Sorry To Bother, But Might You Have An EpiPen I Can Use Immediately?Commentary • Opinion • health • ISSUE 42•18 • May 3, 2006 By Reggie Atkins Excuse me. Hello? I hate to be a bother, but—oh, never mind. Actually—good day. Pardon my somewhat strident tone—I have no wish to appear rude, but as these dark spots form in my field of vision and I edge ever closer to absolute blindness, I am possibly guilty of bypassing, for expediency's sake, some of the normally observed rules of propriety—but should you happen have an EpiPen on your person, I could derive some much-needed benefit from it. Although, really, at this point, any epinephrine auto-injector will do. You see, I was just outside the movie theater, perusing the marquee, and, well, it's childish, I suppose, but I noticed an upright but apparently abandoned and nearly full cup of soda on the curb, and I couldn't resist toppling it with my toe. It was a childish move. The problem is that I hadn't noticed the two or three wasps that were hovering just beneath the cup's lid, and, well, I suppose you can deduce the results. I do regret the imposition, but my situation skews toward the urgent side. I was first acquainted with my deathly allergy to bee and wasp venom after being stung at the age of 5. Prior experience has made it clear to me that as soon as that venom hits my bloodstream, my airways begin to shut, and my breathing is severely hindered, the end result being total asphyxiation. I was lucky to receive prompt medical assistance on that infamous day in 1977, and I hope my luck holds up on this sunny afternoon, as well. So, if it's no trouble, I would greatly appreciate the use of your EpiPen, if you have one, seriously, right now.I'm sorry. I don't mean to lose my composure. Wouldn't you know, the one day I forget my EpiPen is the day I need it the most. I usually—more than usually—have it right here in my shirt pocket. I don't know where I could have left it. In the shirt I wore yesterday? Perhaps on the nightstand. Well, I suppose that's irrelevant. I can't torment myself over its present whereabouts. What's important now is that I receive a dose of subdermal epinephrine posthaste, before I slip out of consciousness.The crazy thing is that I am usually so careful not to disturb wasps. Until today, I have managed to steer clear of them. I don't know what got into me, kicking that soda cup. I tried to swat them away, but that seemed to incite them further. One caught me right in the meaty part of the hand. Oh, my, I can no longer swallow. Also, this tingling, burning sensation is very distracting.Are you sure you don't have an EpiPen? Did you check all your pockets? What about that fanny pack? Sometimes there's an auxiliary side pocket on a fanny pack that owners often overlook. Seriously, check now. If you happen to come across one, please plunge it forcefully into my thigh or arm. It will sting, but I won't mind. Amusing to think that one little sting could save me, minutes after another sting that could finish me. Well, not so much amusing as bitterly ironic. I might even laugh if these histamines weren't restricting normal airflow so much.If not for this trifling anaphylactic shock, I wouldn't bother you. Wait, I think it's going away. No. No, it's not. I am feeling a touch dizzy. It's probably from lack of oxygen. Perhaps you could help clear my air passage by giving me a goddamn shot from an EpiPen? Are you timid about loaning prescription medication to a strange and unvetted individual? Please divest yourself of any worry. I promise I'll return the pen immediately—as soon as I regain consciousness and regulate my breathing and am able to do so. I'll only need it for a brief, life-saving moment, I assure you.Oh, also, help yourself to the contents of my wallet.Were you in the throes of an extreme allergic reaction, I would certainly loan you my spare EpiPen. It represents a truly miraculous advancement in immunological treatments, and it would be a joy to administer the life-saving dose myself. Wouldn't even expect a thank-you. It's just a common fucking courtesy to help someone in need. So please, before I die like a dog in the street, I beg you. Give me an EpiPen.