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While working in her yard and cleaning the garage on the afternoon of June 28, Dillon resident Cheryl Daniels suddenly felt a burning sensation around her ankle. She looked down and saw blood. Thinking it was just a harmless mosquito bite, Cheryl continued working.
However, within a matter of minutes, she knew something was wrong. A diabetic, Cheryl first thought her blood sugar had dropped. “I checked my blood sugar level, and it was fine.”
Weakening more, Cheryl’s vision started to blur. “I could see, but everything became cloudy. I also experienced pain in my stomach, and I could not breathe very well.”
Frightened at this point, Cheryl called her husband, Johnnie, who rushed home from his office. When Johnnie arrived, he immediately noticed the severity of Cheryl’s condition. He recalls that she was very pale and her lips were swollen.
Johnnie knew he needed to get Cheryl to the hospital right away. He attempted to get her in the car but couldn’t lift her up.
Cheryl was too weak to continue without professional assistance. Johnnie then called 911. While waiting for the ambulance, he said Cheryl went in and out of consciousness.
Upon entering the Emergency Department at McLeod Health Dillon, Cheryl was met by Beth King, a Registered Nurse. “When Cheryl arrived, she appeared lethargic with labored breathing and low blood pressure,” said Beth.
Since Cheryl showed signs of an allergic reaction, the medical team, under the direction of Nurse Practitioner Darren Smith, quickly administered Epinephrine, an emergency treatment for anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that occurs within minutes of exposure. It affects the entire body and requires immediate emergency treatment. Symptoms may include swelling of the lips, throat and tongue, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, chest pain, tightness in the lungs, dizziness and fainting, and abdominal pain and nausea.
Epinephrine helps to reverse severe low blood pressure, wheezing, severe skin itching, hives, and other symptoms of an allergic reaction. “We also gave Cheryl Benadryl and started an IV of the steroid Solumedrol,” added Beth.
Johnnie was waiting in the lobby until Cheryl’s care team could stabilize her. Candice Tyler, Patient Representative at McLeod Health Dillon, went out and assured him that Cheryl was in excellent hands.
Candice then took Johnnie back to see his wife. He immediately noticed the improvement in Cheryl’s condition. “The swelling around her face and lips had gone down, and her breathing was better,” recalls Johnnie.
During the next few hours, Cheryl remained under observation where she continued to significantly improve.
She returned home later that afternoon with a prescription for an Epinephrine injector in the event of another reaction. People who have experienced anaphylaxis often carry a pre-loaded syringe of epinephrine, also called an EpiPen, for use at the onset of symptoms.
“The empathy and compassion the entire team showed to Johnnie and me during such an unexpected, traumatic event goes beyond words,” said Cheryl. “I still do not know what caused the reaction, but I am so thankful for the access to quality care I have through McLeod Health Dillon.”