Posts tagged allergies

Update from the pediatrician

We finally saw the pediatrician yesterday, after the appointment was rescheduled twice. The doc has rooms in Westmead (very close to us) and in Burwood (not that close to us) and usually we go to Westmead (duh). But this time we couldn’t get a Westmead appointment for weeks so I decided we’d drive in to Burwood.

The appointment was at 3.40 yesterday, so I started loading the kids in the car at about 2.50. We were halfway there and making good time when the receptionist rang to say the doctor was running late and we might like to hold off a while. Alas, she didn’t realise we were coming from Parramatta way and were already en route, so we kept going.

Hugo fell asleep just before we arrived so we sat in the car and let him snooze for about 20 minutes (the receptionist had said the doc was 20 minutes late).

It turns out the doc was actually running very, very late. We got to the office about 4 and waited until after 5. The kids were good to start with but got more and more manic as time went on. Hugo was entertaining himself by running as fast as he could then throwing himself to the floor, laughing like a madman. Other kids in the office were starting to join the game and it was bedlam with flying, laughing kids and yelling parents and the phone going and it was a million degrees and the door to the office kept getting stuck – it was fun.

Anyway, we finally got in about 90 minutes after our appointment time, just in time to ensure I’d get peak hour traffic on the way home with two exhausted and hungry kids.

The pediatrician is happy for us to go ahead a trial Hunter with prawns. He wants us to just rub her skin (on her hand) first and check for a reaction. If there is one, the trial ends. If there isn’t, we wait till the next day and rub it on her lips. If there’s still no reaction, she’s to eat a small amount on the third day.

We all expect it to be fine since the skin prick test was negative, but we also all know that the test is just a guide that doesn’t guarantee anything, so the pediatrician prefers to proceed with caution – and so do I.

He also had a look at Hunter’s little head and concluded that it is perfectly fine. Again, what we expected, but it’s always nice to have confirmation. Actually, his exact words were, “that’s a good head” ūüôā

So, we thought we were leaving with the all-clear, till he decided to have a listen to Hunter’s chest after I talked with him about an ongoing dry cough she has. He said she had a slight flow murmur and he wants her to have an ECG to rule out any heart problems. He said he was “98 per cent sure” it was an innocent murmur, so I am keeping my freaking out under control, but “Hunter”, “hospital” and “heart clinic” in the same sentence was a bit of a shock.

He’s sending a letter with the referral to the clinic. He doesn’t feel like it’s urgent but wants us to arrange it within the next few months. That’s a good sign, right?

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Allergy test results..

Negative! For everything!

The only bump was the histamine control, everything else – nada. We’ll see the pediatrician tomorrow, but I’m thinking this means goodbye epipen, hello Sushi Train!

It does leave us still wondering at the cause of the three outbreaks of hives she’s had in the past year, but negative is very good news.

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Is she still allergic?

It’s been about a year since Hunter’s nasty allergic reaction after eating some prawns. The skin prick test confirmed the allergy and we’ve been getting around with an epipen ever since, and we’re to re-test annually.

The first repeat test is scheduled for¬†Monday. I really don’t know what to expect. We’ve been careful about not giving her anything with prawns in it, so I am hopeful she may have outgrown the allergy. On the other hand, seafood allergies are among those most likely to be lifelong.

I feel like the test is going to be negative. I sure hope I am right!

The initial plan was to re-test for seafood allergies only, since everything else tested negative last time, but I think we’ll end up doing the full panel again. She’s had three outbreaks of hives in the past year and we haven’t been able to pinpoint a cause an any of those occasions.

The first time we felt sure it was soy, because the reaction occurred within minutes of her eating some sushi rolls with soy sauce, but the RAST test was negative. The other two reactions happened at preschool and we really have no idea what they were caused by.

The follow up with the pediatrician on Tuesday. I am really not looking forward to getting to these appointments with two kids. Hunter’s going to want to be on my lap for both appointments, I am sure, and if Hunter wants to sit on me, Hugo will almost certainly be trying to push her off.

Tuesday in particular will be a pain because we’ll have been at playgroup in the morning so Hugo will be wiped out and ready for bed. Maybe I’ll get lucky and he’ll fall asleep in the stroller (as if).

Meanwhile, I lost the referral form and had to call the doc’s office this morning to ask for another. Luckily the allergist is two doors down the hall so the doctor’s receptionist said she’d just give the form directly to them.

We also have a few other things on the list for when we see the pediatrician. Hunter’s ears were still a bit pink when we went for our GP follow up, and her hearing doesn’t seem to be quite back to normal, so we’ll get him to check that out, and we also need to have him check out her head circumference again.

I’m glad to have a few things for him to check – I like to feel like I am getting my money’s worth!

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The blasted RAST

Monday was rainy beyond rainy. It had poured most of the weekend and it was not letting up. Hunter had major cabin fever and I was not looking forward to the prospect of a whole day locked inside with two kids, so I said I’d take them to the shopping centre, where Hunter likes to play on the climbing frame in the kids’ section.

When we got there it occurred to me that the doctor’s office is in that centre and since¬†we were¬†there anyway, we should stop in and get Hunter’s blood test results. I asked at reception and the receptionist said we’d need to wait in line to see the doctor. I explained that it was just an allergy test and it would only take two seconds for the doctor to tell us the result if she could just phone her. I also explained that last time we came in we were there for three hours and I really didn’t want to do that again.

No go, as expected. I asked how many people were already waiting to see our doctor. Eight. She pulled Hunter’s file and told us to “come back in an hour…no wait, better make it a bit longer than that”.

So we went off and Hunter played on the climbing equipment. Then we went to the parents’ room where I attempted to feed Hugo (waste of time. the boy’s head was spinning like something from the exorcist – far too much to see). Then I got lunch for Hunter and myself. Then, an hour and a half after we first went in, we called back into the doctor’s surgery. Still two people ahead of us.

We found some other play equipment and that occupied Hunter for 15 minutes. After that we headed back to the waiting area, where Hunter repeated her performance of last week: yelling, making rude comments, throwing herself on the floor. The usual.

After all that, we finally went in for the doctor to tell us the test was negative. No allergy to soy detected. It’s what I expected since she had a negative result on the skin prick test last year. It kind of felt like we had endured two trips to the doctor for nothing.

We don’t know what caused the hives but the doctor is not very concerned. She said she didn’t want to label Hunter allergic to soy with no evidence that she is, and I agree. She said it would be okay to try her on some small amounts of soy, and I agree with that, too.

We haven’t yet, but I am sure there is sushi in our future.

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Self-inflicted pain

Today is leigh’s first day back at school – aka my first day at home with both kids since school ended before Christmas.

Things started well. Hugo slept through again (go Hugo!) and Hunter didn’t get up until 7. She was in a good mood and being unusually pleasant and cooperative.

And then we went for our doctor’s appointment.

Why, why, why did I think I should go to the doctor on my own with both kids??

Really there was no alternative because our doctor only came back from leave today, but it just felt like a ridiculous thing to do once we got there and it all went to hell. Because that is what always happens at the doctor’s surgery.

We got there right on time for the 9.30 appointment, only for the receptionist to tell us the appointments were actually booked for 9am. Now, I don’t remember what time they told me when I rang, but I do remember reading back and confirming all the details after I typed them into outlook. But, whatever.

So we waited an HOUR to get in. Hunter spent that time going in and out of the play area, running around like she was crazy, yelling loudly, knocking Hugo over and generally being more and more cantankerous as time went on.

Hugo started out happily enough but was getting progressively crankier with each bump to the head, plus he was tired and hungry.

Then there was a problem with the file (there was a note popping up saying Hunter’s immunisations were not up to date, but they are. We declined the MMR when she was 12 months old, but we did the paperwork for that at the time). It took 20 minutes to get that fixed.

And then Hunter had to have a blood test at the end of it all. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

We were there to talk about Hugo’s possibly-turned eye, Hunter’s mini head and Hunter’s maybe-allergic reaction to soy sauce.

I’d been thinking Hugo’s left eye has a slight tendency to turn inward but the doctor thought the problem, if there is one, might be with his right eye, which she thought was just a touch sluggish when following the light. That makes sense – if he’s able to turn his left eye more effectively than his right then the left one could look turned in.

Anyway, she agreed that it’s very subtle and she’s not especially concerned but she’s referred him to an opthalmologist anyway.

Then she measured Hunter’s head and indeed it’s at the bottom of the chart. She’s sending her back to the pediatrician but again is not too worried since Hunter’s development is right on track, and since there’s probably nothing anyone can do anyway.

Eventually we got around to talking about the allergic reaction. She (and everyone else) we encountered tried suggesting it was some additive in the soy sauce. I don’t know why, but it really annoyed me when people kept mentioning the possibility as though we were so stupid that we would not have¬†realised food stuffs occasionally contain ingredients not listed in the product title.

We did have the good sense to look at the label after it happened. The only additive was sodium glutamate in one of the bottles of soy. The other bottle had no additives.

¬†Anyway the doc ordered a RAST test, mainly because the skin prick test requires a trip to the ped then the allergist and takes time and money. From what I have read (and I confess I haven’t read that widely) I don’t feel that confident that the blood test will give a reliable result. It seems like it’s known for false positives and false negatives. But I guess I’ll wait and see what cames back and take it from there.

Hunter was a real trooper with the blood test, mainly because she didn’t really know what to expect. She cried just a little when the needle went in but stopped the second the nurse mentioned the possibility of a lolly when it was over.

Meanwhile, I was holding hunter so hugo was left to his own devices strapped in the stroller, and he screamed bloody murder the whole time.

Our quick trip to the doctor took three hours and I am already counting down to the next school holidays.

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Is this the end of Yum Cha?

Hunter has a serious seafood allergy, which we discovered when her face puffed up like a football after she ate some prawns last year. We took her to the pediatrician at the time and he ordered a full panel allergy test (the skin prick test) to confirm that it was indeed the prawns that were responsible, and to check for other allergies.

The test did confirm an allergy to shrimp, but came back clear for everything else. We have an epi-pen but we have felt that as far as allergies go, this one’s probably a relatively easy one to manage, since seafood is fairly easy to avoid.

It’s been a bit of a pain at yum cha since there’s prawn in every second dish, but Hunter’s been content with noodles and steamed vegies so it’s been okay.

Fast forward to yesterday. Leigh made sushi for lunch and Hunter happily gobbled it up and dipped each piece in soy sauce. When the sushi was gone, she used her fingers to swipe up as much soy sauce as she could before we took it away.

And then she broke out in a bright red rash and hives all over her mouth/chin, her chest (where the sauce had dripped) and on her arm (where she leant in the pool of drippage).

So now we’re wondering whether this was some weird fluke or if she’s allergic to soy but either wasn’t at the time of the test, or just didn’t react for some reason. We’re seeing the doctor about her little head next week anyway so we’ll ask about it then.

 In the meantime, it looks like yum cha is off the menu, because avoiding soy and prawns would be a serious challenge at yum cha.

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