Soooooooooo, Have you missed us since July? Sorry. I have no good reasons, other than life has been different around here, and I'm still kind of finding my way through it. I'll start with what happened this weekend and then I'll do some updates of how life has changed around here over the past few months.
Five year old B and I got to sleep overnight at the Hospital! We went to our city "Santa Parade" where we enjoyed free cookies and cocoa, and watched a short parade that ended with Santa and Mrs. Clause riding past in a carriage. After waving at Santa and then waving at the policeman at the end of the parade we headed back to our car. Our B boy showed me his lip, it was puffy and bleeding a little. I questioned him about how it got that way, did someone hit him? (someone being his brother I supposed) No. Did he fall and hit his lip on something? No. Did a bug bite him? No. Hmmmmm, That's weird. I didn't really think it was an issue, about 30 seconds later B slipped and fell and although he said he was okay (all 3 kids will say that while they are still on the ground, or even in the process of falling "I'm Okay!") by the time we got to the car B was crying. Ken did his best to comfort him. We made it home. I got some food for the kids, the cookie and cocoa at the parade were really just the first course of dinner. We discovered that B had climbed into our bed. Ken and I laid down on either side of our quiet little boy and tried to figure out what was wrong. He really wouldn't say much. I noticed that his lip was still puffy and pointed it out to Ken. B didn't want to put ice on it, but he was willing to eat an otter pop (I figured otter pops are ice and he'd be sucking on it- thus the ice would be on his fat lip :) sometimes I'm awesome at doctoring!) and he got out of our bed and followed Ken into the kitchen.
This is where things got weird. (or weirder, since a quiet B with a fat lip is already weird) Before Ken could get the otter pop ready, B threw up on the kitchen floor. Chaos ensued for a few minutes. Was that the problem, did B have a stomach bug? Our oldest son J walked around proclaiming loudly that he didn't want to get sick. Our daughter just wants to be part of the action and she was none too pleased that she had to sit with me (far away from the vomit) for 5 minutes while Ken cleaned up and got B situated on the couch.
Once on the couch B seemed to be okay, he'd cough, but he never threw up again. After 20 or so minutes he started complaining that his tummy hurt. He said the pain was in his belly button. I got him a warm rice bag to see if that would help. He didn't like it but when I offered the chance to get in a warm bath to see if that might help sooth the pain he was feeling, he jumped at the chance.
Once in the tub things got weirder. I noticed a hive on the back of his shoulder as I was helping him take his clothes off. Soon he was scratching- hard enough to draw blood- and there were hives just about everywhere, his back, neck, arms and thighs. Oddly, to me, the hives were only where the water had touched him. Later I told Ken that I wondered if the hives had something to do with something in the water- he told me he wondered the same thing.
Hives? We've dealt with hives. "Benadryl!" Ken said. I ran and got the boy some Benadryl. I was still uneasy. This just didn't make sense too me. All of these symptoms seemed so disjointed, nothing really fit together for me, nothing screamed "We're all part of the stomach flu" and so I told Ken that I thought we needed to take B to see a doctor.
Soon B and I were making the trek (15 or 20 minutes) to the closest urgent care facility offered by our healthcare provider that was still open. (The closest to our house- 5-10 minutes away- closed at 8 PM on Saturdays- which is right about the time we would have arrived). I got to the Insta-Care and realized that there at that location they had a child specific urgent care. I had asked Ken to call ahead to get us on the waiting list (because sometimes you have to wait hours) and I decided to check at the Kids-Care to see if he had spoken to them. He had! "Oh, the boy with the hives" said the receptionist, she got us checked in quickly and it wasn't too long before a nurse took us back and started weighing and measuring my boy.
While she collected his vital information she also was collecting information from me. The timeline of what had happened. When all the different symptoms presented. I find, and I hope I'm not alone in this, that I have a hard time expressing myself well in these types of situations. I'm watching my little boy deal with some sort of Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde illness and I know WHAT happened but they want to know the TIMES, how long inbetween this and that. I did my best, I figure nurses and doctors see a lot of parents like me, people doing their best to put into words what weird things are going on with their children.
The doctor was sitting at a desk about 15 feet away from where I was watching/talking to the nurse, and I'm sure she heard everything I said. When she came into the exam room she asked me to tell her the timeline again and asked some follow up questions and then she said that B was presenting with the signs of Anaphylaxis. Not Anaphylactic Shock- but anaphylaxis......I looked confused. She explained more, B had 1- Swelling (lips and ears, I hadn't noticed his ears, chances were good that he was having swelling in his mouth as well.) 2-Vomiting 3- Stomach Cramping/abdominal pain and 4- Hives. (I remember the nurse and doctor also discussing his blood pressure and his coloring- over the past few days I've noticed that those are also signs of anaphylaxis).
Here's where my world started spinning even more. The doctor told me that because he had multiple symptoms of Anaphylaxis, he needed an epinephrine immediately and then she would send us to a hospital nearby that had a pediatric unit where he could be observed for a few hours. Why did this start my world spinning? I've been the mother of a nut allergic child for a year now- why didn't I put together that vomiting and stomach pain were part of an allergic reaction, let alone, why did it take me until he had a body full of hives to figure out there was something wrong. It was the vomiting, the vomiting confused me. But I knew that I had read in all that paper work a year ago, that vomiting was indeed a sign of an allergic reaction. And, wait, what? Did that doctor just say he needed a shot of epinephrine? Immediately? But she just told me that he wasn't in shock. Had I been doing it wrong? Little E has come into contact with/reacted to an allergen twice since she was diagnosed. Both times, I recognized her symptoms- Screaming and hives- and I have given her the approriate dose of benadryl and then watched her for more symptoms, praying that she would breath easily and wouldn't go into shock. If she did go into shock I knew what I needed to do- EpiPen to the Rescue! But if that had ever been needed would it have turned out to be too late? Should I have used her epipens when I knew she was having a reaction rather waiting for a "bad" reaction?
So off we went to the hospital, my now happy boy and I. We eventually made it up to the right floor of the hospital. B got to put on "Hospital Pajamas" and the nurses got him all set up in his bed, they even found him a "Thomas the Tank Engine" video to watch. I got to tell the whole story again, this time the doctor said "Well, it's sure a good thing that you knew how to spot Anaphylasis" at which point I told him that I didn't feel like I had spotted it- I took him to the doctor because there was just so many symptoms that I couldn't fit together, it didn't make sense to me. I also asked him about how I had always dealt with E's allergic reactions. He told me that I had done a good job and I shouldn't worry about B, he would be fine it wouldn't be too hard to keep him away from nuts (since that is what we think the allergen must be) because we are already taking precautions to keep E away from them. He then said that he wanted to observe B overnight and that he would be released sometime after 9 the next morning. I let Ken know that we wouldn't be home that night.
*This happened on a Saturday, when Ken and I were both home, it would have been a lot harder to handle if I had had to find a place for J and E to be while I rushed B to the Doctor and then to the hospital.
*Ken and I are often play good cop bad cop when it comes to the kids and what we should get checked out and what we can just wait and watch. (bad cop isn't necessarily budget friendly, since bad cop usually wants to take the kids to the doctor) As B's symptoms kept mounting I kept feeling more and more uncomfortable with just letting whatever this was play out. And so I said to Ken and B "I have to go to the bathroom, and then I'm going to pray about this". Something from my patriarchal blessing kept coming into my mind while we were at the hospital, basically I was promised that I as I raised my family I would recognize that I have the spirit of discernment in my life, and that I would be able to exercise wisdom in things pertaining to our mortal existence. I felt like this was a teaching moment for me- 1, that I had been prompted (by my feeling of unease) to take him to the doctor, and 2, that the things I was told, the things I learned through those 16 hours or so, would become the wisdom that would help us through other similar experiences that we are likely to have at some point over the rest of our lives.