Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Epinephrine, anaphylactic shock, and other unpleasantries

Every once in a while when I was a kid, my mother would get an 'instant headache'. This usually happened when things were stressful and we were being noisy. Mom would afterward need some quiet because instant headaches were never pleasant.

Yesterday Amelia's allergist's nurse called and told us that we could start giving Amelia cooked milk (meaning dairy products cooked into something) and cheese. Cheese? I was surprised and somewhat apprehensive. For those of you who don't know, Amelia has multiple severe food allergies, and although she is still technically allergic to milk, she has clinically outgrown this allergy and is slowly working her way into trying different levels of dairy products which began with baked milk (i.e. in egg-less cakes).

Today while at the store, I picked up some string cheese, as this had been recommended. Matt was with us, and because we were running behind, upon returning home he ended up taking the car to work. (Our only car, we sold the other). After he left I got out the string cheese, said a prayer, and gave Amelia a little bite.

She loved it. And then her throat started to itch. I immediately gave her a dose of benedryl, and called her doctor but couldn't get through. Ellie started shrieking, and then I saw Amelia itching her throat. I got an instant headache.

I went in and got her medicine bag with her epi-pens. (Actually, they're twinjects. I like them better because there are 2 doses in each pen and it doesn't take as much force to inject them). Amelia noticed and starting running through the house, anywhere she could, to get away. I went and got an alcohol wipe and some bandages.

I watched her a little more, she told me her stomach hurt and I noticed she was wheezing with a slight cough. I wasn't sure if this was because of her running around trying to escape, or because she was in anaphylactic shock. I decided not to take any chances, a mistake could be deadly.

I caught her, gave her a toy, pinned her down, and while talking calmly to her gave her the shot. Epinephrine shots are no joke. You have to pinch little kids' skin so the needle doesn't hit the bone, jab the shot into the thigh, and then hold it in for 10 seconds. Try doing this to a poor, terrified little precious 4 year old daughter. I was worried she'd kick and the needle would come out too soon, or worse, rip, but it didn't. I was surprisingly calm and giving the actual shot wasn't so bad.

I called Matt, told him this was an emergency, and to come home immediately to take Amelia to the hospital. She didn't have any major symptoms, so I didn't call 911. I then called her doctor and got through, and she had Matt sit outside the emergency room with Amelia for a few hours.

Things are fine now, but I'll still go in and check on my sleeping angel. What a traumatic evening. No matter how difficult and hectic life becomes, some things can make your head spin and still stop everything else in a flash.

And when there's a moment of peace, I kneel down and thank my Heavenly Father for my precious blessings.


Deborah said...

Kathryn, where do I start? I'm so so sorry that you had to go through that. I can't imagine having to give your daughter a shot like that.
When I first read the heading I was worried that something had happened at Grandmas party. That River had shared something with Amelia or something had rubbed off of her. I washed River's hands Monday night and a few things she touched, but you never know.
By the way I'm going to be in charge of food (keeping meals balanced and what not) at next years reunion so we can make sure that there are plenty of Amelia safe foods available. And things she'd actually like to eat.
You are so awesome and amazing.

K said...

Thanks, Debbie. You are such a fabulous and very thoughtful cousin. I love you! Amelia had a great time with River at Gram's party.

Ron and Jessica said...

That's not cool :( Glad everything is ok again. Miss you!