"Your boy's weird" I was told recently by our allergist. What does a mother say to that comment? I immediately felt the mother lioness rising up inside of me ready to protect my cub at any costs. The reality of my utter mental, emotional and physical exhaustion was however, quickly realised. I hoped that the indignant look on my face was enough to express my thoughts about her distasteful comment.
She continued to explain how this situation was very unique to what she expected. So he went from being 'weird' to 'unique' in a couple of seconds. Okay, I can accept unique. To be quite honest, it had been such a long day and all I really wanted to do was curl up into the fetal position and cry. Now, that would have been weird!
For us, it is a 10 hour round trip to our allergy clinic. I usually organise care for my daughter and Cohen and I make the trek into town staying at a hotel around the corner to the clinic. I try to make each visit a positive fun experience where he gets spoilt. I buy him a new toy on the way. We order room service and eat our dinner on the bed while we watch the latest in-house kids movie. It's something he looks forward to each time, this was no different.
We walked down to the clinic at 8.30am ready for Cohen's latest milk challenge. His previous challenge was over 3 years ago, which eventuated in anaphylaxis for those who remember that story. That was such a long time ago and he had grown out of a few of his other allergies since then. His test results - RAST and Skin Prick Test (SPT) again, were both indicating that he had outgrown his milk allergy. So, needless to say I was feeling pretty confident that this was a sure thing.
As a parent of an allergic child, you are told to avoid the offending food to prevent accidental exposure. When it comes to a challenge, it is really strange to see your child consume a food or drink that could potentially kill them. The nurse started out with a drop on the inside of his lip. At first, he wouldn't let her do it. He looked at me as if to say "Mum, why are you letting her do this, doesn't she know what might happen". He was quite anxious.... so was I.
We has a little break and I talked it through with him. After reassuring him that everything would be okay, he was in a safe place... he allowed the drop.
After 20 minutes, we were called back in for the next dose of 1 ml. He was still nervous, but went ahead with it after I promised he could play Angry Birds on my phone. Love technology!
Each time we returned to the waiting room, it was getting more and more filled with patients and we had to find a new seat every time.
Back in for 5 ml, so far so good. I was really feeling good about this now. I told him how great it would be if he could have milk. He could have Milo like his big sister. He seemed really excited about that. Back out to the waiting room.
I kept checking his tummy for welts and listening for a cough. So far so good. Back in for 15ml now. Okay, getting a bit nervous as this would be the most milk he has ever had. This time in a cup, down the hatch... time would tell
Well, about 10 minutes after this, I noticed him scratching his tummy. I checked under his shirt and sure enough a welt was starting to form. I began rationalising that maybe he was bitten by something, when I felt someone behind me. The nurse had come to see how he was doing. She was so brilliant and on the ball. I was trying to will that welt into being a bite mark so hard. Then another one formed, then another. In about a minute, 7 welts had formed on his torso. Bugger!!!
The nurse gave him some Redipred and some Phernergan. Milk Challenge over.
I wasn't in a hurry to leave the clinic, we all wanted to ensure his reaction didn't progress any further. Cohen continued playing with the train track while I continued to watch him like a hawk. I could almost literally feel more of my hair turning to grey while I watched and waited.
Watching and waiting to see if your child's allergic reaction will progress into anaphylaxis. seeing your child in that state is one of the hardest moments of my life. If you have seen your child anaphylactic I'm sure you would agree. Something a mum shouldn't have to go through. It's about now when I start to feel sorry for myself. I can feel the depression creeping in. It's not fair!!!
After about 20 minutes, Cohen sitting on the chair next to me looking really tired. I pick him up and put him on my lap and cuddle him. Before too long, he is asleep. Before too long after that, I am asleep.
At about the point where I'm cursing whoever made waiting room chairs so uncomfortable, I am nudged by a female doctor. She tells me there is a bed in one of the consulting rooms I could lay Cohen out on. So we go into the spare room and he sleeps, while I sit on the chair next to the bed watching for any further signs of anaphylaxis. Before too long, I drift off to some sort of nanosleep.
For the next few hours, we wait. Every 20 minutes or so, our nurse checks his blood pressure. Then we wait.
At about 3.30pm we see the allergist who tells me that my boy's weird. It's been a long day and I'm ready to curl up and cry.....