Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wherein I Just Write Everything And Hope To Feel Better

I had started a post about my cat.  I had to put him to sleep when I was 5 months pregnant, Thanksgiving weekend 2008.  I miss him terribly.  I miss my dog too - she had to be put to sleep when my wee one was about 9 weeks old, the week after her baptism.  I can't talk about that one yet. 

See, I really miss having an animal in the house.  A cat will be easier than a dog.  I want a cat who is friendly and social and cuddly and lovey and smart and cute and striped and spotted and ... just like Darwin.

My parents have a cat.  His name is Clyde.  He is not at all friendly, and will hit you with his clawless paws and when that doesn't work he will bite you.  He has attacked my daughter twice now (once I truly think he was trying to "play") and so she has become afraid of him.

So I thought I'd get a cat.  Or start thinking about getting a cat.  I found one, and I fell in love.  Then I felt guilty.  Then I fell in love again.  So I wrote a little bit and then I went to bed.

I think most of that was denial about the anxiety I was experiencing about my daughter's allergy testing this afternoon.  You see, my daughter has been chronically sick for a while now.  She is sick all the time.  When she's not actually sick, she's still snotty and congested and ....  I, like most people I have talked to, including her doctor, chalked that up to being in daycare.  (None of that will be new to regular readers.)

Mostly it was just colds and sinus infections and the occasional pinkeye.  This fall, however, it began to be chronic ear infections.  To the point that her doctor starting talking "tubes" and I just wanted to pass out.  At some point I asked about allergy testing.  His first response was that they don't normally do allergy testing until they are 2 or 3.  But then I asked again.

Because, you see, I made a huge mistake during Open Enrollment last year.  I have a health care flex spending account and a daycare spending account.  Both administered by the same company.  So last year, on the last possible day of open enrollment, while my daughter napped and I attempted to get on my laptop using my parents wireless router, with two hours until the deadline, I switched the two amounts in the two accounts.  So I have very little money in the daycare spending account, and WAYTOOFREAKINGMUCH in the medical spending account.  I have more sets of disposable contacts than I will wear before the prescription changes, and I still need to spend lots of money or lose it.

So I told the doc that I had medical money to spend, and asked again about the allergy testing, and they set up an appointment for us.  For today.

I won't dwell on the part where I was anxious and scared.  I read some stuff last night that helped me to feel better - supposedly it feels like a hairbrush being pushed on your back.

Um, bewlsheet?

The nurse showed me on my hand what she would be doing.  She poked me with an incredibly sharp piece of hard plastic.  Over and over again.  And then reminded me that my daughter's back is more sensitive than my hand, and that she still has baby skin.  I got it, lady, this is going to be hell, can we get on with it?  She cleaned C's back with alcohol, drew letters and dots on her back to mark what was going on, and then she started. 

She said I did good.  She said C did good.  I thought the heavens would fall from the screaming.

Then we waited 15 minutes to be told ... she is allergic to cats.  And eggs.  And that dry skin that I try to fight every day with oatmeal lotion?  Is probably excema.  I should learn how to spell that, since my kid seems to have it.

Then the REALLY fun part.  On her arms.  This time ... needles.  23 of them.  More alcohol and marking with the pen.  C is screaming because she thinks she is being poked again.  Then the needles start.

God love the nurse.  She had a little red bucket that the needles were supposed to go in.  But she was trying so hard to go really fast and get it over with, that she just started throwing the used syringes in the general direction of the bucket.  They were bouncing off the wall and everything.  I was almost amused.  If I hadn't been, you know, holding a screaming child that was getting 23 shots up and down her arms.

There was blood.  Tiny little pinpricks of blood up and down her arms.  And all over my shirt.  But I had brought Dora books and snacks and they gave her some new toys so through her sobbing and snotting, she was trying to tell me that ducks say "quack quack".

15 more minutes, and they write up our results.   She is pretty allergic for her age, he said.  (At least it explains the chronic running nose, watery/crusty eyes, allergic shiners, etc.)

Moderate allergies to indoor and outdoor mold spores, Johnson grass, dust mites, cockroaches, and cats.  Also she was positive to the eggs, so they want me to eliminate eggs from her diet and see if that helps the dry-skin-stuff.  Then he started talking really fast and telling me all kinds of stuff like how allergy shots work and the hours they are open but they don't do first shots on saturday and you have to stay for 30 minutes in case there is an anaphylactic reaction which only has a 1 in 10,000 chance and if she comes twice a week they will take six months and if she comes three times a week they will take three months and then we go on maintenance and that's two years and if she's symptom free then we stop the shots but by then she will be 4 and maybe allergic to new/different stuff but at least she won't have ear infections in the meantime and we can retest her then and check with insurance to see what they will pay for and it takes two weeks to make the shots and follow up in three months.  And the nurse will be in to show you how to use the Epi Pen.  Any questions?

The nurse has a handout (thank god because she talked as fast as him and I was done when they said "cats and eggs"),  Mite blocking covers for pillows and mattresses, HEPA filtered vacuums, MERV something furnace filters, wash bedding every 10 days, keep her out of the house for 2 hours after cleaning, and here's the Epi Pen.  If her throat closes up and she starts wheezing for air (okay, at this point MY throat is closing up) then you jam it in to her leg.  If it doesn't work, then 5 minutes later you have to do it again (okay, if my daughter's throat closes up and she wheezes for 5 minutes after I've jammed a needle in her leg, you will have to come see me in heaven because I will be DONE.)

Any questions?

(Please can I go now, because I need to go sit in my car and cry.)

1.  Delayed vaxing doesn't prevent allergies.  We are now the poster child for this.
2.  If someone else adopts Waddles, can I come and visit him?
3.  I'm calling insurance tomorrow to see what they say, then I'll probably call and tell them that we want to start allergy shots.  Because hell, after today, what's the big deal about two or three shots a week?  If it reduces the snotty nose/watery eyes/allergic shiners, and especially if it prevents ear infections/tubes, shouldn't I go ahead with it?
4.  I can't get the purple marker off her back.

She just looks like she feels great, doesn't she?


MommieV said...

OMG, Im so sorry about all the "you see"s. Im not editing them, tho, Im getting another coke out of the fridge and going to bed.

Esperanza said...

Oh my god! That sounds horrific! My daughter got her six month shots today so I'm quite clear on how wretched it is to hold down your own baby so someone else can hurt her. It feels like the ultimate betrayal.

I'm also someone who knows how bad allergies are. I've had that testing done and I've gotten the shots. I actually had really good experiences with the shots except for that I did go into anaphylactic shock once and that was really bad. If you want to know more about that let me know, otherwise I'll spare you the details. But I do think that they helped me a lot and my allergies symptoms are SO MUCH milder than they were before. I hope it helps the Wee One too!

Serifm said...

This post makes me feel wretched for both of you. I'm so glad this hell is over for a while, and that you got some answers.

PS I know what you're doing. You're trying to psych me into adopting Waddles!

Genkicat said...

That all seems impossible. I'm sorry you guys had to go through that! But its good you did, since now you can prevent the chronic illnesses she seems to have. Poor little one! Poor momma.

And I'm sorry about Waddles. If she gets the allergy shots can you still adopt?

And Rhian has the same bath book. She loves it too.

Funky Mama Bird said...

We went through this last spring, and I so feel for you both right now.

First, please keep in mind that these tests show false positives ALL THE TIME, so you may end up doing this stuff, and nothing happens, which is partly what we went through. Frustrating, I know.

Second, the elimination diet will take 2 to 3 weeks to show results, at least.

Third, start her on probiotics, or at least lots of yogurt. Kids with eczema (and yeah, I had to learn how to spell it, too) do not have a protein in their skin that most people have. Probiotics will help them build it, which keeps the rashes and itchiness away. It also helps with The Poops.

You can order probiotics from the internet or pick some up at the pharmacy. One serving makes such a big difference in Gunne's skin.

We have the epi-pen, too, and have yet to use it. I had the same freak out reaction when they told us about it. Make sure you use the training pen to show your parents, day care and babysitters and keep one with them, too, just in case.

Sorry about the novel, here. I hope things get better for you!

MommieV said...

Thank you for the novel! I was hoping you would comment because I knew that you would have good info for me. And that you know how to spell exczema. Exzema. Eczema.

Funky Mama Bird said...

Oh, one more thing I forgot to mention. (it sucks having all this information, but I'm happy to pass it on!)

Kids with food induced eczema, which is what we have in part, also get stomach aches from eating the thing that gives them the rash, AND - and this is by far the most frustrating thing I have encountered yet - some allergens that cause eczema DO NOT SHOW UP ON ALLERGY TESTS. They only show up if the food is taped to their skin for an extended amount of time - if it gives the rash, then it's positive.

So. If you find that taking away eggs helps, but she still gets rashy from time to time, see if she also has stomach aches or really bad poops at the same time, and try eliminating foods that she ate before that happened. We did that and discovered blueberries and tomatoes and of course our real culprit - wheat.

The problem with allergy testing for eczema is that it's not a true "allergy" so they have a hard time finding the exact cause. Kids with eczema also tend to have environmental allergies and asthma, which is why they test - not to try to clear up the eczema itself.

Anyway, feel free to ask me questions if you have any - we've known for over a year now so I've done the homework!

Laraf123 said...

Both my sons had pretty bad eczema. Henry went through the allergy testing when he was 15 months old. Quite an ordeal. I'm sorry you both had to go through this :(