Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Going peanut free
I caught the hubs before he ran out the door to the hospital, but he gave me the lowdown. The boy had found a peanut butter sandwich crust at my sister-in-laws and after simply touching it, he had an almost immediate reaction. The skin on his hands became red and inflammed and the reaction kept spreading. By the time my mother-in-law got him upstairs the redness spread past his wrist, by the time my sister-in-law grabbed a pen to mark the redness, it had reached his armpits. They loaded him up on Benadryl and took him to the hospital (which is conveniently one block away).
Fortunately, there was no respiratory distress, which led the doctor to agree with my mother-in-laws observations that he hadn't actually ingested any peanut butter, however his reaction is considered anaphylactic. It was only about 15 minutes from when he touched the peanut butter to when he was in the ER and by that time he was red up to the eyeballs. The doctor gave him an epipen shot and some benadryl, which seemed to settle the inflamation, but within an hour an a half it was coming back. They had to give him another epipen shot as well as a steroid to try and get the medication to 'stick'. He threw up at this point, and cried from the shots, but after the second round of shots, he moved into recovery mode.
I was ready to bolt from the office when the hubs told me what happened, but he quickly encouraged me to stay rational and finish anything critical I was working on since I'd been out of office for the past two days and he was already one foot out the door. It was hard to do, but it was a good decision. The boy was well taken care of by his Daddy and his Aunty and I didn't have to stress about work when I took the next day off with the boy.
I didn't actually get to the hospital until after the second round of medication, but I did end up staying for about 4 hours until we saw the pediatrician and she discharged us. For the next two days, the boy was cranky, itchy and red, but I gave him benadryl without hesitation to keep him comfortable. Over the past week, his skin has been very sensitive and there seems to be a lot more redness and itching than normal. We're going to the pediatrician for a follow-up tomorrow and she mentioned at the hospital that she will be referring us to an allergist.
I'm sad for the boy, that not only does he have another allergy, he has a severe, life-threatening allergy. Eczema triggering allergies are manageable and if his allergies don't go away as he gets older, he will at least be in a position to weigh the enjoyment of eating 'forbidden' foods against the reaction. With the peanuts however, its an entirely different situation. Even though we are now armed with epipens and I know that nut allergies are increasingly common and manageable (my nephew and sister are both anaphylactic to hazelnuts), I still find myself thinking of all the food the boy will never get to experience and the difficulties this allergy will cause him as he ages.
I know so many of you are living with severe allergies yourself or in your family, and I know we live in a day and age where there are so many options available, but any words of wisdom on the topic would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for sharing.