Parents of the Year Strike Again

On Saturday Martin and I arrived at two conclusions:

1. Cayden is allergic to horses.
2. And we have no idea how to use an epinephrine autoinjector, also called an “EpiPen.”

We were killing time Saturday morning, waiting for our friend Mike, when I fetched Bugsy the Perfect Pony from the field. We stood in the front yard while I yelled for the kids. They didn’t respond so I tugged on Bugsy’s reins. He stepped gingerly on the brick stoop and moved up onto the front porch.

He would have walked right into the house and down the hallway but I noticed that his tiny, unshod hooves were marring the porch wood. So I nudged the pony off as the kids spilled out the door.

Both Hadley and Cayden — barefoot, bareback and violating every rule of safe riding — hoped aboard and off we went. Around the riding ring to our favorite tree where the kids slid off and played tag. Bugsy was home base.

The Perfect Pony looked content and interested in the kids. Despite the fact that I feed him daily and ply him with treats, he regarded me with a suspicious gaze and ears tipped back. It’s clear that he likes children but I am not to be trusted.

Back at the porch Cayden was wheezing and coughing. And since I’ve noticed a similar display after riding (and he hadn’t eaten anything suspect) I thought that he’s probably allergic to horses.

Mike was still not there, so Martin and I started talking about the EpiPen. (Yes, I’m trying to pin this on Mike.)

First of all, the product name is far too friendly.¬†EpiPen sounds like something you might stock in your desk at work. As in, “Hey Jim, I need to correct this document… can I borrow your EpiPen?”

Considering what this contraption does, it should be called the “Medical Battery Operated Nail Gun.” M-BONG for short.

Cayden’s coughing and wheezing wasn’t the worse we’ve seen from him, but we pulled out the EpiPen box and read the piss-poor directions. They offered the following guidance: Use for emergency treatment of severe allergic reactions.

So Martin tried to figure it out. He removed the cap, studied the flat top and tapped it innocuously against Cayden’s thigh. That was fine until the force of his practice jabs triggered the device and we heard a firm “ffftp.”

I didn’t know what had happened until Cayden started crying so hard he couldn’t breathe. Fortunately when he flinched and jumped away from the needle’s release, the medicine wasn’t delivered. Martin held up the pen, revealing a thick — and bent — protruding needle, while I put pressure on the Boy’s bleeding leg.

I will say this: the EpiPen cured his allergy attack. The shock of pain replaced coughing with crying.

And we learned how to use the EpiPen in the event that we really need it.

And for now we have a temporary, new threat in our arsenal against bad behavior: “Final warning: if you don’t knock that off, I’m going to get the EpiPen….

Probably not it’s intended use. But it has cut down on misconduct. And when the Boy’s allergies really kick in, he wards us off with a hand and says, “I’m Ok, I’m Ok. Just get me a Benadryl.”