Merry Christmas! I hope everyone has had a wonderful day celebrating with friends and family. Our Christmas has been great! The kids have only opened about half of their presents, though, and really don't seem to have any desire to open the rest, so our Christmas may be lasting a few days. I'll have more on that tomorrow, or as soon as I can get the pictures uploaded.
Our Christmas didn't really start out so wonderful, though. We found out the hard way last night that Rylie is allergic to cashews. (I know, what is up with my kids and allergies this week?) We ended up spending some time in the ER last night. That is certainly not how I wanted to spend Christmas Eve!
Brian's dad and step-mom came to visit yesterday afternoon. They brought some snacks with them and we were munching on them while we were waiting for my parents to get here so we could go out to dinner. One of those snacks was cashews. Rylie ate one and while she was eating it she said it burned her tongue. I thought that was weird, but they were pretty salty, so I figured it was just the salt. Within two minutes, her face was bright red all around her lips. About five minutes after that she was standing on the couch and threw up. She was also complaining that her throat was tight. She seemed to be breathing fine and the redness wasn't getting any worse, so we gave her some Benadryl and the redness started going away. I came upstairs to consult "Dr. Internet" and she wanted to come with me. Just as I was reading about how cashew allergies kill more kids than peanut allergies, and decided to take her to the ER, she threw up everywhere! She couldn't stop. So Brian took her to get her cleaned up, and I went and changed out of my puke covered clothes so I could take her to the ER.
By the time Rylie was cleaned up, she said she felt better, so I decided to call her pediatrician. I left a message with their answering service and waited for them to call back. It took a while to get a call back since my stupid phone shut off and I didn't know it, so by the time I ended up talking to the nurse, Rylie seemed fine. She had eaten some pears and applesauce and was acting normally. The nurse asked a bunch of questions, and then said that I still needed to take Rylie to the ER because she had a reaction to a high risk food. My parents had arrived right in the middle of all of this, so Mama, Rylie and I headed off to the ER.
We got to the ER at around 9, and didn't wait long before we were taken to a room. I think it was around 10 by the time the doctor came in. They had taken her vitals when we got there and everything was fine, so I guess he didn't really need to examine her. He just asked me a bunch of questions and diagnosed her with a "tree nut allergy" until we could follow up further with an allergist to see if it was just cashews. He said that her reaction was actually pretty serious.
She was given a steroid and Benadryl at the hospital, and we were given prescriptions for an epi pen, steroids and Zantac, along with instructions to continue the Benadryl for 3 days. (Apparently Zantac has some anti-histamine properties to it, and controls the excess stomach acids that appear with these kinds of reactions.)
We finally left the hospital around 11, with a very tired little girl. And to make matters worse, right when the doctor came in, she had to go to the bathroom so my mom took her. Well apparently she had to go pretty bad and it came out with such force that it went over the toilet bowl rim. It got on her pants and I didn't have any spare clothes with me. So we walked out with her wrapped up in my jacket.
By the time we got home and I got her in bed, it was well after midnight when I headed off to CVS to get her prescriptions. The pharmacist first told me 20 minutes, so I waited because I wanted that epi pen at home. After about 25 minutes he let me know that my insurance carrier's systems were down, and it should be back up by 1. So I waited some more. By the time I got to bed this morning it was almost 2. Luckily Brian's dad and step-mom had graciously offered to wrap all of the kids' gifts while Brian set up the big stuff, because there was no way I would have been able to do that at 2 this morning. (Thanks Barry and Robin!)
So needless to say, I'm exhausted. I'm also worried. I'm a worrier by nature, and I am already so stressed that I have to deal with this. I am so glad Rylie is OK, but the doctor said that each exposure could potentially worsen. For now she is not allowed to have ANY nuts, except peanuts, and that is only because she has been eating peanut butter regularly for two years now, and because they aren't in the same family as cashews. So I have to read labels very closely. I know how I am, and this is going to suck. I'm going to be so paranoid about everything she eats now, and I will probably watch her like a hawk after every meal. Ugh. But I don't EVER want to have to deal with that again, so I have to be vigilant. Hopefully we can get in with an allergist soon (the hospital doc said there are only 3 in this city that see kids) and find out for sure exactly what she is allergic to. It could just be cashews, but it could be all tree nuts.
I would love to hear from any of you that have kids that suffer from dangerous allergies like this. Please share your stories and let me know how you deal with this. I know this is going to be tough, but I will do whatever it takes to keep my baby safe.
Search this site