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Friday, 7 August 2009

Epipens & Emergency

Before I continue... Lisa, you are NOT the reason this happened! (My good friend came by for a visit yesterday and was terrified that she would be "one of those 'friend' comments" on my blog regarding an Ethan reaction... hee hee hee. She left saying "I'll be checking your blog to make sure I didn't cause some sort of reaction!"

So Lisa, I am 99.9% sure that the following story has nothing to do with your visit!!

Ethan has been irritable most of today but those days seem to come and go without it being anything out of the ordinary. I started introducing carrots a few days ago so I figured his irritability had to do with a new food.

However, this afternoon, Ethan woke up from his nap still difficult to console. I fed him little bite size pieces of avocado, which he has LOVED for a few months now. I was getting ready to leave for a grocery shop and was going to hand him off to Duane. But first, I asked Duane to take the frozen pickerel out and set it to thaw in the sink. It came time to trade off so Duane then continued feeding Ethan... with his hands... although he did wash them under hot soapy water.

Next, Duane was rinsing out Ethan's washcloth to wash his little avocado-messy face. Being distracted by Ethan on his hip, Duane was not sure if a corner of the washcloth dipped into the water where the fish was thawing so he rinsed it again under hot water before proceeding to clean Ethan's face.

I was checking our cupboard inventory while this was going on until Duane said, "Hey, his face is getting pretty red."

When I looked over at Ethan, my heart nearly stopped. He was getting increasingly upset and scratching at his nose and eyes and mouth which were covered in white hives over red swollen skin. Oh my dear God!!!

Keep in mind that I have recently conversed with a woman who founded a support group for parents of highly allergic children and she shared with me the fact that she missed giving her daughter an epipen once because she wasn't sure of ALL the symptoms... she only knew of the problems breathing. Well, apparently at that point, it may be too LATE to administer an epipen.

So I have been spending the last few weeks since that conversation FEARING the first time I would have to use Ethan's. Will I know when it's supposed to be given? What if it's not needed and I pump my little baby with adrenaline and send his heart racing or overload his adrenal glands or liver for nothing? What if I don't give it in time? What if I miss the signs??? What if... what if... what if...

So here is my precious son, worse than I have ever seen him before and my heart is racing as though I were the one pumping the adrenaline...

Dear God... is this it?

Thankfully, we called Duane's sister who works in an allergy clinic. After a few questions, she strongly advised administering the epipen and rushing to emergency. But I am supposed to be picking up my big girls as this is our Friday switch... who will look after Anika? Can they get here immediately or do we take her with us to emergency until someone can come and get her to bring her back home? Do I try to pack something to eat because we can't eat anything that hasn't been made with our dietary restrictions and it is nearly supper time?

Too many thoughts... not enough time...

I start to cry because I am scared. I don't know what I am doing, if it is right, if it is wrong. I am just scared and I can't hide it as the tears are flowing and Anika is looking at me concerned. Duane is calm as always as he holds Ethan.

"Get the Epipen NOW!" No please, no "ok, hun?" no time for anything other than alarm.

Duane opens the package and we quickly re-read the instructions. Ethan is on his lap as he sticks it next to his little inner thigh (should be outer thigh to avoid the artery... we later learned) and the "ping" of the pin going into him went off. His poor little face startled as he began to scream while Duane held the pin in place for several seconds.

I am wailing right there with him and Anika is looking at this thing in her little brother's leg. "Essan's cwying!" Yeah, and mommy, too!

Duane pulls the epipen away and blood trickles down from Ethan's thigh. I am at the mercy of whatever is running through his blood now... and God's grace. Duane's niece was at our house within minutes to take care of Anika as we rushed to emergency.

You know, I couldn't help the tears as I watched Ethan the whole drive there thinking "Is this how I will lose you someday? Someone won't be careful? Or it will just be too much for your body? Dear God almighty, just grant Ethan healing and strength, PLEASE! I don't want to know the pain of losing a child, please God. I have had enough of that in knowing Isabel has surpassed her life expectancy."

At which point I am reminded of the irony of doing this familiar run with a whole other child now. We later had to pick up Isabel and she joined us in the observation area. The emergency nurse recognized Isabel and we chuckled at the irony of her NOT being the patient this time.

We chuckled because the stress of the event had passed, Ethan's heart rate was finally slowing down, his oxygen sats were great, the hives went away almost immediately after administering the epipen and only came back mildly later.

So we are finally just back home now from the hospital. Ethan is sleeping, Isabel is sleeping, Duane and I are exhausted, Melina is at a friend's house for a sleepover.

Man I miss the days when Friday nights were spent lounging or going out with friends... not sitting in an emergency room for six hours of observation time (I didn't know that's how long they like to keep a patient post administering an epipen).

I sure hope you are all spending your Friday night doing something FUN or RELAXING and soak it up for our sake, please! I miss feeling like life is normal. Maybe it's just not ever meant to be normal? And who measures it anyways? I guess to me, crisis with my children IS "normal".

Thanks for your prayers and for being part of this with us. In those panicked moments, would you believe I think of you all out there and the prayers that have been gaining momentum and the ARMY of love behind my little ones? It is a much needed strength and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Cindy said...

Oy Vey! That sounds very traumatic. I am so sorry about that. How is the little guy feeling now?

Your Cousin said...

(oops the above comment was from your cousin, Cindy.)

Lisa Vogt said...

Glad that everything worked out! And that we've been invited back!