Centra Southside Community Hospital commended

Published 10:54 am Tuesday, April 5, 2016


I almost died recently. I probably would have had God not granted me perfect calm even as I was choking to death. 

I woke up at 3:15 a.m. with my tongue swollen to three times its normal size. It was dry and rapidly filling my mouth. Soon I might not have been able to breathe. 

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I grabbed a Benadryl pill to shut down the allergic reaction, but I couldn’t get it down. Desperate, but still magically calm, I grabbed a wooden spoon and used it to grind my last three Benadryl into powder in a small cup. I added a little water. The ground pills immediately went into solution. I poured it over the back of the huge, swollen tongue just before my esophagus shut down.

I could no longer speak, so when I woke my wife, all I could do was grunt and point to my swollen tongue.

Centra Southside Community Hospital’s emergency room was 40 minutes from our house in Yogaville. Ten minutes before we arrived, the Benadryl kicked in. My throat started opening.

At Centra Southside, the superb emergency room team moved swiftly. Injections of epinephrine and other medicines deflated my tongue to normal size. A week later, a doctor told me my body had an extreme reaction — probably not to food — but to a spider bite.

Jeff Kamen