Why I Am Never Alone When I Try A New Medication

I expected my doctors to prescribe medications when I was diagnosed with PsA and my other chronic illnesses. But I didn’t expect having reactions to prescriptions that I had taken without issue in the past.

911 - This is an emergency!

Since my first diagnosis, my body began developing allergies and reactions to many things. The first time I had an adverse reaction to a medication was a terrifying experience. My doctor had prescribed an antibiotic that I had taken all my life without any problems. I don’t remember why, but I decided to start my treatment at lunchtime. Thankfully my best friend had come over, because what happened next could have been the end of me. Within minutes of swallowing my first pill, my face, neck, and throat began to swell. My face turned bright red and I began to feel dizzy. My bestie took one look at me and knew that something was wrong. She asked if I was okay. I could only respond by shaking my head. I couldn’t speak. I quickly found my doctor's phone number on my cell phone and handed it to her along with my prescription bottle. My doctor gave her instructions to help me right away and then told her to take me to the ER if there wasn’t an improvement or to bring me straight to him if there was. Thankfully the liquid Benadryl she poured down my throat reduced the swelling and we were able to go to his office for a shot.

Afterwards, my best friend stayed with me to care for my daughter - who was a toddler at the time - because I ended up sleeping the rest of the day away. This was not the last time I would suffer an adverse or severe reaction to a medication. It has happened more often than I ever could have ever imagined, even while at the doctor’s office. While my first experience was frightening it also made me realize how important it was to not start a treatment of any kind by myself. The thought of not being able to call out for help or phone 911 by myself terrifies me.

Plan of action

Since that first reaction, I have made it a rule that I never begin a treatment alone. I don’t care if it is a pharmaceutical medication that I have tolerated in the past, a new one, or a natural/alternative treatment; I always have someone with me. In addition to having someone with me I make sure they are aware of what I am taking, why, if I have ever had it before, and I give them my doctor’s number. When it is not possible to have someone physically around, I either Skype with someone or talk on the phone with them until I feel that I am safe to go on with my day. Whether it is in person or over the phone, the other person will know if I am in trouble.

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