Anaphylactic Reaction

13 Feb

A 12-hour flight from Tel Aviv to Toronto, plus a 2 1/2 hour stop-over (which the baggage handlers rounded up into a total of four), plus another five hour flight – still doesn’t give me enough time to think of the right words to thank my brother- and sister-in-law, Keith & Sheila, the ones who put me onto the ketogenic diet, who are waiting to meet us at Vancouver airport. I need to thank Keith for saving my life.

Twice, actually.

The first time was a bizarre incident almost twenty-five years ago. Keith was doing a locum quite close to our house in Kfar Saba. I was supposedly being desensitised for allergies at Tel Hashomer; a series of 12 injections. I’d had about five for the previous five weeks. Keith offered to give me the sixth at home, to save me the hassle of the hospital. Suddenly, I’m not feeling too well. Pam tells me to take an anti-histamine or something similar. I go to our mirror-faced medical cabinet and see what seems to be my own reflection – except it’s full of red blotches. But it’s my chest that’s feeling the pinch. I peer at it in disbelief and can’t even panic. Keith will fix it. As luck would have it, Pip had just popped in and proffered to take me to the doc. To cut a long story short, we get to Keith – who takes one look at me – and we literally fly to the Meir Hospital. I’m having an anaphylactic reaction [21] . I hardly notice he has a syringe drawn up between his teeth as he drives, just in case. ER is there to recognize emergencies and jab me with the corrective cortisone. It was over before anyone could explain to me what an anaphylactic reaction or shock is. Keith had simply saved my life. I never knew I’d been in danger – let alone being about five minutes from meeting my Maker.

This time it’s different. I know how serious pancreatic cancer is. I have no idea how long I’ve got. But then how different is that from anyone else on this earth?

The flight is long enough to write thus far. No thoughts of how to adequately say thank you have taken off. I’ll continue after landing.

Keith was there to pick us up with his gorgeous daughter, Natalya. I tried to find the right words – which simply brought a sort of embarrassed smile to his face. It was so reminiscent of his late dad, Sidney. I realised yet again what an amazing family the Symons are – both Keith, Pip and their families.

And I bless our safe  arrival inVancouver.


[21]  Anaphylaxis is defined as “a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death”. It typically results in a number of symptoms including an itchy rash, throat swelling, and low blood pressure. Common causes include insect bites, foods, and medications. On a pathophysiologic level, anaphylaxis is due to the release of mediators from certain types of white blood cells triggered either by immunologic or non-immunologic mechanisms.

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4 Responses to “Anaphylactic Reaction”

  1. Felicity February 13, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    Yay!!! telepathy – was just driving home and thinking I could call you in Vancouver to say hello! Great that the trip went OK. Have an AMAZING time all being together! xxx Fil

  2. angiemaus February 13, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    I remember that story – simply amazing!

    So guys – you made it – luggage did too – there is a G-d!

    Say hi to Keith and Sheila for me and enjoy every second! xxxx

  3. Karen Abel February 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

    I decided to check in and was so excited to see that you had written your blog and knew that if that was so, then you had arrived safely in Vancouver! I am so happy for you and Pam.
    What an amazing story you shared with us.
    Continue being well and having a great time!
    Looking forward to more blogs …

  4. sara February 13, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    Seems like we’ve all been sitting around our various dinner tables asking the same question – how was their journey? are they doing ok? so pleased that you wrote and showed that you are in good spirits.
    enjoy the family and enjoy Vancouver.
    Sara

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