Last week all of the Epi- Pens for Aaron expired. At the SAME time. Blamm.
We had six in the house. Two that we always have where Aaron goes, four that we kept at school. One day they worked the other they were expired. Now I may be guilty of taking an expired pain reliever but an epi-pen is a life saving medication and I would never mess with the expiration date on one. It was decided at school that Aaron would have two pens at the nurses office and two at the principals office. The reason for this is sometimes I take advantage of the after school program, if I need it. The nurse leaves the building at 3:30pm but the principals office is open till the after school program is over. There is access to Aaron’s epi-pens every moment he is at school. As it should be.
Some facts. One shot of epinephrine, the drug in the epi pen will help keep a person who is having an anaphylaxis alive for 15 minutes. It is recommended that a person who has anaphylaxis have TWO epi-pens on them or near them at ALL times in case there is a delay in getting the person to a hospital. This is perfectly reasonable and I have lived this fact for a few years.
This past week I called the allergist office at CHOP and requested for three twin packs of epi pens be called in to the pharmacist. The nurse obliged and I went off to the pharmacy. The pharmacist told me that epi pens can only be dispensed one twin pack every thirty days. She told me to call my allergists office to call the insurance to issue an over ride. I forgot all about it till Friday. I was in denial that school was starting since we had been finishing up all of Ryan’s summer therapy appointments the week before. Of course I left a message for the allergy nurse. She eventually called back when I was trying to sleep before work. The nurse was almost as nasty as a drunk in the bar on a wild Friday night. She said our medical assistance “would never” allow him to have a second or third set of epi pens. We’d have to survive a month with one epi pen at school and one at home. For over a month!
WHAT?!?!?!? I thought. She is an allergy NURSE. She knows how anaphylaxis works. I was dumbfounded. This is advice that could KILL a child. She said she would call the insurance but she “had no hope they would let us have another twin pack”.
This morning after sleeping two and a half hours, I was woke up with dreams of Aaron dying at school from an allergy. I sat up in bed, grabbed my wallet, and called the medical assistance insurance we have which is the Cadillac of insurance. No co-pays ever and if you can’t get to a Doctor appointment they drive you there. It is for disabled kids in our state. I explained the situation on the phone. I had no sleep and I was weepy. I quietly wept thinking this was going to be a HUGE fight.
The person on the other end of the phone said I released another twin pack for you to pick up today. Call us on Monday and we will release the third twin pack for you then.
I was then livid. If I were not the person I am I would of taken the allergy nurses advice as law and I might have wound up with a dead kid. Mull that over with me a minute. A dead kid, killed by something avoidable. An allergy nurses bad advice could of killed my kid if I had not bypassed her and looked for other answers.
The moral of this story.