Wednesday, April 13, 2016

an allergic reaction

I have gone back and forth about writing this post, but ultimately decided to just write it. This blog is where I share our little adventures and my thoughts. It's also one of few ways I document things. And since the other week was far from dull and one that I hope to never repeat, I just needed to write it all out. As a fair warning, I'm including pictures of the poor little nugget all rash covered.

About a week or two ago we did a little bit of traveling, we went to Kentucky to visit family and then made a stop or two on the way home because Landon had some meetings. The boys have never slept well when we've traveled. I remember just at Christmas time sleeping was rough - for Emerson, for Oliver, and ultimately, for me too. There's something to be said about the familiarity of you own room and your own bed. Apparently this starts at a young age. So it came as no surprise while we were traveling that the boys didn't sleep that well. Emerson, for once, slept better than he had in a long time while we were traveling, in large part due to the fact that he was sleeping in a special tent we borrowed from one of my sisters, but that warrants a post of it's own - coming soon, I hope. But even still, his sleep was nothing like it is at home. Oliver? He did. not. sleep. It was very rough going. After he woke up in the middle of the night to eat, he fought going back to sleep and the whole time we were traveling, ended up sleeping with me in bed. As our travels continued, so did his awful sleep. But, because we were traveling, that's what I chalked his terrible sleep up to. And even though I'm not proud to admit it, I got pretty frustrated with him in the middle of the night - I just wanted him to sleep!

After a particularly terrible night of sleep, I told Landon at the dark hour of 3:08, that we were going home in the morning. He agreed so we cut our trip short. We were a little sad to skip out on a day of fun we had planned, but at the same time, I was about to loose it. So we packed up early and headed home. And we were so glad we did. Even though it took us all day to get home and it was already past the boy's bed time once we got home, it was good to be back And that night, Oliver slept so much better.

The next day, in between unpacking, playing with the boys, and getting back to our usual routine, I looked down and noticed Oliver needed his ears cleaned out. I cleaned the one and check the other - nothing. We went back to playing and I thought nothing of it. Until, about an hour later when I looked at him and noticed his ear looked like it need to be cleaned out, again. And then I took a closer look and realized, no it does not need to be cleaned, he needs to go to the doctor. It was full of gunk and by the time I got him ready to leave for the doctor, there was even a little bit of drainage. Sorry, Oliver. Landon had been gone all day, but thankfully when I noticed Oliver's ear, he was on his way home. So as soon as he pulled in the drive, I buckled Oliver in and headed to convenient care. When the doctor asked me why we were there he was surprised when I said ear infection with such certainty. Then he looked at Oliver's ear and realized why. It was bad. Thankfully, Oliver was munching on Puffs and Mum Mums the whole time and waving hi to him.

The doctor gave us a prescription for amoxicillin and we left to pick it up at the pharmacy. I gave him his first dose when we got home and put him to bed. The next day I noticed a few little read bumps on his skin, but they were small and in random spots: one on his leg, another on an arm, one on his belly. I was curious about them, but figured it was nothing to worry about and went about our day. The bumps didn't go away, but there weren't a ton of them either, so I didn't worry too much. I did notice Oliver spitting up/throwing up a lot. He never spits up, so when he did several times in a day I was a little concerned but thought maybe it was something I ate. Great parenting, I know.

His afternoon naps had been super short [think 20 minutes tops], which was really unusual for him. I was irritated that he wasn't napping well, but of course played with him while Emerson and Bee napped away and enjoyed the one on one time of quiet play time with Oliver. While playing with him on Tuesday afternoon I noticed more of the bumps and a bigger patch of them on the back of his neck. I inspected his neck more closely and started trying to figure out what it was. Before calling his doctor I decided to look online to see if I could find anything that would be insightful. But no, I was only left more confused. Was it hives? bites? some other rash? Bee's mom came to pick her up before I could call the doctor and once I finally was able to talk to the doctor the office was nearly closed and we were advised to take Oliver to convenient care. Landon had taken the car that day so we waited for him to get home, as soon as he came home, I buckled Oliver in and took him back to the doctor.

The doctor showed concern, listened as I explained his symptoms and told him about when Oliver was sick last month, I had noticed tiny red bumps on his skin. When I'd noticed them, I'd asked his doctor about them and she said she wasn't sure what they were but that they'd go away. They did go away, but they came back. When I told the doctor this and mentioned the fact that Oliver had been throwing up/spitting up a little more than usual [which is never] and I told him I have an allergy to amoxicillin and penicillin, he immediately decided to take Oliver off the amoxicillin and give him Benadryl as needed until the swelling went down. I was more than fine with that, so I stopped by the pharmacy with Oliver on the way home, and then gave him a dose and put him to bed. However, in the midst of all of that, the doctor didn't prescribe an alternative antibiotic for Oliver's ear infection and I didn't think or know to insist that he change it for him.

That night he woke up several times and I gave Oliver Benadryl if enough time had passed, but even with that his swelling wasn't going down, it was just getting worse. In the morning when I went in to get him, his face was so swollen, he looked nothing like himself. Emerson came in the room with me and said, "Why his face so messy?" Oliver looked like he had smeared tomato sauce all over his face. While changing him I noticed that the rash had gotten worse on the rest of his body as well. Because his doctor's office wasn't open yet, I called a nurse line to ask if that was normal or if I should be concerned - because I was very very concerned. She told me it was normal and it was nothing to worry about. Rashes sometimes get worse before they get better she said, and to just give him an oatmeal bath and that will help soothe his skin. Um... yeah. Once we finished eating breakfast and the doctor's office was open, I called to ask Oliver's doctor. I knew this wasn't normal, he looked terrible, and acted like he was just miserable. After talking with one of the nurses in the office, I made an appointment to just take him in and be seen that morning.

Unfortunately I didn't have the option of leaving the big kids at home with Landon as I've done in the past. Our appointment was just forty minutes after I called the nurse, so I rushed around the house to get ready to go. Because yes, with that many little ones it does take all of forty minutes to get ready and leave the house. Oliver's rash continued to get worse and he was more of a puff ball by the time we got to the doctor. As soon as she saw him she said he needed to be put on a steroid to help the swelling and rash go down, the Benadryl alone wouldn't be enough. I was so glad I had taken him in to the doctor. She called a prescription in and I took the littles to pick it up. Of course, the one day I take them out it decided to storm. We got caught in the middle of it and by the time we had picked up a few things in the store and gotten the medicine for Oliver, it was down pouring. Thankfully Oliver was in his carseat and I was able to cover him with blankets. The other two had jackets on so they got pretty wet, but I couldn't just stand at the front of the store waiting for the rain and storm to pass - who knew how long it would last and we needed to get home to get Oliver's medicine in him and for lunch and nap time.

After we finished our lunch and I gave Oliver his new medicine, I put the littles down for naps. When I went to get Oliver up a few hours later, he was so much worse. His whole body was swollen, red, and so very puffy. I called Landon to see what time he would be home and found out he was just waiting for his connection bus to get him. I loaded the boys into the car and picked him up. As soon as he saw Oliver he said, "take him to the ER. Now." And that's where we headed after dropping Landon and Emerson off at home, because we had no idea how long our ER visit would be.

Thankfully the wait wasn't too long and we were seen fairly quickly. Much quicker than the first time we were at the ER a few months ago. By the time the doctor came in to see us, Oliver's swelling had gone down a little bit and he immediately said the name of some fancy medical term for a rash - erythema multiforme. It was a textbook case apparently and could some of the student doctors [since we live in a university town] come and see him please? Oliver was a popular little man that night and had three medical students stop by to check him over. I had no idea. And also at one point, when the doctor was quizzing one of the students on what she thought the rash was, I realized just how incredibly smart doctors are. Just listening to the doctor speak I felt like I was privy to a secret little medical lesson and at the same time so very dumb. I mean, I know doctors are smart, but listening to them use all those medical terms that night just left me in more awe than before. And it's a good thing I'm not a doctor. We were released from the ER a little while later with instructions to continue to watch the rash and if it got much worse or if Oliver's lips turned blue - to bring him back in/call an ambulance right away. Thanks for that comforting last bit of instruction.

Since I was out and Oliver had fallen asleep in the car, I stopped at the grocery store to grab a few things and then we headed home. I put him to bed and prayed that his little body would just continue to heal. The next morning his entire body looked so much worse than it had the night before, but he didn't look more swollen and he was on a steroid and Benadryl and his lips weren't blue. Good right? So we just went about our day. Through the remainder of the day his body was red from head to toe, but he was slowly looking more like himself and the puffiness was fading. He continued to get the steroid and Benadryl as needed for a few days, but after one really rough night [meaning a night of no sleep at all, because that's what the steroid does] and Oliver throwing up randomly throughout the day, I called the doctor to see if that was normal - the throwing up part. The only thing I could think it would be from was the medicine and I hated that he had a rash and was sick. The doctor said as long as the swelling was down we could stop the steroid and just continue with the Benadryl. So that's what we did.

He continued to heal over the next few days and the rash slowly disappeared. Thankfully it never developed into anything more serious than what it was and it was able to fade away with the help of medicine. One thing is certain, Oliver is allergic to amoxicillin and subsequently, penicillin, and will never have either of them again. Chances are if he were to be given amoxicillin again, his reaction would be even worse, which would be really bad seeing as how awful it was this time. During this time I finally asked my mom what my reaction had been when I'd been given amoxicillin when I was little - hives she told me. Both of my sisters and their kids are all allergic to amoxicillin too. So that's a fun family trait.

I am so very thankful the rash is gone and the worst of it calmed down after several days. And I am oh so very thankful for Benadryl and a sweet little baby boy to love on, even on these extra hard days. Above all else, I am so thankful for a God who hears our cries and prayers and cares for us. He is a good good God.


Amy said...

Sweet, sweet boy. I'm so sorry you guys have had such a rough couple of months! Praying for all of you to stay healthy!

Lindsay at Lindsay'sSweetWorld said...

Gosh Hanna, I'm so sorry that you guys are going through all of this. You have been through enough already! I will keep you and your sweet, sweet boy in my prayers.

Courtney said...

OH MY GOODNESS. bless his sweet little heart! And yours, poor mama! How super scary. I'm so glad you know now though and he can avoid it from now on. Oh my!