In my last post (There’s something itchy going on…. – Part 2) about my son, DR’s mysterious hive reactions, we had finally got him an appointment to see someone at his allergist’s office. It was Thursday, July 21st. His appointment was later in the day, so I spent the morning trying to treat DR’s fourth outbreak of hives in that 10-day period, monitor for other signs of a serious reaction, and manage his paradoxical side effects from the antihistamines I had given him.
By the time we got to the allergist’s office that morning he only had hives left on his legs. We were brought back to a room quickly. Within 5 minutes, in walked who I thought was the other doctor in the practice. (Quick side noted: days later I found out that this man was a nurse practitioner at the practice. I normally do not have preference of being seen by an nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant, but with this particular office, I have heard some awful things about this nurse practitioner. So when I had made the appointment, I had asked not to be seen by him, and was told we would be seen by the other doctor.) He began asking questions, not about his reactions, but about whether he had been exposed to a cold. We did have our share of the common cold spread throughout our house, but that had been almost a month before. I then tried to turn the topic back on our current issue of hives. I told him everything that had happened those 10 days before the appointment. I showed him pictures. Unfortunately, he was so focused on this idea that my son was just having a reaction to the common cold, that he didn’t even do a full work-up. We left with the diagnosis of a viral reaction, and directions to give him tylenol or ibuprofen if he developed a fever. I was very confused, and friends, family, and school officials could not believe it.
Since it was Thursday, we had dinner at my mother-in-law’s house like we do every week. I had given DR another dose of his antihistamine. As usual, the kids would run around the house and play with the grandparents after dinner. Then it happened, minutes after eating dinner, for the fifth time in less than two weeks, DR broke out in hives. This time it covered his entire body. As I sat him down to examine the hives, something new happened: he started coughing, couldn’t catch his breath. As his grandmother try to soothe him with water, I grabbed his Epipen and called our pediatrician’s office. The nurse-on-call advised me to administer the Epipen and called 911. So for the first time ever, I held my child down and jabbed the auto-injector into his leg. He squealed and looked at me as though I had betrayed him.
The next leg of our anaphylactic journey would bring even more questions as we treated what we could, fought for a diagnosis, and made new discoveries in the crazy world of food allergies.