Minutes from death
By ADRIAN MILLER
What started out on Monday morning helping family, ended in a mad dash to Grafton Base Hospital with the South Grafton abattoir worker close to death.
What saved his life was not only the quick thinking of hospital staff, but the fact he was less than 200 metres from the hospital.
Mr Gunn was mowing a lawn when he brushed up against a thick bush and was stung by a wasp.
Having happened many times before, he thought nothing of it and kept on mowing. But shortly after the sting, Mr Gunn's hands and feet started to swell.
Then pins-and-needles and numbness set in.
A bit concerned at this stage, he stopped mowing to take a rest.
But when he couldn't understand what people were saying to him and when his vision started to come and go, Mr Gunn knew he was in trouble.
He was showing the first signs of anaphylactic shock, the severest form of allergic reaction to an antigen.
At this point, Mr Gunn had less than 15 minutes to live.
He was rushed to the hospital where the emergency department doctors and nurses injected him with adrenaline and other drugs to stave off cardiac arrest.
Around three hours later he had recovered and was discharged from hospital.
Mr Gunn said the whole experience had shaken him.
"It was a big shock and a life-changing experience," he said.
"I've been stung before, but it's the first time something like that has happened."
Mr Gunn said the feeling was unlike anything he had ever experienced.
"It was a very strange feeling, similar to being very drunk, but not quite," he said.
"I can't really remember the car trip to the hospital.
"I sort of remember things going on but I wasn't completely aware of things happening around me ? I could barely move."
But even though he is now fully recovered from the ordeal, Mr Gunn has to remain vigilant to avoid wasps and bees.
"I have to carry an epipen, which is adrenaline, with me everywhere I go now," he said.
"And if I get stung again I've got to jab that in my thigh within five minutes and that gives me about 15 minutes to get to a hospital."
Mr Gunn said he owed his life to not only the hospital staff but his sister's father-inlaw Bernie Heinz who rushed him to the hospital.
"I'm glad Bernie was there to get me to the hospital," he said.
"When I got there the staff at the hospital and a couple of ambulance drivers got straight onto it as soon as we pulled up, so I can't thank them enough."