn’t really sure what was going on, other than a little tingle from the top of my right index finger. I looked down and saw the bee’s stinger. I quickly pulled it out.
Only a few seconds passed and my skin started to feel sorta loose. It is a strange feeling, like my skin might melt off. I could see little bubbles forming on my skin everywhere on my arms and legs. I even pulled my shorts down to confirm the hives were covering my whole body.
I panicked. I knew I had to jump back over the fence and go get help from somebody. The pool was in a remote area. I thought going to a stranger’s door wouldn’t guarantee that I’d get help so I started running back to my mom.
Jumping the fence wasn’t easy because I felt kinda dizzy, but by then I could feel my life was in danger. I mostly just thought of how terrible it would be for people to find me dead inside a pool by myself. After climbing the gate, I ran as fast as I could to get to the neighbor’s house where my mom was. I couldn’t even cry because I was in so much shock.
Finally I reached my mom’s friend’s place. I ran into the backyard and open the back door. I could feel the bubbles on my face getting worse. Finally my mom saw me and called an ambulance. She sat me down in a chair and that’s when I started to lose consciousness. I started to feel very comfortable in the chair and felt everything going black, like I was just going to take a quick nap.
I woke up from a paramedic injecting adrenaline into me. It was likely and Epipen or something similar. I could feel the hives leaving my body immediately and I felt totally normal only seconds after the shot. Some people might find it unbelievable that you could be dying one moment, and just a little shot could revive you and make you totally normal again. I hope you believe me, that’s exactly how I remember it.
Need for an Epipen
After this experience I bought an Epipen every year. I never used them each year but had to purchase them just in case. I was young and didn’t even want to bring it around. I had to carry a backpack with me every day because they were bigger back then. I carried it for a few years until I got tired of it. It’s super tiring to carry the things around with you everywhere you go, and sometimes people would think I was weird to have it.
Fast Forward, Today
Now that all these controversies are coming up about Epipens, it’s reminding me of my past. It still affects me to this day. I don’t like to go on camping trips because of the worry I might get stung and have a terrible reaction and die in the middle of a canyon somewhere. I am pretty terrified of remote nature locations, and people generally don’t believe me when I tell them why.
I choose not to buy Epipens and the main reason is I think it’s a pain in the ass. I could afford the $600 price, but yeah, I think it’s too expensive.
The Epipen Price
I wrote this article and wanted to tell my story because I don’t agree that the price is “too high”. I think the price is what it should be considering the circumstances. All of the blame shouldn’t be on the CEO of Mylan (maker of Epipen). Maybe she and her company are terrible people, maybe they aren’t. I really don’t know, and I think that people can only really speculate on that, and in the end, nobody will really care.
Here is what I think the problem is: lack of competition. It’s not brain surgery to manufacture adrenaline (ingredient in Epipen or epinephrine).
The problem isn’t greedy CEOs, the problem is lack of greedy CEOs.
The FDA is generating an environment that isn’t conducive to competition. People should act against the FDA and quit blaming CEOs.