I will never as long as I live forget that image, ever. It tore our hearts out that we couldn't take away her discomfort, as a parent it is one of the worst feelings ever. They determined at this point there were issues and sent her by ambulance (while I rode with her and watched her unresponsive little body lay on the stretcher) to a well known hospital to be evaluated. She was severely dehydrated from the benadryl. Yet, to till point no Dr. would admit or test her for an allergy. Why, was my question? So we thought, great we're finally going to get answers! Yes well.....that didn't happen...just another nightmare.
Kathleen spent just over a week in the hospital, ended up with massive diarrhea (we feel they pushed too many liquids) They could give us no answers. She was still covered in hives and we kept saying it has to be a food allergy! Yet, they said, no, must be a viral thing. She was so worn out and weak and her body was trying hard to fight the benadryl and the reactions. Her heart was monitored as it was skipping beats.Yet they would continue to bring regular foods. Which she refused so straight IV liquid was all she would take.
Jerry and I camped out next to her crib, and one night (I never slept) a nurse came in about 2 AM to check her vitals. She must of thought I was asleep....she walked to the crib and roughly grabbed up Kathleen to check her vitals, it startled her so bad her heart monitor started going off and she cried. (Now you must realize this child had gotten hardly any sleep due to the constant discomfort of the hives) I jumped up off that cot and told her she better never touch my child again. That anyone with common sense knows you don't startle someone sound asleep especially when ill and with heart irregularities. I was livid. Mind you it takes a lot for me to get upset, but I have red hair too and I earn it proudly when someone messes with my child. She left without saying a word, I believe she knew she was wrong and properly feared for her job. I was incredibly disappointed with this hospital. When they got her stabilized, they sent her home, diagnosing a "virus" and a follow up to our regular Dr. Yes, she left with hives. I thank God she was young enough to hopefully not recall that experience, but again it is something I will never forget. ( This is in a nutshell of course, there was more...).
After her release I called an allergist to explain the situation, I was tired of waiting for a Dr's referral and at this point I was willing to pay anything to find out what was wrong. They stated they could run allergy tests for food but she had to be off the benedryl for a few days. Which was virtually impossible because she was developing hives constantly. We tapered it down to the day before and took her to get tested. Even with traces of Benadryl in her system the results showed a severe allergic reaction to eggs. Well of course we were like we haven't fed her any eggs knowing it can be an allergy early on.... well then you begin to realize how many foods have egg in it. We weren't thinking of it in that way. That was the day our lives changed as a family.
Who knew something as small as an egg
Could have such a serious effect that we now carry an epipen everywhere we go....
Today was a big day.... we were finally o.k.ed to retest her allergy. So off we went this morning, her and I to the allergist office. We had Kitty (stuffed animal) all wrapped up in his blanket to go with us. A caring doctor this time who was very good explaining everything to her and 5 little test needles, that we crossed our fingers for. We learned that 2 parts of the egg were now negative, but she is still showing an allergy to egg whites. So next Tuesday I will be taking her in the morning to have a food test done. I will need to cook eggs and take them in and sit for hours after she takes 1 bite at a time under the close watchful eye of the Dr. Praying there is a possibility that she has outgrown this allergy. Praying for my peace of mind that when she attends Kindergarten this year that everything will be o.k. That I won't have to worry about a child handing her a cupcake, or cookie by mistake. Or worrying whether or not they'll give her her epipen in time should she need it. It's hard enough watching your kids grow and letting them out the door for the first time on their own... but add a life threatening factor to that equation and fear seizes your heart every minute of every hour.
I am thankful for the recipes I have that allow her baked goods made by me. I am hoping that her Valentine celebration at the nature center tomorrow will be the last one I have to worry about her getting a hold of something she can't have. I hope it will be the last time she is singled out by me saying, "sorry sweetie, you can have that..." I'm hoping she can bake and cook more things with Hayley and I without having to watch from the other room while we handle eggs.
My thoughts and prayers are going out to every family that faces this. I have friends who children are allergic to milk, egg, and peanuts. I know eggs are a big enough challenge, then to add more.... the menus get very creative. We do this as parents because we love our children and there are no challenges we can't overcome. I treasure the friends I have who make special meals when we visit so that Kathleen can be included (you know who you are! :-) That truly means the world to Jerry and I.
I know I am now in the habit with the girl's friends of asking the parents if there is something their child is allergic to when visiting us. Same at school, I ask and I include an ingredient list. There are great recipes that omit these foods, that still taste amazing enough for all the kids to enjoy. It's hard to see your child's face when they are unable to have certain things that other kids enjoy. She even has missed out on story time projects due to cookie making activities. The parent arranging it didn't have a child with an allergy and didn't ask. So I had to leave early with Kathleen. If you are a parent of a child with food allergies, I know you understand.... if you are not, please understand how to help make a difference for these children. You have no idea how much the parents and the children appreciate that effort. :-)
Thanks for sticking by and listening to me ramble today....this was heavy in my heart.... As this little girl is my heart and I only want the best of everything for her....