On Friday the day that I had been dreading for almost the entire year arrived. That was the day that we were scheduled to take Nick to see the allergist. From the moment he had the terrible reaction to the egg way back in February (yes, it took us until the end of June to get the referral in place and get into the allergy clinic) I knew that we would have to go to an allergist and have him tested. I think what upset me so much about the whole thing is that I went to an allergist when I was about 8. They were trying to find out if an allergy was what was making me so sick, so they tested a lot of different things. What I mostly remember was that the scratches all over my back hurt really bad and I didn’t want to put Nick through that. Still I knew that taking Nick was important and something that had to be done.
I was happy to find Nick already awake when I went up to get him Friday morning. He hadn’t fallen asleep really early the night before, so I had been afraid that getting up early was going to be hard. By the time I was ready to get Nick we didn’t have a lot of time left, so it was a quick down to business morning. Nick got dressed, we ate, and then we left. I had wanted us to leave by 7:30, but it was more like 7:40. Luckily traffic wasn’t too bad and we made it to the clinic on time.
We had one of the first appointments of the morning, so we were lucky and didn’t have wait to long to be taken back, or to have the doctor come in. Things actually went very smoothly since I knew exactly how and when everything happened. The doctor agreed that he definitely thought it sounded like an allergy, but he did say that it could be a reaction from the sinus infection that Nick had been getting over at the time. He didn’t think that was likely what happened, but he said we would know the reason for the reaction if the test was negative. I really wanted them to test Nick for a peanut allergy as well (it’s common for kids with egg allergies to have a nut one too even though having one doesn’t mean you’ll have the other), but the doctor said we shouldn’t do it since there is a high false positive rate. His suggestion was to just continue avoiding them until 2 when Nick would be able to verbalize any reaction he might be having to them.
After the doctor left I took Nick out into the hall to walk. He had been very fussy when the doctor was in the room, so I thought it would be good to let him move. We hadn’t been walking long though when the nurse told us that she would be right in to administer the scratch test, so back into the room we went. Nick was not happy about having to sit back down, but he did pretty well with the scratches. It didn’t hurt that we had a great nurse who was fantastic with Nick.
When the nurse was done administering the test she told me to take Nick back out in the hall, hold his hand, and walk him around so he’d leave his arm alone. Well, she couldn’t have said anything else that would have made Nick happier. We walked the halls up and down. Around the six minute mark Nick’s arm started itching him though, and it started getting difficult to keep him from itching. After a few minutes of keeping him from itching I headed him towards our room so I could check our time (they give the the test twenty minutes to work, so outside every room is a timer that the nurses start when they start the test so they don’t have to remember when each person is done). Nick’s timer said that we were around the ten minute mark. The nurse saw me looking and said to bring Nick back into the room and she’d check his arm.
Well, Nick was only half way through the testing time, but he had already had quite a reaction to the test. The nurse said that we didn’t need to keep testing any longer. She got a little ruler out, measured the size of the reaction spots (they looked like big mosquito bites), and then wiped Nick’s arm clean. When she did that Nick had almost immediate relief from the itching. She then left and we waited for the doctor to return.
When Nick’s doctor returned he brought the head doctor with him. They told us that Nick did test positive for an egg allergy and that they would be giving us a prescription for 2 packs of epi-pen juniors. They also discussed Nick’s Allergy Action plan and how any one taking care of him should respond to an allergic outbreak. The doctor told us that the important thing is to remember that this won’t ruin Nick’s life and that we shouldn’t avoid lots foods because of it. He said that he though Nick looked great and he was pleased to see that he wasn’t malnourished due to the fact that we had to cut out certain foods due to the allergy. The head doctor also reminded us that this is a common food allergy for kids to grow out of, but he added that for reasons they don’t yet understand they are finding that fewer and fewer children are growing out of food allergies.
After the head doctor left Nick’s main doctor went over some more information with us. He showed us a model epi-pen and how to use it. He also told us that he wanted us to take Nick across the hall to have his blood drawn. With a sample of his blood they can run tests that tell them which specific enzymes in an egg that Nick is allergic to. Certain egg enzymes break down during baking, so knowing which ones he’s allergic to will allow us to know if he can eat foods with eggs baked into them or not.
As soon as we finished checking out at the allergist’s (and made our follow-up appointment for a year from now) we headed across the hall for Nick’s blood draw. This was probably the longest part of the whole morning because we had to wait a long time and Nick was done being patient. Finally they called us back. Nick was not happy when he had to sit down, but he was as quiet and as calm as could be while they drew his blood. He didn’t even make a sound. Plus they didn’t get his vein right away, so they had to move the needle around to find it. He just watched the whole thing and said, “huh.”
Finally our trip to the allergist was over. Nick had done really well, and we found out what we needed to know. Now we wait for the phone call with the results from the blood tests. We have everything crossed hopping Nick can have foods with baked eggs. It would make avoiding egg much easier.