Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Hive Saga

If you read GNMParents then you may remember from a couple of weeks ago that I have a son with severe allergies. On the afternoon of July 4th our family was enjoying a quiet day at home. I was sitting next to my son on the couch when he started saying he was itchy. He took off his shirt and I watched as first dozens then hundreds of welts spread across his torso. Hives.

Oh, I've forgotten an integral part of the story. This was my other son. The one with no known food allergies. The one who eats peanut butter. The one who (wouldn't but) could eat haddock.

I dosed him with Benadryl and put a call into the doctor. We went through a long list of "could it be"'s and decided it was:

a. Progresso chicken soup
b. Something other than Progresso chicken soup
c. A complete fluke.

The antihistamine kicked in and Clay appeared to be fine. The hives cleared completely and he had no other symptoms. We actually headed to the neighbors for a swim.

That night Clay woke up at 11 pm completely covered in hives. They weren't extremely red, but they were raised and plentiful. He was itching like mad. I gave him another dose of the big B and put him in a baking soda bath. We were up for an hour or 2 and then he slept again. When he awoke we gave him some more B and he proceeded to upchuck it into the toilet. We put in another call to the doctor and after a bit gave him some more medicine. The hives were growing in size and in number. My boy was scratching away. He spent a good portion of the day in an oatmeal bath as sat and I watched. The Benadryl was providing minimal relief and it was only lasting an hour or 2. The doc called in a script. This proved to be even less effective that the B.

By 5 pm the hives had gotten even worse and we headed to the urgent care clinic. It's about a 20 minute drive and I did my best to distract my boy who was writhing and screaming intermittently. The folks at the clinic were wonderful. They pushed us in immediately. The doctor decided an oral dose of steroids were called for. But first Clay needed to eat something. A tiny bite of graham crackers and a couple sips of juice went down and came back up immediately.

When the doctor mentioned epinephrine... as in Epi-Pen... I swallowed my panic. They administered a shot of steroids and the epinephrine. Within 10 minutes Clay's skin was clearing and he was acting himself. He scarfed down a Popsicle and talked my ear off as we waited for him to be discharged. A few minutes later we were on our way home, prescriptions for an antihistamine and oral steroids in hand. I was sure we were over the hump. We got home and Clay ate a big dinner and headed to bed. I breathed a sigh of relief and went to bed myself.

Then Friday came. From the time he woke up until he went to bed that night Clay sat curled on my lap. Except when he got up to vomit... which was about every 20 minutes. The hives were back, although less prominent and certainly less itchy. He couldn't keep anything down. We resorted to teaspoons of Gatorade given in 5 minute intervals. He tolerated about 4/5 doses before heaving it up again. 24 hours passed without food or liquid. Hello... can you spell dehydration? The evening came and I spoke to the doctor yet again. Together we decided to let him go to sleep but that we would bring him into the office in the morning. I checked on him 100 times during the night and he was resting well. When he awoke he was completely clear of hives and hungry! Hungry! Hungry! No hives + hungry= relief.

It turned out to be premature relief-ulation. Within an hour or so, the hives came back. We headed to the doctor's office (about 45 minutes away) and by the time we arrived he was almost as bad as it had been on Thursday. Still swallowing my panic, I talked to the doctor again about causes (no one knows) and treatments. We gave him the antihistamine and 1/2 dose of the steroids in the office, under the observation of the doctor. He immediately felt crappy and curled up into a ball on my lap. He slept.

We headed home with instructions to continue the steroids and the antihistamine for 3 days. If the vomiting returned or if the hives became worse we were to call. We stopped for a slushie on the way home. I'd've bought him anything he wanted. I was so bloody sick of being helpless. I was so bloody tired of wondering if I was doing the right thing. I would've bought him anything.

For the next day the hives came back sporadically as did the nausea. But he was himself for long periods of time. And though his tummy seemed upset, he was able to keep the little food he ate down.

He's still taking the steroids. This is day 1 without the antihistamine. He is back to pestering his siblings and running all over the place. It's beautiful.


WannaBe5Ker said...

POOR LITTLE BUDDY! What the heck is triggering it??? Oh, you poor things:-(

slouching mom said...

That sounds totally terrifying.