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.


  1. My goodness. I was just thinking of you this week and thinking that you hadn't blogged for ages. Poor Cheeseboy, and poor you. That's a really scary thing to have happen.

  2. Oh Gypsy. I feel for you. Our seven year old has peanut allergy. We had a very similar experience. Scary when you are half an hour drive from hospital and the ambulance can take a similar time. The children's hospital allergy dept are great and have helped us a lot. We have since found he has other allergies too, dust pet, mould etc etc. Mainly resulting in coughing and dry skin. Monthly treatments from an osteopath stangely enough are the only thing that keep this under control. We have an epipen for the peanut allergy. I hope you are able to get him tested soon so you know what you are up for. I'm here if you want a chat.

  3. Oh Gypsy! Thank goodness he was ok!! How scary for you all. Hopefully you can see the specialist soon and get that epipen! Thinking of you xox

  4. You must have been terrified. I'm just glad you were close to a hospital ! Hope you get a specialist soon.

  5. Gypsy I am so sorry to hear what a crap week you've had and poor little Cheeseboy.
    Miss L is peanut allergic here too and we have Epipens on hand, luckily there's never been a need to use them.
    I hope all goes well in the coming weeks and you don't have to wait long to see a specialist.
    Give the small cheesey one a hug from us. (and one fr you too!)

  6. Crikey .... scary!!!
    So no more "dance for peanuts" at your place then?
    Hope you manage to get it all sorted out soon.
    Andi x

  7. Oh my goodness - I was wondering about this week too and why you'd been MIA from the blog. Poor little Cheeseboy. I hope you don't have to wait too long to get an appointment with an allergy specialist.

  8. Poor Cheeseboy ... and poor, poor mum! With two anaphylactoids (one big and one small) here at Chez Hoppo Bumpo, I know how worrying food allergies can be.

    I am just relieved that Cheeseboy doesn't have a dairy allergy!

  9. What an awful thing to happen. The nurse on call is an amazing service. You must have been out of your mind at the time. There seem to be so many children with nut allergies around these days. Might be a good idea to introduce all the other allergy foods really slowly and watch the poor little guy. Glad he's okay and the winter colds are over.

  10. Poor Cheesemister. I hope he's feeling better. It must have been damn scary but at least you know to be careful now.
    Ab x

  11. That sounds very stressful and oh so very scary. I'm so glad he is okay and I hope lots of your questions are answered real soon. Take care.

  12. Yowzers! As another smug mother of non-allergic children, I will take the peanut butter thing more seriously from now on (and not dismiss it in my head as some uptight parenting thing, even though I KNOW there are genuine allergic reactions to peanuts!!! As Cheeseboy has just proved.). I do hope you can negotiate all the peanut stuff well... xxx

  13. Oh gosh- you poor thing, how terrifying for you and your family. Poor little Cheeseboy :(

    Hope you get your mojo back soon.


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