Thursday, June 24, 2010

Waiting for Normal

I have several great blog topics I've been planning to post about. On Tuesday, I decided to set aside Wednesday morning as blogging time to catch you up on the pond, my inability to do projects without sustaining major injury, and the awesomely hilarious Father's Day card that Bug made for Tom.

Then Tuesday evening rolled around, and instead of the quiet family evening at home (followed by early bedtime), I wound up spending a few hours with Bear at the emergency room.

Instead of blogging Wednesday morning, I spent it remembering how to breathe. And being thankful that everything had turned out OK.

I know I've talked here before about Bear's peanut/tree nut allergies (this would be a link to a previous post if I'd had my full ration of coffee).

At the dinner table Tuesday, she took three bites of the grilled chicken and dropped her fork. "My mouth is itching like crazy! It burns!" She ran for the freezer and popped in an ice cube. I handed her a dose of Benadryl.

While she sucked her ice, I dug through the trash for the marinade bottle. It was a new brand, and I was 99% sure I'd read the label. Nope, no cause for alarm in the ingredients.

The itching subsided as the Benadryl took effect, and we shrugged it off. We've been through this before, and it usually ends here.

Two hours later, she began to experience the next level of reaction - gastrointestinal, extreme dizziness, nausea, and racing heartbeat. For the first time in my kid's life, I heard her say, "Please, Mom, can you take me to the doctor? " in a distressed and frightened voice. Since one of the hallmarks of anaphylaxis is a feeling of doom and anxiety, she didn't need to ask twice. Tom stayed home with Bug, who was already in bed, and I rushed Bear to the emergency room, handing her more Benadryl on the way.

We were lucky. The reaction did not progress to her respiratory system, so I didn't need to use her EpiPen. As we waiting at the ER, her symptoms gradually began to decrease. They gave her a hospital gown and put her in a bed for observation for a couple of house. You do not want to see your kid in a hospital gown and bed. It makes all sorts of possible scenarios seem glaringly real. By midnight, she had only some lingering dizziness and was feeling tired. They released her, with instructions to wake her up at 3:00 am for another dose of medicine.

I slept beside her that night, although sleep is a generous word for the light dozing I did, waking up in an anxious fog to check her, check her breathing, make sure she was OK.

Wednesday morning, instead of being Blogging Time, was kind of a train wreck of exhaustion, emotion, and lingering anxiety.

Today is better. Bear is being her usual brand of teenaged cranky, sniping at Bug, sighing elaborately when I ask her if she's brushed her teeth yet. I tell her sternly to knock it off, watch the attitude, but it actually doesn't bother me a bit today.


Dawn in Austin said...

Sending mom hugs your way, today. I know how you feel. My girl spent more time in ERs than either of my boys. The worst was when she fell at cheerleading practice and told the coach she heard a snap in her neck. Yeah, following an ambulance with your daughter inside bites. She was fine, thank goodness. But I know what you mean about back to normal and screaming at her brothers. At least she was there to do it.


Jen on the Edge said...

Good grief! How scary! And you never figured out what triggered the reaction?

Meg said...

So sorry that happened! Poor kid. Glad to know she's doing much better now. Sniping at a sister means you're feeling better, that's for sure.

smalltownmom said...

What a scary evening. I'm glad she's OK now.

Cindy said...

My 7 year old niece has tree nut allergies. We are always on alert with her. Your experience proves that even with reading labels (that show nothing to concern you) doesn't mean something can't happen. I'm so happy everything turned out okay. Hugs!

Susan said...

I have spent many long hours in the ER and I know the feelings well. So glad that she is fine and hope all gets back to normal very soon!

Rose said...

Wow, very scary indeed. So glad all was well in the end.

Nana said...

Lesson learned for all of Bear's family and friends: take her nut allergy very, very seriously. How fortunate that she stopped at the second stage and didn't progress to the respiratory stage. This is scary stuff! Believe me, everything she eats when she visits us in August will be scrutinized by at least two pairs of eyes. Hugs to both you and Bear!
@Dawn: I had to follow an ambulance once with Jenny inside...definitely one of the least pleasant experiences of my life.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm so glad she's doing better--scary stuff!

Did you find out what it was that triggered it?

AliBlahBlah said...

How scary, so glad it turned out OK. My local school recently banned all peanuts/tree nuts for the sake of a couple of kids with allergies. There was a lot of complaint, but when you read something like that - about how easy it is to start such a life-threatening reaction, it really makes you think.