Meet Catherine

Patient story

Catherine’s story

Catherine’s Story

In late September Catherine had stopped off at her mum’s house on the way to work, as she often did, to walk their dogs. She headed out to the marshes behind her mum’s house, and before she knew what had happened an angry swarm of bees descended on her, and started to sting. Catherine ran back to her mum’s house; something she has since learned wasn’t the best idea as it speeds up the allergic reaction, but she panicked and could still feel the bees in her hair, despite the fact they were long gone. She sat down and felt odd, so walked back into the kitchen and promptly collapsed on the kitchen floor.

patient_catherine edgington_photo

Catherine’s mum Rosie called for an ambulance, and then had the longest wait of her life. The operator was talking to her to keep her calm, but Catherine was on the floor, and her condition was deteriorating. The air ambulance arrived about 35 minutes later, just after the land ambulance.

The crew that day were critical care paramedic Neil Flowers and Dr Chris Wright. When they arrived Catherine was in respiratory arrest, meaning she wasn’t breathing for herself – she was in severe anaphylactic shock. They treated her with medication including adrenaline, and gave her a sedative to put her to sleep, and plenty of fluids.

Catherine doesn’t remember anything between running back into the house after the stings and waking up in intensive care, but knows that the speed with which she was treated and taken to hospital saved her life.

Rosie

The pilot, Steve Norris, took Rosie outside as the whole thing was understandably distressing.

Catherine was airlifted to the Norfolk and Norwich hospital, in just 13 minutes, and her mum followed in her car. Rosie was told that Catherine was seriously ill, but that everything possible was being done for her.

Catherine doesn’t remember anything between running back into the house after the stings and waking up in intensive care, but knows that the speed with which she was treated and taken to hospital saved her life.

Catherine was only in hospital for a few days, but it took a lot longer for her to get her confidence back, and she had an awful week at home on strong steroids. She initially wouldn’t take the dogs out alone, and steered clear of places where she knew there were bee hives. She has since been to an allergy clinic to try and ascertain why she reacted so badly. She was found not to be allergic to bee stings, but the doctor she saw said there’s no real way to tell how she will react if stung again. Catherine always takes an epipen with her just in case, and has been advised to always use the epipen, take an antihistamine and call for medical support if she’s ever stung again, regardless of how she reacts. The problem may simply have been the number of stings Catherine had.

Catherine has since taken part in a Norfolk superhero challenge, which required her to swim a mile, kayak 4 miles, cycle 45 miles and run 8 miles. Her friends and family were incredibly generous and she raised over £8000, partly due to the charity being so close to home, and partly because doing such a challenge is so out of Catherine’s character, and it was likely to be a one off occurance!