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Two summers, two kids, two stings, no anaphylaxis!

Submitted by on Monday, 9 June 2008 No Comment

Little Guy was having a happy-go-lucky day today until he slipped past me and bounced into the back yard bare footed. He had almost reached the promise land of the swing set when he dropped to the grass and wailed.

I figured his foot had managed to find a sticky — I’m not exactly a gardener, with a yard best described as occasional patches of green breaking up the burs and bare spots.

He’d managed to find a sticky, all right, courtesy of a bee.

Waiting to see what happened next was the most nerve-racking two hours I’ve spent in years.

I hadn’t been that scared since feeding Little Guy his first egg. I’d gingerly spoon ever-increasing dabs into his mouth each night, Benadryl and Epi-Pen on hand, silent apologies running through my head. “I’m so sorry if I’m about to poison you, baby.”

Turned out that, unlike his older brother, Little Guy wasn’t allergic to egg. He hasn’t developed allergies to anything so far, though he’s given us a few scares. Persistent eczema and occasional splotches after a bout of enthusiastic corn-muffin scarfing when he was barely 1. Hives after gorging himself on a fruit tray at Big Guy’s birthday party last summer.

The bee thing terrified me, though.

I was anaphylactic to stings as a child. I stepped on one hidden in the clover in our front yard when I was 6 or 7. My foot instantly doubled, my face quickly bloated, and then I was gasping for breath. It’s a feeling you never forget.

Big Guy made it through his first bee encounter last summer at preschool. A teacher called to tell me he’d been stung on the wrist but there wasn’t any swelling. Did I want her to give him Benadryl? Not yet, I replied, but keep an eye on him.

Little Guy, though, immediately puffed up like a blow fish today. He didn’t want me to touch his foot, even to finish removing the stinger. Forty-five minutes of tearful sobbing later, I succeeded in extracting it.

Then he coughed. Nothing new there — his tonsils are the size of the Super Dome, so he does that a lot. But I was convinced his throat was closing.

Next he fell asleep, which spawned another maternal freak-out. That’s what Big Guy did when he had his anaphalyxis attack with egg — simply laid down on the floor and went to sleep. The fact that it was Little Guy’s normal nap time did nothing to calm my paranoia. I checked every five minutes to make sure he was breathing.

By the time he woke, our two-hour anaphalyxis window had passed. Whew!

Other than walking on his left heel because his foot remained swollen, he was all right the rest of the day.

But I realize the next time can be different — allergies don’t always surface with the first exposure. And his reaction to the sting was much more extreme than Big Guy’s.

Such is the life of an allergic kid’s parent. The fear never quite leaves.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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