Slowing down makes a big difference with HAE care

A columnist finds that rushing the treatment process leads to errors

Danita LaShelle Jones avatar

by Danita LaShelle Jones |

Share this article:

Share article via email
banner image for Danita LaShelle Jones' column,

The entire day felt like a blur. Due to scheduling mishaps, a misunderstanding of departure time, and construction-related traffic delays, I had about 30 minutes to get from the airport entrance to the gate.

Thankfully, I made the flight, and as the plane taxied down the runway, I concluded that rushing had saved me from the complications that missing my flight would have entailed. But when we landed at a layover city, I reached into my bag for my wallet, and it wasn’t there.

It didn’t show on my face, but I was in complete panic mode. Had I left it at the security checkpoint? Had I dropped it when getting on the plane? Did someone steal it? I didn’t know.

Recommended Reading
A patient receives a subcutaneous injection in this illustration.

COVID-19 vaccine not linked to risk of HAE worsening, study finds

I frantically dug through my bag again, imagining every terrible scenario including being stuck in a city without money or an identification. Defeated, I sat in a chair at the gate. With little hope left, I searched once more.

This time, after a deep breath, I took my time. With careful and meticulous execution, I searched inside my carry-on bag. It took less than a minute to find my wallet, which was tucked away in one of the bag’s hidden pockets. During my earlier feverish search, I’d overlooked it several times.

The lesson: Slowing down solves lots of problems.

Slow and steady wins the race

When our oldest daughter, whom we lovingly call Ladybug, was diagnosed with hereditary angioedema (HAE), we found ourselves facing a lot of emergencies that required quick action.

When she was experiencing a flare or prodromes (warning symptoms), we quickly learned that time was of the essence. Emergency medications like Berinert (human C1 esterase inhibitor) are most effective when they’re administered at the onset of symptoms.

But ensuring that Ladybug received her medication quickly didn’t mean I needed to rush. In fact, I made many mistakes when I hurried to give her an IV.

Sometimes I’d miss her vein and have to stick her multiple times. Other times, I’d forget to grab medical supplies, such as tape, gauze, or Band-Aids. In one memorable scenario, I accidentally mixed two sterile water vials instead of medication. Rushing didn’t fail me sometimes; it failed me every time.

Additionally, a stressful situation would devolve into Ladybug crying and having a panic attack.

It took several more mistakes to learn that the words “rushing” and “quickly” aren’t the same. In fact, moving more slowly has some amazing benefits.

A few things happen when I slow down before and during administering Ladybug’s emergency medication:

  • I mix the medication correctly.
  • I gather all the necessary supplies and set them up in the order I need.
  • I can find a vein and stick it on the first try.
  • I can help Ladybug relax so the entire process is less traumatic.

Efficiency is the most important factor when treating an HAE emergency. Without it, while you may have attempted to solve the problem quickly, you might not have handled it well, which can lead to more issues.

It reminds me of a sobering quote I read by author and playwright Oscar Auliq-Ice: “Nothing good ever comes out of hurry and frustration, only misery.”

Sometimes, breathing and slowing down is the best thing to do in every situation.

Note: Angioedema News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Angioedema News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to angioedema.


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.