Feb. 9th, 2007 11:24 pm
On Tuesday (Wednesday? It was the 6th, whichever that was) Charlie had his latest allergist appointment. I left it a little afraid and spitting mad.

In good news, the milk allergy seems to be going away. The size of the reaction site was quite a bit smaller than when he was tested 6 months ago. When we go back in a year there's a good chance that it will be gone. His improvement was marked and surprising to the doctor. Apparently it frequently gets worse around age 1 to 2 years, before it goes away around age 3 or 4.

The bad news is that he tested positive for peanut allergy. He's only moderately allergic. He's not likely to have anaphalixys if I eat a peanut butter sandwich or anything, but he sure shouldn't have one of his own. Peanut allergy is scary shit. Milk allergy is an annoying pain in the ass. Peanut allergy is life and death stuff if you're unlucky. There is a small chance that he could outgrow the peanut allergy. Much smaller chance than with the milk. There is a significant chance that he will also have tree nut allergies. We avoid milk when it's convenient, but don't make a huge deal of it. We don't really have that luxury with the peanuts. With the milk he only ever had a topical reaction where the milk touched his skin. Peanuts made his whole body break out in hives. They tested him using a 1/100 dilution and the size of the reaction site was as big as his current reaction to the milk test at full strength. One thing that will be a comfort to George's mom is that her giving him peanut butter is not likely to have made it worse, only to cause us to find it sooner. They still would rather he - or any baby - not have had the peanuts until age 3, but most likely it didn't do any real harm.

So, why do I say I was spitting mad? When we talked to the allergy nurse at the beginning of the appointment and described what happened she asked me if we used the EpiPen and went to the hospital. I said no, we called the pediatrician's after hours on call nurse who didn't seem to think there was any reason to worry. When Dr Firrincili came in he asked me if we used the EpiPen and went straight to the hospital. When I told him about the nurse you could tell he was mad. He's a very calm man with a peaceful demeanor and soothing voice, but you could tell he wanted to say nasty things about a nurse who would dismiss it like that. Going over the paperwork they gave us about peanut allergies it sounds like there was potential for Charlie to have reacted exactly the way he did up to the point that I talked to the nurse, and then DIED. Just because it seems like the reaction took a while to hit, and because it seems like he's doing a little better an hour later does not mean that it's all ok. The nurse INSISTED that if it had been an allergy it would have happened immediately. She was adamant that the only possible explanation was that the cold he'd had 2 weeks ago was all of a sudden doing weird shit to his skin and there was nothing to worry about. I kept insisting that it wasn't a cold he was already over, it was related to the peanut and she kept insisting that it couldn't possibly be that, and not to worry. As I said, after reading over the papers from the allergist it looks like he had classic symptoms of the allergy, and that even 3 hours after symptoms have gone away there is still danger of anaphalixys. He could have literally died and this nurse had no idea what she was talking about.

I've been thinking about this for half a week now. The only thing I can think of is to write a long letter explaining things to Dr. Steele. I don't know which nurse I spoke to, but I'm assuming they can figure it out from our charts and from the time and date of the call. They need to know that the information this nurse gave me could have been the difference between life and death in my child. We're lucky his allergy is only moderate, not severe. Peanut allergies are dangerous, and if she doesn't understand that then she doesn't need to be working an emergency call line.



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