Student Voice | Emergency Room Experience

Hello everyone, I am Yang Yihan, an international student who always likes the unknown. I am in eleventh grade in Indiana, USA. 

I recently went through the worst “bankruptcy” of my life. 

What Happened 

A month ago, I ate at a Chinese restaurant in town. After eating, I went for a walk, which is a daily activity. 

However, during my walk, I suddenly felt that my ears were swollen, as if there was water in my ears, and I couldn’t hear clearly. At first, I thought there was something wrong with the headphones, so I took them off. Gradually, my mouth started to feel swollen, and even formed two bubbles on my lower lip. I looked at it on my phone and found that it looked like I had lip augmentation. My lower lip had become extremely thick. 

Immediately afterwards, it became extremely difficult to breathe. When I was walking home, I had to squat down to rest. When I stopped, I could clearly hear a heavy heartbeat. 

Soon, coupled with the ear problem, I felt like my heart was beating out of my ears, but I mistakenly thought it was asthma, which I have had since childhood. So I didn’t tell my parents immediately after I got home. I thought I might be fine later. 

After returning to the room, I immediately went to the drawer to find asthma medicine. Suddenly, my eyes turned black, and I fell to the ground unconscious. I didn’t recover for about ten minutes. 

Something was wrong, so after I regained some consciousness, I immediately went to the living room to find my host parents. It was only a short way from my room to the living room, but I seemed to have used all my strength. It was difficult for me to speak because I couldn’t breathe. As soon as I said a word to my host mother, my eyes started to darken again. I leaned on the back of the chair where my host mother was sitting. I could hear them calling me, but I didn’t recover at that time and couldn’t reply at all. 

After calming down for a while, I told them my situation and lay down on the sofa next to me with my eyes closed. I heard my host mother calling the hospital. My host father came over and asked me if I could sit up. I sat up slowly. My host father took my heart rate. He said it was normal and told me that an ambulance would be here soon. It was at this time that my arms became very itchy, and so did my back, but I couldn’t see any obvious changes with the naked eye, but I still guessed that I might be allergic. 

About ten minutes later, the ambulance arrived. Two paramedics came in and asked me some questions, which were very basic questions. I answered them one by one. By this time, my breathing had actually become much smoother, but I was still out of breath. They took my blood pressure and looked at the allergies on my back. After a while, the bed came in. It was the kind of ambulance bed you see in TV dramas. They let me sit on it and carried me into the ambulance. 

As soon as I got into the ambulance, they started to look for blood vessels in me and prepared to give me injections. However, because the blood vessels were too thin, they gave me four or five injections but still couldn’t find them, so he had to give up and give me two injections instead. 

At the same time, another paramedic started to take my blood pressure, put electrode patches on me, and put me on a ventilator, which is the kind of thing that is inserted into my nose to help me breathe. I really never dreamed that I would need this thing when I was 17 years old. When I was in the ambulance, I had obvious allergic symptoms on my arms, which were large and scary. 

After arriving at the hospital, they carried me into a room, VIP, one for each person, which again coincided with the TV series. There was a doctor and three nurses in the hospital. One nurse was checking information with my host mother. The came and doctor diagnosed me: I had allergies. But my host mom and I were both confused and couldn’t figure out what the allergen was. I had eaten at that Chinese restaurant before and had no problems.  

Because the medicine I received in the ambulance had a sedative effect, I fell asleep afterwards, but I was not drowsy. Every time a doctor or nurse came in, I would wake up in a daze. When I woke up for the first time, my breathing was basically normal, and the second time I almost didn’t feel uncomfortable in my ears. I was discharged from the hospital around 11 o’clock. At this time, except that my mouth still looked like it had plump lips, everything else was basically normal. 


Later, when I got home, I called my mother, reported that I was safe, and went to bed. When I got up the next day, everything was normal. I also went to school and completed three exams.

A month later, I received a bill from the hospital, totaling $1,160. The ambulance costs $1,100! Completely bankrupt… 

Therefore, I would like to remind all my friends to pay attention to their health! Take good care of yourself! If you encounter an emergency overseas, don’t forget that the emergency number in the United States is 911! Not 110!!! 

Also, if you ever end up in an emergency or have to go to the hospital. Don’t panic! Remember your study abroad agency helped you to get insurance which will reimburse a good portion of the fee. It won’t make you bankrupt for sure, and you should always put your SAFETY first!