Somewhere between first and second grade, I became very aware of the bright red velcro bag I toted around the school. It had a business card slot in front where my emergency contacts were listed, and held two EpiPens, an inhaler, and enough Benadryl to medicate half of my class. Yet, I couldn't help but notice I seemed to be the only one carrying around this fiery red fashion statement.
As I grew, so did my my desire to lose the extra baggage. I traded in my red velcro for knockoff designer handbags. Finding a bag was not just as simple as picking out a purse I liked, by the way. Anyone who had an allergy pre-Auvi-Q likely remembers spending hours holding EpiPens up to different sized bags to ensure that the EpiPens and the ginormous twin pack container would fit. As soon as you found a bag you loved you'd try everything to get that zipper to close, but we quickly learned to measure first and love later.
I remember a few occasions where I left my EpiPen bag behind in a music classroom or gym class, taking a few steps down the hall to have my heart sink. I'd run up to my teacher embarrassed but also terrified; I needed to have my EpiPens at all times. Not only for the fear of having an allergic reaction, but because I grew so accustomed to having the meds with me at every moment. Being without it truly felt like a part of me was missing.
I've been carrying EpiPens or Auvi-Qs for my entire life, and I still have to ask myself every morning if I have them before leaving the house. You just learn to add it to the list. Car keys, wallet, and allergy meds.