Saturday, February 13, 2010

Aw, Nuts.

So in a not-even-slightly-surprising postscript to The Saga of Bear's Peanut Allergy, it turns out that she is also allergic to all tree nuts. In order to determine this, Bear had to undergo a back scratch test (there's probably a medical term for it, but let's call a spade a spade, shall we?). The nurse writes numbers on her back (eighteen this time, I think) in marker, then makes a small scratch next to each one, using a sharp little tool dipped in a liquid form of the potential allergen. As a control, the first scratch is made using a histamine, which always reacts positively. Then Bear has to lay quite still on her stomach for fifteen minutes while we wait to see if there are any positive reactions, i.e. hives and welts. If there are, they then measure these for circumference and height to help determine how severe the allergy is.

Have you ever been bitten by a mosquito, one of those huge ones that looks like it's come right out of the Jurassic Period, and not reached down to smack it away and scratch? Imagine being told that if you did scratch, that you would have to be bitten again. And now imagine having to lay still, while your brain focuses on nothing but the building itchiness. Now imagine that it's your kid who's undergoing this, and you have to watch and be the one to tell her not to wiggle, to be still, and don't scratch. It's right up there with waterboarding, I tell you.

Within four minutes, Bear's back had bloomed into angry red welts swelling with hives next to nearly every number. I scratched lightly with my fingernails around the perimeter of the testing area and blew lightly over the welts to try to give her some relief. Tom and I chatted with her about where we should have lunch, her birthday party, and exactly how much Benadryl she'd be allowed to take once the testing was over. She couldn't even turn her head because the nurse had cautioned her not to let her hair touch the testing area.

It sucked. Big time. And when the nurse came in at the end of fifteen minutes, she took one look at Bear's back and said, "Well. I guess nuts are out of the question for you, sweetie."

However! In a small gesture of benevolence from The Powers That Be, it turns out that she is not allergic to pine nuts. As a passionate consumer of pesto, Bear was deeply grateful. As someone who was not really looking forward to figuring out a pine-nut free recipe for pesto, I was equally grateful. (Oh, you know I would have, but I'm lazy about recipes that require me to use the food processor, and I quite like our grocery store's brand of low-fat pesto).

Oddly, Bear doesn't really mind going to see her allergist. That might have something to do with the fact that this is her doctor (note: photo brazenly stolen off of his website):

Doesn't he look like he could stroll onto the set of Grey's Anatomy and fit right in? In fact, he'd probably be cast as the hotshot new surgeon who makes the cute lesbian pediatrician switch teams. McCutie-Pie.

When he left the examining room to get the nurse, Bear turned to me with a grin and a sigh and said, "I always forget just how cute he is."

If you have a thirteen-year-old daughter who's being told she's stuck with navigating potentially fatal food allergies for (likely) the rest of her life, it does seem to help if Dr. McCutie-Pie is the one giving you the news. FYI.


Dawn in Austin said...

um, I think I may be allergic. To something. Anything.

You're right, if you're going to have to see an allergist for a long term relationship, he might as well be easy on the eyes.

Nut-free warm brownie thoughts for you all!

Jen on the Edge said...

Poor kid. Thank god she has Dr. McCutie-Pie to salivate over. He is SO FINE.

Gab (aka peanut free mama) said...

Hubba hubba!

Sorry about the diagnosis :(

Violet said...

Aw,nuts, indeed! What a so many ways. But good that you are finding out what causes her trouble so she can avoid those foods and feel better.

I fell and injured my foot several years ago and had to see the orthopedic surgeon many times. I called him "Hunky Dr. Sean" so much that now I can't remember his last name!

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

Oh man, this post made MY back all itchy! Poor kid - that's rough. Glad you got a diagnosis though. Knowing is better than being in the dark.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure hearing bad news from such a handsome face helps ease the blow. I'm with Dawn, perhaps I can visit and see if I'm allergic to SOMETHING.

Glad she's still got her pesto. And I'm sure you'll be able to find plenty of food options for her. I don't know if I said this before, although I'm sure you've tried it, but my friend says Sunflower butter (instead of peanut butter) is quite yummy.

Anonymous said...

It always helps if the doctor is cute! I went through that allergy testing when i was a kid, but they did it on my arms. You're right, not fun. Sorry her allergies are so bad, but it sounds like she's got a great attitude.


Susan said...

He is a McCutie-Pie - she has good taste.

Sheena said...

My kids have allergies as well. Although, fortunately, not as severe as other family members. My cousin is a pro at finding and creating foods with no milk, eggs, nuts, soy, etc. for her two boys who have severe allergies.

I went in for my own allergy testing recently, and impressed the staff with some good sized reactions. Definitely not fun, but I'd be more than willing to do it again if I had your daughter's doctor. ;)

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Oof, that is a nasty way to learn of an allergy--the test, that is, not that doctor!

Dawn in Austin said...

I just read an article today about peanut sniffing dogs. It's so cool, it's like a seeing eye dog, only for peanuts and get to go with the kid everywhere. I think you need one. :)

I would offer my dog Phoebe, because she's good at sniffing peanuts, but then she also sniffs out chocolate and potato chips, crumbs in the couch. You can see this wouldn't be optimal for you.

Jen said...

Holy God!! That man is hot!!

Nana said...

What a cutie!! Why don't my doctors look like him?