Editors Note: I am sharing this, with minimal poetic license, a single edit for flow. It is something that was shared with me by one of our contributors who would like to be identified as Sunlit Dusk in this post. In exchanging emails on possible future posts she shared this and I think it is an excellent lesson for us all, so I asked for and received permission, honoring her rules.
“He was stung by a wasp. He knew anaphylaxis was heading his way like a crazed fizzy bath bomb of internally-produced mustard gas – asphyxiation precipitated by his own immune system. Eight years old.
Everyone knows that baby scorpions and baby rattlesnakes are more dangerous than their adult relatives because their defensive systems have not yet developed any self-control – they unload everything they’ve got regardless of the consequences to their own survival.
That is his immune system right now. It responds to a venomous threat with so much force it will kill him if medical intervention is not available.
He was stung. He quickly understood that no help was coming; his babysitter froze in the classic human response of, “This can’t be happening, what am I supposed to do?” She has been conditioned to look for someone else to assume authority.
He knew that he would die if he did not take charge. Assert his own authority. This was indeed a life or death moment.
To save his own life, he had to ignore his caregiver’s own weaknesses, paralysis and observed incompetence. He understood that it was all on him. There was no help coming. He decided that he was now in charge. He had to be. Walked up a flight of steps. Was scared enough to be shaking but kept telling himself to try to keep his heart rate as slow as possible. Was deliberate. Never got sloppy or forgot exactly where his Epi Pen was located. Used it as rehearsed.
Commanded that I, his mom, receive a phone call right NOW.
Use of an Epi Pen is not the end of the story. Immune systems gone wild are like college kids on spring break – it’s not over ‘till it’s over. It can be a 72-hour life threatening event even if it appears that nothing is going on. The immune system will defend as soon as it can get back on its feet just like a young scorpion or a college kid without limits; it doesn’t think, it just goes ape-crazy and does its thing.
This is a story of survival, A thunder clap. It was not TEOTWAWKI. But it would have been for me, and for him, had the story ended differently. It would have ended differently if, at eight years old, he decided that someone who was clearly incompetent, could assume authority over him.
Or if he had waited for help to come that was not coming. If he had done that, the thunderclap would not have been some sort of romantic survival scenario about how amazing we are in a worst-case scenario. Instead it would have simply been tragic. Survival isn’t a future thing. It’s right now.”
Editor’s Note: I believe she has a future John Connor there.