A poem about having an anaphylactic attack…

I wrote this poem after my last very frightening anaphylactic attack which got me whilst I was on my own, at home, in the middle of the snow in February last year.

Fear grips by Ruth Holroyd

My lips are tingling
I feel kind of odd
My brain is now jingling
Please help me God

First of all it’s the wheezing
My throat feels tight
I touch my face
And get quite a fright

It feels all puffy
My eyes are sore
My nose is streaming
I can’t take any more

I try to speak
My voice is gone
Just a croak is left
My throat blocked with stone

I call 999
“It’s alright, your call we can trace”
“Keep calm, stay on the line”
Tears rolling down my face

Out comes the Epipen
Sharp and bright
The needle in my thigh
Hold tight

Fear grips me
I am struggling to breathe
The pain in my throat
Feels like a tightening sheathe

The itching skin
Bubbling with lumps
Unbearable burning
My stomach churning

How long will I wait now?
My throat is closing
I just feel so tired
Close my eyes and dozing

I begin to shake
Tears pour down my cheeks
I quake and flake
I’m feeling so weak

I don’t want to die here
The panic swirls
I am losing control
I am sinking below

I feel so hot
I’m burning up
I cannot breathe
I cannot see

I close my eyes
And hear a sound
Hard soles on gravel
A door slams

A hand on my shoulder
A voice

On goes the mask
The blood pressure pump
Injections and needles
Questions confusion

“It’s OK now Ruth.”
You’re going to be alright
I see myself in the mirror
What a fright!

Have you had an allergic reaction and had to use your EpiPen? What did it feel like? How did you feel?

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About Ruth

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. http://www.whatallergy.com was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She also won the Foods You Can People's choice Best FreeFrom blogger award 2014.


  1. Jennifer says:

    Wow! Very well written. This helps me understand what my son may go through one day. He is the one with the severe food allergies. He has had a couple of reactions, but someone was always with him at the time. It must be so frightening, even when someone is there with you!

    • Hi Jennifer. I do so hope he doesn’t. When I was a child nuts just made me violently sick, then after that I was OK. However, over the years the reactions seem to have got worse, with dairy turning into anaphylaxis when I used to eat it OK, but probably just had an intolerance as a child. I’m not sure what the answer is. I suppose just take care and take precautions, be prepared etc. Stay safe.

  2. robert hammond says:

    Fascinating poem Ruth, full of strength. When I was working as a medical rep I often mentioned anaphylactic shock in relaition to penicillin – a very rare reaction. I had no idea what it was like and your descriptive poem informs me. Tell me-was it a difficult effort to use the epipe, or not.

    • Hi there Bob. Yes it brings it all back reading that poem. Very frightening. Every nerve in the body seems to be involved and I’m exhausted the day after an attack. As for using the EpiPen, yes it’s hard. You have to use it as soon as you can as I have passed out before. But it doesn’t hurt at all, so now I’ve used it I’m far more confident about using it next time – i hope there won’t be a next time… touch wood.

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