Saturday, September 18, 2010

Donate Life

Image from here
Today, our family is rejoicing. A much loved family member today received the gift of life from an anonymous stranger: My husband's beautiful Aunt endured 9 hours of surgery today and is the grateful recipient of new lungs. Truly a gift of life.

Our entire family is rejoicing in this amazing gift we have all been given today.

But also in our hearts today are thoughts for another family, a family in grief and sorrow at the loss of their loved one. We have only thanks and immense gratitude for this anonymous family, who, in their time of grief, were able to donate their loved one's organs to give new hope to so many families. We are eternally grateful, and our heartfelt thanks cannot be adequately expressed in words.

Have you made a decision to donate your organs? Have you talked to your family about your wishes? Please do, your decision could save many lives. Visit DonateLife for more information about organ donation.

Don't take your organs to Heaven. Heaven knows we need them here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A series of unfortunate events

Hhhmm, I have just realised it's been a long time between blog posts for me, and there seems to be no way of gently easing back into it. So I'm just going to jump back in with both feet.

We have had an eventful few weeks here at Chateau Dance For Cheese. We seem to have been suffering a constant stream of winter ailments, including the usual winter flus, colds, coughs and me being incapacitated by a horrid chest infection. The weather has been grey and miserable (although the rain has been glorious for the gardens), I'm cold and tired and uninspired, so there has been precious little crafting happening here of late.

But the most unfortunate event occured here this week when we discovered (the hard way) that my dear little Cheeseboy has a severe peanut allergy.

I was making crackers with peanut butter for the Boy Genius on Wednesday (his favourite snack) and Cheeseboy asked for one. He had never had peanut butter before, but as he is now 18 months old I decided it was probably the right time. My other two children eat peanut butter regularly and we have no history of allergies in our family.

I watched him carefully as he ate the cracker with peanut butter. No reaction. Great, thought I smugly, just as I suspected, no allergies here. What I didn't realise, having never really been educated about allergies, is that allergic reactions are not always instant.

About 10 minutes later I noticed that Cheeseboy's little cheeks were quite red. I did think it was odd, but didn't for a second think that it might be to do with the peanuts.

Another 10 minutes later and he began suddenly vomiting, and I noticed a bright red rash appearing on his face, and slowly spreading down his neck.

At this point, I still did not realise he was having an allergic reaction, and in fact, I couldn't fathom what was going on at all.

I rang Nurse On Call for advice (gosh that's a fantasic service). Whilst dialling, I stripped off his clothes and saw the rash had already spread to his tummy. His face was now completely covered in angry red welts. As I was describing his symptoms to the nurse, I realised it was an allergic reaction to the peanut butter. His eyes were swelling and puffy and red, and he was quite distressed. The nurse advised me to take him immediately to the Emergency Department at our local hospital (less than 1km from here).

At the ED they told me that whilst his throat was irritated and slightly swollen, his tongue was not swollen and his airways were clear. The doctor immediately treated him with antihistamines and steroids, which took about an hour to bring his symptoms under control.

We stayed in the hospital for 7 hours so they could observe him and make sure he was fine. We were sent home with antihistamines and steroids, and advised to have him seen by an Allergist as soon as possible to find out if he will need an epipen. The doctor also told me that if he accidently ingests peanuts again it is likely that his next reaction will be more severe, probably affecting his airways. This was one scary day.

We are waiting to see a specialist, and being extremely careful about what our little Cheeseboy eats in the meantime.

Interestingly, Cheeseboy has been suffering from a red rash on his face, for about 6 months. We have tried many many things to get rid of it, we weren't sure if it was eczema, a dribble rash, a teething rash, or maybe caused by his dummy? After our trip to the hospital and all the medications he was given, his rash has completely disappeared. Which makes me think it was possibly a reaction to traces of peanuts he has been ingesting in regular food - we eat lots of food which state on the labels 'may contain traces of peanuts'.

So now, I'm trying to get my head around how to manage a child with a potentially life threatening allergy. I'm trying to retrain myself to think about food in an entirely new way, checking labels carefully, asking about ingredients, and making sure everyone around us is aware of the situation, so hopefully my dear little Cheeseboy will not have to suffer through another allergic reaction.