09 March 2006

Without the Shock?!

Our office/ playroom furniture finally arrived in a functional state and eight weeks later the old desk and mess are hidden away. We have a new play table for Stella and a hand-me-down slide for the yard. In the past nine days I have planned and executed these last two items with passionate vigor. I have also had two successful ebay shoe bids. Now I am without direction when I sit at my computer. If I let myself go where I really want, I will be trapped in a web of medical jargon and sad stories until well past my bedtime.

What I really want to do is Google peanut allergies. That’s because last week Stella could have died. She had two cubic centimeters of my Clif Nectar bar (dates and cashews made in a plant that processes peanuts). I handed them back to her while we were driving home from the gym. When we pulled into the garage she was clawing at her ears and neck and was covered with red splotches over her lower face. I ripped her out of her car seat, raced her upstairs, and trashed the medicine cabinets searching for liquid Benadryl. The reaction seemed to be thwarted after a little vomit, a nap and the antihistamine, but she woke two hours later the color of ripe raspberries from the top of her head to the edges of the soles of her feet. When her lips, hands, and feet turned blue, we went to the emergency room. Not directly, however. I pulled into the red zone, knowing I had not a dollar in my wallet to pay the parking fee- which surely I would need once triage laughed and sent us on our way home. I stared at her, convinced myself that her lips were a normal shade, that the swelling wasn’t progressing. She was breathing fine. Then the pediatrician called my cell and asked if we had made it ok. I confessed my ambivalence and she firmly convinced me to go in.

We were triaged in front of a packed waiting room of whining children and immediately greeted with undivided attention and steroids via IV. Her swelling worsened over the next hour, despite the medications, and she barfed all over me- all over every item of my clothing. The attending physician called it “anaphylaxis without the shock.” We left with an Epi-pen and the burden of knowing that until we can sort out her allergies- and then after- every label, every joyful toddler’s outstretched handful of potentially fatal cereal will be scrutinized.

Shopping for furniture and discount shoes is so much easier.

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