Life Threatening Allergies
I want to tell you a true story that happened to me professionally 30 years ago. I was employed at a hospital as a Respiratory Therapy Technician. I worked 7 pm-7 am. When I began my shift, I immediately was called to the emergency room. That is when I met Ed* and his wife Gaye*. Ed was a very talkative middle aged man, who was full of jokes. Ed presented with shortness of breath and his oxygen level was low. The nurse had placed him on a nasal cannula to supplement his oxygen. My job was to take blood from his artery also called an ABG to test his oxygen level. I also gave him nebulizer treatments to help alleviate his difficulty breathing. Ed was a prankster and soon had everyone in the room laughing. After all this time, I can still remember Ed’s sense of humor.
The nurses continued to give him steroids and I continued to take ABG’s. At first, I would take them every two hours or as the doctor called for them. Ed’s heart rate was very high and he began to sweat. No matter how short of breath Ed was he continued to make jokes and laugh. He shared with the staff that he was allergic to peanuts and he “may have consumed something with peanuts in it earlier in the day”. As the night continued on, Ed’s condition continued to deteriorate. He still tried to smile and make the staff feel like it was no big deal. I remember this strange feeling of doom filling my spirit. The real change in Ed that evoked so many feelings for the staff caring for him began around 3:00 am. The ABG orders, breathing treatments and emergency meds were being pushed, a breathing tube was placed, the feeling of helpless began to set in. We continued our life-saving measures until he passed away.
When you lose someone in health care, there is always this sense of what did we miss? What else could be done? The list goes on. My lesson from this is that allergies, whether or not they are food related allergies or any other allergy, the result can be death. I tell this story for several reasons. It is heart breaking. It raises awareness and we here at St. Paul’s need to raise our standard of awareness that we will do everything in our power to educate ourselves and to provide a safe environment for all who gather here.
Other life-threatening Allergies
Latex allergies are very real. How do we have latex in our churches? The number one way is through regular latex balloons. We use them for parties and VBS and water balloon fights. Latex allergies can lead to sudden death for those who are exposed to them.
A quick story for you, Anne* had a Birthday party for her nephew Brad. She wanted to surprise Brad so she filled the room with balloons. The party was in the winter. The heating system was on. This caused the balloons to literally dance in the room. During this dance the latex polymers were spread throughout the room virtually on most of the surfaces and in the air. A guest, Karen* came into the room. She took a few breaths and quickly left the room to go outside in the cool air. She began to wheeze and itch on her face. Very soon swelling happened around her eyes, nose and mouth. Thankfully her family was prepared and she received the life saving techniques she needed. She carried an epi pen with her at all times. If she had not this would have resulted in death for Karen.*
Paints and Paint Thinners: One breath of painting supplies can be just what it takes for people that are allergic to have a life threatening event. It is important to remember that you do not have to ingest the food or touch the balloons or paint to be affected. The air in which we breathe can have particles of peanuts when you do something as simple as opening the bag of peanuts. Food can be fried in peanut oil. A heating and air system can quickly spread paint and latex polymers in the air and on surfaces that you touch.
Would you be surprised to know that we have people that are allergic to peanuts, paint and latex in our church? These people do not have a little reaction they can go into anaphylactic shock and die, even with all of the lifesaving measures carried out.
What can we do?
The first thing that I want to do is if anyone in this church is allergic to foods, bee stings, latex, paint or anything else, I need to know. We need to know and be prepared before an emergency occurs. Please contact me by calling me at 704-431-6633 and leave a confidential message or emailing me at splc.Jillrn@gmail.com.
We will be working together as a church to do our best to provide a safe environment for everyone who calls St. Paul’s home.
Jill Earnhardt, RN, Parish Nurse
The Parish Nurse Ministry sponsors Women of Faith Bible Study every 2nd Thursday, with few exceptions, at 10:00 a.m. in the Conference Room and picks a place to eat afterwards.
We are excited to continue our partnership with Community Blood Center of the Carolinas with our 2019 blood drives scheduled on the second Monday in February, May, August, and November from 2:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall with a goal of 35 units.
Average in and out times is less than an hour. Making an appointment helps to prevent a back-log of donors during the collection period.
Appointments may be made by contacting Alice Davis.
Parish Nursing coordinates with Rowan Helping Ministries their needs for the month.
Please check your weekly Epistle for the ongoing needs of this needed ministry.
Thank you for your generous and thoughtful gifts to those less fortunate!
Rowan One Church One Child is a partnership between Rowan County Department of Social Services and Rowan County churches whose purpose is to ensure healthy, safe and protective outcomes for Rowan County children and teenagers who are victimized and traumatized by sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, neglect, or dependency who are currently receiving Child Protective, In-Home Case Management, Foster Care or Adoption services from the RCDSS Children Services Division. ROCOC's goal is to keep birth families intact or assist relative caregivers who provide care to children. Please contact Jon Hunter at (704) 216-7914 for more information about this program.
St. Paul's Lutheran Church sponsors Rowan One Church One Child. During the year, Parish Nursing highlights items that are needed for this ministry. We thank you for your generosity and support. Please continue to review your weekly Epistle and monthly Epistle for how you can help.
The Parish Nurse Ministry is designed to build on and strengthen the capabilities of individuals, families, and the church congregation, to understand and care for themselves and one another in light of their relationship to God.
Parish Nursing is a program focusing on holistic concepts of health care and the belief that health involves the integration of body, mind, and spirit.
CHS in collaboration with the St. Paul's Health Ministry Cabinet and church leadership, supports the Parish Nurse Ministry in an effort to positively impact the health status of the church community. The St. Paul's Health Ministry Cabinet is composed of volunteers who are interested in a holistic approach to health care.
•Personal Health Counselor: The Parish Nurse advocates for individuals by discussing health concerns and offering knowledge of health options while supporting individuals as they make choices to meet their health needs.
•Pastoral Partner: In collaboration with the Pastor and staff, the Parish Nurse participates in the ongoing transformation of the faith community into a source of health and healing.
•Referral Service: The Parish Nurse serves as a liaison between the church and community resources.
•Health Education: The Parish Nurse collaborating with the St. Paul's Health Cabinet provides information for the church community through bulletin inserts, seminars, group support, and health screening activities.
•Facilitator and Resource: The Parish Nurse identifies health and wellness needs within the faith community collaborating with the St. Paul's Health Cabinet to coordinate health resources within the congregation.
Did you know that the church has a direct line for you to reach our Parish Nurse, Jill Earnhardt, RN, FCN, during the week and weekends? The phone line was added to allow for your privacy concerning sensitive health questions and/or concerns. Your calls will be returned within 24-48 hours.
To reach her, please call (704) 431-6633.
You can also email Jill Earnhardt, RN, FCN, Parish Nurse.
Jill Earnhardt, RN, is the Parish Nurse for St. Paul's Lutheran Church. Jill is native to Rowan County and graduated from East Rowan High School. She is a graduate of Stanly Community College with a degree in Respiratory Therapy as well as a Registered Nurse. She is married to Perry Earnhardt and has 2 beautiful daughters, Jenna Earnhardt Shay and Ivy Earnhardt. In her spare time she is very active in her church, enjoys spending time with her family. She enjoys spending time with her faithful companion, her dog Judge and her chickens. She is engaged in a special educational program for Parish Nursing and is associated with Carolinas Health Care System.
Jill is a warm individual skilled in the art of caring. Professional and well-qualified, she is ready to treat you as a whole person, taking into account your physical, emotional, and spiritual well being with confidentiality.