New Year's Night we were sitting on the couch and eating some home made trail mix. Home made meaning I scoured through the cabinets to see what I could find that to feed my hungry beast. I had some sunflower seeds, raisins, dry roasted peanuts and walnuts. The walnuts were the newest to the mix for us. He has eaten a variety of nuts, including almonds, cashews and pistachios. Loves them all. It's a great snack for him to munch on, easy to transport and gives him protein and good fats.
As we're watching Mythbusters and he's snacking away, Nate says, "Hey Mom, my lips feel funny." I take a look at him and don't think much of it. I figure he's saying that he's having a sensory issue and he and I go on eating.
5 minutes later, I look over to him and he looks like THIS:
I shook my head like they do in cartoons when you're not believing what you're seeing. His lips were puffy and red, his eyes all watery and swollen, his cheeks chubby like a rabid squirrel. At this point, I'm not entirely sure he's having an allergic reaction, but I'm going through the symptoms in my head and it's kind of clicking that it is. I'm also trying to deal with the fact that my child looks like Violet Beauregard from Willy Wonka, but minus the purple hue.
I call his pediatrician and they call back within 5 minutes. I describe all the symptoms and tell him that Nathan has had peanuts before and has never had any reactions to any sort of nut or tree nut. The doctor asks if Nathan is having troubles breathing and Nate does look like he's struggling a little to get air.
The doctor call says, "You need to go to the ER."
Nathan and I go into ER mode (we unfortunately are experts at getting ready to head to the Hospital). We quickly throw on shoes and socks, grab our go bag (full of snacks, books and other things) and jump in the car.
Nate is trying not to freak out as his face gets bigger and more itchy. I'm frantically trying to call people to tell them we're on our way to the hospital. We arrive there in about 20 minutes and they take him back to triage quickly.
They ask him the regular questions about what he's allergic to and I'm scratching my head as to why he's having this spontaneous reaction.
They cannot tell what's he's allergic to at the ER. They give him two doses of Orapred, which he tolerates in some orange juice. They do not give him a script for an Epi-Pen. They send us home and instruct us to make an appointment to see his pediatrician as soon as possible.
We go to the doctor two days later, as they were closed Monday after the holiday. The doctor checks him out and recommends seeing an allergist to discover what he is truly allergic to. In the meantime, we are told to not expose him to any nuts of any kind. My mind is blown as Nate's favorite snack is peanuts. He loves peanuts and peanut butter. He eats it out of the jar with a spoon. When he was two, I left him alone with his father one morning. Nate had been watching his Dad eat some peanut butter out of the jar. I told his father to watch out because Nate was going to get it all over him. I return not 10 minutes later with a TOTALLY covered in delicious peanut butter 2 year
Fast forward to today.
Fast forward to today.
Nate with his many dots of DOOM!
We went to the allergist today. This is totally new territory to me. I don't speak their language and their terms are foreign to me. I knew I had to catch on pretty fast, but don't want to yes them to death. If Nate has an allergy, I need to learn all I can.
Mooooom, they're torturing meeeeee!! (kidding)
The nurses look at him first and do a breathing test, check his height and weight and ask if he's allergic to any medications. The doctor comes in as we're exploring the human nasal cavities. He asks Nathan and I some questions about why we're here, what he was exposed to, the reactions, etc.
They thought he may have Oral Allergy Syndrome , but they said the scratch test would confirm it if he had no skin reaction. They tested him with a control (histamine) and then exposed him to nuts and environmental allergens.
This is his right arm. The X in the picture marks the control, which is histamine. He reacted to it.
Here is our culprit!!
Ladies and gentleman, Juglans Regia ..aka WALNUTS.
Yes, Nate is allergic to walnuts. In a big way. He's also allergic to dust mites. All those nights where he would want a nose strip because he couldn't breathe. Yeah, those dust mites...
So now, in addition to being a special needs mom, I'm also an allergy mom. But I will not be a crazy allergy or special needs mom. There needs to be a balance. Right now, we're doing allergy preparedness. New pillows, sheets and dust mite covers have to be purchased. Zyrtec has been prescribed to help with the stuffiness. His Epi-pen is at school, at home and at his after school program. (Nate likes to call it the EPIC pen.) He has a chance of being allergic to hazelnuts and almonds, as they are of the same type of nuts.(deciduous, yes, I learned something today) He learned how to give himself an injection, and I know how to give him one, too. He was not afraid to learn.
As we left, I didn't see a shred of fear in him. I saw him absorbing what was going on to him and how he was reacting to it. He went with the flow, to which I was so very very proud. The TinTin book helped, too, I think. :)