You would never guess that minutes after these dreamy photos were taken, I was struggling with my mortality. Behind every photo is a story and this one almost turned tragic: My pretty friend, Sophie, and I were having a lovely time taking these photos during a gorgeous spring day. We were both dressed and dolled up for some glamourous photos. She was wearing this flowy white dress, and I was wearing a striking red, lace dress. I was taking photos of her first. She was doing some ballerina poses, while I tried to capture her gracefulness. It was all fun and games, in the beginning! The only thing that was a little annoying were the fireants that kept biting us. But we didn't think much of those little buggers. About half an hour into taking the photos, Sophie went to change into a different dress, and I decided to collect some daisies to try to make a flower wreath for her. While I was picking daisies, I started to feel a little cramping, sort of like menstrual cramps.
I immediately thought of an experience I had last summer when the same thing happened to me while camping with some friends. Out of nowhere I had this awful cramping and the immediate need to use the restroom and after doing so, I was ok. I didn't know then what caused that sudden and strange illness but I suspected it was due to some mosquito bites on my chest because I had hives there.
So, in the middle of picking daisies, I thought to myself, if I could just find a restroom, I will be ok, just like the camping situation. Then I started feeling itchy on my chest, and I asked Sophie if I had hives there. She said it was getting red in that area and it did look like hives. I told her, I still really wanted to continue taking photos but I just needed to make a restroom run. So, we headed to a building that was just a few minutes' walk away from where we were taking photos. We had to cross the street to get there, but the cramping was steadily getting worse and I really needed to use the bathroom so badly, that I almost crossed the street without thinking about the cars passing by. Luckily I didn't get run over in my rush to the restroom.
By the time I crossed the street and was on a sidewalk, the cramps were magnified and the pain was starting to be intolerable. Also, I was rapidly losing my strength and my heart started racing. I broke out in a sweat and I wasn't sure if I coud breath well or not. Feeling so weak, I sat down on the sidewalk. Amidts all of this, I thought to myself, what a strange sight it must have been to all of the cars that were passing by: this overdressed girl in this very noticeably red dress, sitting on the sidewalk as if she was about to pass out. But I didn't care, the pain was so bad that I wanted to just lay down in a fetal position on that sidewalk.
By this time, I knew that what was happening to me was serious and I needed medical help, immediately. Good thing Sophie was there with me while all of this was happening and I asked her, maybe even begged her, to call 911. A lady in a mini-van stopped and asked if we needed help while Sophie was on the phone with 911. I thought, thank goodness to good Samaritans! Take me to get help! But Sophie told the lady we were getting help already and as the lady drove away, I felt what hope I had left leaving. I was really hoping the lady would take me to the hospital or somewhere to get help! I was trying my best to wave the minivan down and crying for the the lady in the minivan to come back! But Sophie didn't hear what was I was trying to communicate because all I could do at this point was whisper.
I didn't think I could handle a few more minutes waiting for an ambulance to come. I was still keeled over on the sidewalk with tons of cars passing by with this craziness going on inside of me. So, with some pride driven energy, I began to crawl towards the passenger seat of my car which was several yards away, all because I didn't want to be seen like this in public and also due to some other gruesome details that I don't want to share. I just stayed in the car waiting for help to arrive. The wait felt like eterenity. I started to mentally pray to my Heavenly Father. I started to think about how much I loved my life and how I didn't want to leave my husband behind. I wanted to call my husband and although the phone was next to me, I was so stripped of energy that I couldn't even make a phone call!
The pain was unbearable, I didn't know if I could handle any of it much longer. Also, I was feeling a million things from my body all at once! I was slumped in the car seat drenched in sweat, struggling to talk to the paramedics when they finally arrived. I repeatedly kept begging them to help me! While they were trying to get me out of the car, I started heaving and gasping for air. I didn't even feel them inject me with an epi-pen which apparently has big, fat needles. Things got better shortly after I got the epi shot and some benadryl in my system. On the ride to the hospital, I felt so relieved and so much better. I felt safe to think that I was going to be ok!
This was the worst and scariest experience in my life by far. And it was all because of a bunch of fireants (and I could most likely be allergic to bees, wasps, and other things)! What I suffered from was anaphalyxis and according to a PA that I saw, it could have been just a mild episode and I have to be careful because the next episode could be even worse! So what I went through could just be MILD??? I can't imagine what severe feels like. Perhaps, like pushing up daisies? But I am grateful to God to be alive and that help was nearby! I have to carry an epi-pen everywhere now and also I have to be more careful with my outdoor activities. You would think this near death experience would scare me off from being outdoors where all the bugs are but I am stubborn and want to live my life to the fullest! I won't let a scary experience hinder me from doing what I love: taking photos outdoors and picking daisies =)