A few weeks ago DS1 came home from school with a high fever. He was flushed and complained about a pain in his head.
‘No wonder’, I thought, concerned at the thought of how much of the day he had actually been burning up.
Usually I am very stingy with meds, (a regular bone of contention with DH who administers meds at the first sign of a sneeze!), believing that in order for one’s immune system to strengthen, the body needs some time to try to fight the illness on its own. However, as DS1 (who is such good patient) was almost in tears with the pain in his head, I reached for Nurofen. My ‘go to pain relief’ is usually Calpol or the kids’ ‘favourite’, the suppository! But that day I wanted the fever to come down for a sufficient period before the permitted 2nd dose (if required).
Content that he was sufficiently medicated, DS1 took up residence on the sofa in his PJs, covered by his favourite blankie and settled in for an afternoon of DVD viewing with a bowl of homemade popcorn and marshmallows.
I was happy that the weekend was getting off to such a relaxed, chilled out start.
Or so I thought.
At dinnertime DS1 came to me to tell me his lip was swelling. Before my very eyes, both of his lips resembled a lip enhancement procedure which had gone drastically wrong. ‘Trout pout’ didn’t even begin to cover it. I lunged for the anti-histamine and with a very shaky hand read the dosage instructions, and administered accordingly. Little did I know at the time that I probably could have given him the entire contents of the bottle, and it would not have made a difference! Within seconds, he lifted up his t-shirt to show me red, raised boil like things spreading across his tummy. Hives apparently….As a child I had hives…and these things did not look like hives as I know them. At this point I was scampering around the house gathering my VIP bits and pieces: my car keys, bag, phone, phone charger and water. The ‘hives’ had now spread to his neck. His eyes became puffy and bloodshot. My heart was racing. My mind was panicking. I forced myself to remain relatively calm and positive, getting him to the car as soon as possible, uttering words of comfort as I buckled my shocked baby in his booster seat. His twin sis, sensing the seriousness of the situation, ran around helping to get everything we needed, before we sped towards Motor City’s Medicentres.
Thankfully we live less than a 5 minute drive from a doctors’ office. DS1 was seen immediately by a wonderful doctor and nurses who gave him all the care and attention he needed. I don’t want to go into detail regarding what other symptoms DS1 suffered at the doctors’ office because I find it too hard to talk about. Suffice to say, DS1 was transported to hospital in an ambulance where he spent the night under observation in the ICU.
DS1 is now an epipen carrier. The suspected culprit is ibuprofen….but we can’t be sure as the timing of the reaction and the fact that he has tolerated ibuprofen in the past, makes it difficult to make a conclusive diagnosis. The top specialist in Dubai said it could have been an insect bite, but advised steering clear of ibuprofen. Unfortunately, a blood test cannot be used to test for this type of allergy. The only way to put it to the test is to give him another dose (under medical supervision!) and wait to see what happens…..The doc advised against this for now.
Anaphylactic reactions are something I had, in the past, associated with nuts. I avoided them during my pregnancies for this very reason. But, now we know DS1 is not allergic to nuts. Whilst I appreciate a nut allergy (or any other food allergy which can be verified by testing) can be extremely challenging (especially for a child), there is a certain comfort in knowing what causes such a severe reaction. There is a certain element of control which parents can exercise over their child’s environment; avoidance being the key priority..
The school requires an epipen for DS1. Check. School policy requires me or DH to accompany DS1 on school outings. Check.
Playdates, parties, sleepovers….what do I do?? Can I ask another parent to watch out for the tell tale signs of his allergy and stab him in the leg if need be, and then get him to the nearest hospital? Seems a big ‘ask’. Can I sit in someone else’s house for playdates, parties etc? What do I do with my other 2? I have made it a point of not asking for ‘sibling availability’ at parties because I want each of mine to make their own friends, find their own feet and ‘survive’ on their own. The thought of sitting outside the Atlantis party venue with 2 kids who cannot join in is my idea of purgatory!
This all comes down to the fact the control freak in me is panicking. What if it happens with DS1’s siblings? What if they have such a reaction when in my helper’s care and I am not there to drive them to the nearest medical facility? I have become ‘slightly’ manic about all 3 of them. The first sign of an headache, I am hoisting up their tops to observe their tummies/torsos for any signs of an allergy. I take temperatures. I check eyes, neck glands, and pallour. I know it is silly and overcautious…..but…..until I can be sure about the allergy culprit, I am not sure I can let this go…..
DH thinks I am crazy.
I have officially whipped out the umbilical cord and re-attached it to my second born and the tethers from the other 2 are tickling my tummy……