Have you Ever Argued With Your Spouse About “Who Forgot the Epipens?”
We were sitting around the table a couple years ago and I was explaining to some family members that we had left the house to go to Disney World for the day and when we arrived at the park, my wife and I realized that we had forgotten our son’s epipens. After repacking the bag we had inadvertently left the epipens on the table. Now this wasn’t the first time we had arrived somewhere only to realize we had left the epipens behind. The frustration of having to delay or even cancel our plans because of this oversight led to arguments and blaming across our family. Our son who was diagnosed with a peanut allergy at a young age is required to carry epinephrine with him wherever he goes, but at his age the onus was really on us. Immediately, when we realized we had left it at the house, our first reaction was to lash out at each other and place blame on who had “forgotten” the epipens this time. It occurred to me as we were speaking that we cannot be the only ones with a child that suffers from food allergies that is required to carry an epipen and sometimes forgets it when leaving the house. Having never experienced an anaphylactic reaction we didn’t have that fear/memory to drive us to always remember.
To compound the issue our son was growing up and becoming more independent and it was time for us to start handing off the responsibility of carrying epipens to him. After all, we would not always be there to remind him, or to bring it along. This is where the idea for EPI-TRAK was born. We realized that no matter what, without fail, we as well as each of our three children always made sure we had our cell phones, but the simple act of remembering the one thing that could save our son’s life in the event he had an anaphylactic reaction wasn’t so easy. I am embarrassed to admit the story above was not the only time we had forgotten to bring along the epipen. I thought, “What if I could make an app that would remind us each time we leave the house to remember the epinephrine?” A reminder that I only had to set one time and it would reset itself each time we returned to the house. We could potentially solve or at least reduce the problem of forgetting epipens and hopefully condition ourselves and our children to establish a positive habit of always carrying it. There are two main facets to the app that could help us remember:
1. When leaving the house we would have a repeatable alert that was consistent enough that we would know, without looking, what the alert meant.
2. The alert, or more specifically the idea of the alert would condition us to remember the epipens more consistently.
So, that’s how I created EPI-TRAK. It’s a simple concept. Set your location (or multiple locations) within the app using the map and give it a try. From that point forward each time you leave it will remind you not to forget your epinephrine. The alert happens not too far from your house so you can always go back and get it. When you return, no matter where you went, the app will recognize automatically that you are back at that location and next time you leave it will remind you again. This app is also helpful for grandparents, babysitters and any other caregivers. If you have a food allergy or know someone with a food allergy, please share our story. Epi-Trak has helped us to ensure that we always carry our son’s epipens when leaving the house and helped him establish the habit too. Finally, I can say that arguments about who forgot the epipens are no more.
Derek is the creator of the EPI-TRAK app, so those with food allergies always remember their epinephrine devices. His wife Natalie D’Alessandro is passionate about food allergy awareness as their son has a severe food allergy.