Monday, February 22, 2010

Our Scare

I'm embarrassed to write this post, but have to share our experience in the hope it could help others who deal with food allergies.

Yesterday the babe had the most severe allergic reaction I've witnessed. And it was my fault (even though this is not about "fault").

She is fine and back to normal, but I think it's going to take me a while to get over this.

I usually make Sunday brunch with pancakes being the main feature. Yesterday, pretty exhausted and distracted, I threw together my standard brunch. I always use banana as an egg replacement but had already used my last one in a pumpkin cake I had made earlier. So, I decided to use some of the babe's yogurt instead. But it wasn't the babe's yogurt, it my mine. I had recently bought a new brand of soy yogurt and a new brand of dairy yogurt and simply mixed them up.

The babe ate a huge meal and commented on how much she loved it (she even ate some of the leftover yogurt directly out of the container). After we cleaned up the maple syrup from around her mouth, I noticed some redness on her face. "What could that be from?" I wondered out loud. I quickly realized it was a rash with some hives developing. I gave her some Benadryl and watched the reaction get increasingly worse.

I won't go into too much detail, but if my husband hadn't been with us, I would have called 911. It got scary and the adrenaline was pumping. A call placed to our allergist was not picked up by the emergency answering service which caused me to fret even further. She ended up throwing up everything in her little body and started to improve after that. She had a warm shower and we snuggled in bed as her face and body began returning to normal.

It was a learning experience for both of us. Now we have seen what can happen and I have been reminded of how careful and vigilant I have to be. It has been some time since we've had a slip up, and this was the worst reaction yet, so I am counting my lucky stars that it wasn't worse and that my little fire cracker of a daughter is OK.

I am feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility of parenthood and have been reminded, yet again, just how precious our children are.

If anyone knows of a good pediatric allergist in the DC/MD/VA area, please pass along the information as we are going to leave our current practice. If you can't count of them in an emergency, what's the point?

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Twighlight Zone

It has been one of the strangest weeks. Being unexpectedly stuck at home without a schedule or routine has been a shocker.

I will admit that I was making fun of people who were panicking last week. The grocery stores were packed, the hardware store ran out of salt, you could barely get into the grocery stores. "These DC lightweights," I thought to myself. I am proud of my Canadian roots and my ability to deal with some snow. Little did I understand what we were in for.

I have been to the grocery store once, on foot, with a backpack in the past week. It reminded me of my student days without a car, except I was carrying about 70 pounds of food and milk for my 4 person family instead of 30 bucks worth of food for just my starving student self.

Other than Safeway for groceries, I have been up and down our street, in our backyard, and in our front yard. We also managed to fit in the birthday party of a friend about 6 blocks away. The four of us traveled by foot, sled and backpack carrier, respectively.

This situation almost reminds me of those first few weeks after having a baby. Where you are so close to home all the time and even going to a grocery store is a big adventure and commitment. In fact, we actually know a couple who had a baby during this past week and I can't even imagine the craziness they have gone through.

I have to give my family credit. A week that could have been a nightmare went remarkably well. The babe has been behaving better than before the storm and the little guy has been toughing it out despite being gradually cut off the boob and dealing with his molars coming in.

I remain eternally grateful that we did not lose our power and kept safe and sound in our little house. I'm happy to report that the sun is shining out there and the snow is melting. Hopefully our very tall snowman will hang out for a while, though.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snowmagedon 2010

As you may have heard, we are snowed in. This has been a dumping of epic proportions and we have stuck in and close to the house since Friday night. We lost our internet and television service for 3 days and are now being hit again with a second "blizzard." But the streets have not been cleared from the first snow bonanza. This sure ain't Ottawa (as in, Ottawa would have the streets cleared!).

Being stuck in the house with 2 kids for this long has been interesting, to say the least. The rules are getting lax and the days seem to be so much longer than I thought possible. I miss preschool. I miss our routine.

The little guy is cruising all over the place and on Sunday crashed down hard onto a piece of furniture. He got a bluish bump on his head very quickly and I almost panicked...OK, I did panic. As we couldn't drive anywhere easily, my mind raced to the worst possible scenarios. After putting some ice on his forehead bump, I realized he was going to be fine and I could be grateful we were not in need of any emergency services.

The poor kid is teething and has some molar action going on in his little mouth. This has made him a tad miserable. We are also working on the weaning and both of us are finding it tough going. He is really not giving up without a fight and is proving to be quite the dedicated breastfeeder. I am having to stick to my guns and push the sippy cup of soy milk option. Weaning the babe was such a breeze compared to this.

Speaking of the babe, today she woke up with a double eye infection. Where in the world did this one come from? Luckily I had held onto the remains of our last bottle of Vigamox and was able to start her on the medicine immediately. I also was able to locate a prescription from last month which should tide us over (it was a back up in case the little guy caught his sister's last eye infection). My husband braved the metro and made his way to the office where he also was able to hit the pharmacy. Hopefully the babe's eyes will clear up soon, or else we have to find a way to get her downtown to the pediatrician which will be no easy feat as I'm not willing to drive.

Anyway...I'm too tired to get into much else. But I wanted to give you an update just in case we lose the internet again...or worse, our power. We have been blessed so far and I hope this next storm doesn't push us over the edge. DC (and our house) wasn't built for this kind of snow.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Anemia? Really?

We had the little guy's 12 month doctors appointment the day after he turned 13 months old.

Things went well until the needles came out.

Sadly he had to have a kazillion shots and blood work done. A long morning for my little trooper.

This week I got a form letter from the pediatrician saying my son has iron deficiency anemia. WHAT? My kid has a pretty solid diet and I didn't quite understand how he could be anemic. He doesn't act or look anemic. Hmmmm.

I called the doctor's office and asked to speak with someone about the test results. I wanted to understand the severity of the problem. A nurse looked into it for me and called back.

Turns out the "normal" range is 3.95 to 4.96. The little guy's results were 3.94. I was told that if he had eaten banana or drank orange juice that day, it could have thrown his results off. Why yes, in fact, my son had consumed a WHOLE banana the morning of his blood work.

I was told I did NOT have to put him on the "Polyvisol with iron" medication that had been recommended in the form letter.

I don't know, but that seems like pretty slack analysis of his blood work. Not much thought could have been put into it when they automatically threw a form letter in the mail and recommended I put my kid on daily iron medicine for the next 3-6 months.

I was not impressed with the allergist's office last week (blood work indicating my son is not allergic to dairy when he CLEARLY IS), and I am not impressed with the pediatrician's office this week. Any other medical professionals feel like messing around with us?

The experience serves as a reminder that I have to be a constant health advocate for my family. No one else is going to ask the important questions but me. No pressure, right?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Grooming Post

I finally finished my bulk sized mint shampoo and conditioner. Thank heavens. I have moved onto a thick and delicious coconut shampoo and conditioner. I am now in tropical vacation paradise when I occasionally have the chance to wash my hair. I do have to complain that my hair has ridiculous bumps in it that I did not have before I gave birth to the little guy. Since he has come along, I've got these strange ski hill jumps that are close to my hair part. There is also a bunch of growing out fuzz like hair at the top that complicates matters. Anyone have any helpful thoughts on this predicament (it can not involve spending much time doing "things" to my hair)?

I have also been kicking myself to floss every night. I broke down and made a dentist appointment for myself last week. I have until the 19th of February to make it look like I've been flossing daily for the past few years. My last 2 dentist appointments were when I was pregnant with the babe and when I was pregnant with the little guy. I suppose I can look forward to some dental X-Ray fun as well. I'm sure the little guy is going to love being strapped into his stroller for the whole experience!

Moving along, I managed to get the little guy's nails cut today as I was putting him to sleep. It is apparently the only time when I can get near him with nail clippers. I am now responsible for 30 fingernails and 30 toe nails. I have to say that my nails are the ones that get neglected. When it gets bad I just hack them off with clippers and dream of a mani/pedi.

I am also just about to lose it with this whole winter dryness thing. I have 3 humidifiers running upstairs at night but still feel dry and static like. I did so much house work yesterday my hands were splitting open and bleeding in numerous locations as I ate my late dinner. It is just not pretty. There is not enough moisturizer in the world to keep my skin all soft and glowing right now. There is also not enough moisturizer to stop all the increasing number of lines on my face from appearing. I think I'm aging quite rapidly these days.

I will leave you on that note. Thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Just Another Day at the Office

This morning I spent a lot of time trying to determine if it was an official snow day at the babe's school. After using all my technology (the TV, computer and phone), I confirmed that school was indeed on for the day. Sweet. I had been quite concerned that I was going to be on my own with both of them all day.

I got all 3 of us clothed, fed and washed up. As I was getting our bags, jackets, hats, mittens and foot wear assembled at the door, I heard a bang and the babe cry out in genuine pain (which is very different from her "fake" pain cry). She had been messing around the little guys high chair (like I had just told her not to) and had managed to slip and bash her mouth on our dining room table. I ran over to find her wailing and holding her mouth. The little guy sat in his high chair stunned. I had the babe open her blood, but 2 chipped teeth on the top front. Funny thing is, she managed to chip the other side of the tooth she had chipped falling on a coffee table about 1.5 years ago. I called the dentist and they managed to set us up with an appointment for 1pm.

My excitement over the fact that it wasn't an official snow day was gone as I knew I was going to have to pick the babe up early from school, screw up the little guys precious nap and have both of them unrested and kooky for the whole afternoon.

Now that I've made it through the very long day, I am counting my blessings. The dentist confirmed that things looked OK in the babe's mouth. Dr. D shaved down the babe's vampire looking front tooth and told me to watch out for any colour changes in the tooth or gum. I'm also supposed to watch out for any movement of the tooth itself.

When accidents happen, it's good to try and keep it in perspective. Hopefully the babe has learnt that hanging off tables and playing around the high chair is not such a hot idea. But I wouldn't bet my life on it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Soy Down Low

Sorry to keep you hanging.

Things are looking good on the soy milk front for the little guy.

On Friday I gave him 10ml in a syringe. After 5 minutes, no reaction. 10 minutes, no reaction. 15 minutes, no reaction. You see where I'm going with this.

So every day I've given him a little dose and have been watching him like a hawk. I think he's going to be OK with this and after the 7 day mark, I will start giving him soy milk in larger doses.

The allergist hasn't been much of a help on this and I am beginning to think the whole allergy medicine field is a quack science. I just don't understand how a skin test and a blood test can come back completely negative but the actual food/beverage can cause an allergic reaction.

I suppose it's a lesson learnt and I will continue to be hyper vigilant about what goes into my kids mouths. This has become our way of life. But at least I've been through it once before.