Two decades ago, Catherine Banks had a scary long-term episode with hives that was never fully resolved. After that incident, her doctor told her to hurry to the emergency room if she ever experienced swelling of the tongue or difficulty breathing. Twenty years later, she recalled his advice…and was happy the FHN ER was just down the street.
Her allergic reaction came at a most inopportune time. "I was actually getting ready to take my husband, Roosevelt, to the ER. He had a terrible cough and uncontrolled hiccups. I could tell he was quite sick. But all of a sudden I had a strange sensation. My tongue was getting big and turning a crimson red. Knowing that my emergency was more time sensitive, I called my daughter to come handle her dad's transport, put an ice cube in my mouth, and drove myself a few blocks to the ER. I was sure happy to have healthcare experts so close to home."
This time, Catherine's allergy was clear: a reaction to a common blood pressure medication. One shot later, she immediately started to feel better. After several hours of observation (and confirmation that her husband was being treated for pneumonia), she was permitted to go home. "It was swelling fast, so I was definitely scared," Catherine shares. "I probably should have called 911, but my tongue was making speech difficult and my instincts told me to get to the ER fast.
"I knew they would take good care of me. And they did. In just a few short minutes, I believe the team there saved my life. I am so grateful for their prompt, caring, and courteous help...and that I am still here to savor all the little things that make life special, like family gatherings and having lunch with my friends."