HomeElegant epinephrine

Elegant epinephrine

August 6, 2019

Janice dressed up in an owl costume next to a friend, who is dressed up in a panda costume
Can you spot my waistband hiding in my owl? Photo credit: Jennifer Walsh

When it comes to fashion, I will be the first to tell you that I don’t know much. If I’m not in a work uniform or biking, I usually stick to jeans, t-shirts, and funky socks. That said, I have always loved dressing up… and I can’t deny wearing bridesmaid dresses while mowing the lawn on laundry day.

When I was diagnosed with food allergies, carrying my epinephrine auto-injector was a huge challenge. I had nowhere to put it, and if I’m honest I often left it in my purse, locked away in a locker. At the suggestion of my colleagues, I tried leaving it in a central location at work, but then I began to forget it at work, so the whole situation became very risky. Since then, I have learned to carry my epinephrine auto-injector on me at all times.

Eventually, I found a great belt called the SPI belt. It had enough room for my epinephrine auto-injector in one pocket and my inhaler in another. It all fit on a relatively discrete waistband and lasted for about a year and a half without bouncing around when I ran after the innumerable children in my life.

The problem was what to do when I wanted to wear something a little fancier. A black belt blends in fine on black uniform pants… but it kinda ruins the look of skirts and dresses, and it wasn’t super comfortable to sit with it in the car.

I spent some time sewing leggings so that they were shorter and had pockets, and thus made shorts for swing dancing. The first dance everything went GREAT! I actually had too many pockets, and I forgot to make sure they could seal! At one point, I even forgot that I had my EpiPen® in my pocket until the second song when it went flying across the room (followed quickly by my puffer). I tried using safety pins to keep the pockets shut, but that made it quite difficult to access my puffer after losing my breath from dancing to the more exciting songs. The other problem was that I found it tricky to transfer everything back to my belt after a night out, and I even left things at home by accident as a result.

Skating with a friend
Spot the EpiPen®! It’s hiding on my right leg (I’m in the bright yellow jacket). Photo credit: Andre Campeau

But this year, my waistband broke right as I started a new part-time job. As I was still running after children, and then also skating after them, I simply didn’t have time to grab a new one. I safety pinned it shut and kept on going. The holidays rolled around, and as I searched frantically for my shorts one night before a party I suddenly ran across the solution. A few years earlier, I had picked up several extra SPI belt options, including a different brand of waist belt which had promptly broken after one use. Among them was an armband, but I’d never used it because… well… it just seemed so uncouth! However, I was late, and I was desperate, so I strapped it to my calf.

Since then I’ve bought several more armbands, and lo and behold it fits my inhaler, my EpiPen®, and even a few Band-Aids® in one, discreet, no nonsense zippered pouch. It uses Velcro to close and fits just as easily under both jeans and dresses and slides up when I need to hide it under a smaller dress. In the last 6 months, I have skated over 400-km with it, biked over 400-km with it, and danced my heart out at my cousin’s wedding without worry. The best part for me is that, unless I’m wearing bike shorts and it’s on my calf… no one notices! But it’s always close at hand and very easy to access when I need it. One minor problem was when I fell on my knees (and epinephrine auto-injector) while skating, but I’ve since gotten into the habit of keeping the pocket arranged to the side, and the plastic loop behind my knee. I’ve fallen since then, without any further issues.

So how do you keep your epinephrine auto-injector with you?

Excited man on bicycle
Some days I don’t care if everyone notices my EpiPen®! Photo credit: Glenn Sentner

– Janice H.

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