Allergic Reactions

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

March 24, 2011


Levi napping with Grandpa Chris from our last Michigan vacation, where, thankfully, we avoided the ER/urgent care. Image by alexis22578 via Flickr.

It started with a phone call. My husband calling down stairs as he noticed the hives all over Levi’s body. It ended with a trip to the  ER in Lansing. Levi had another allergic reaction. This time it was to strawberries, whereas last week was simply doctor visits due to hives reacting to pineapple.

The hives were so bad, it looked like one giant hive. His neck was swollen to the point I was worried about breathing. When I asked him if he could breathe, he said no. So, not knowing where we are or what to look for, I called his Oregon pediatrician after I shoved a Claritin in his mouth. He said his head hurt. He so was swollen. His eyes were shutting they were so swollen. His lips looked a little blue.

Probably one of those trickiest parts in parenting is acting calm when you are really panicked. I was freaking out. I shoved the Claritin in Levi’s mouth because I was freaking out. His head hurt. He was scared. And he wouldn’t take the only pill I had available to help the swelling go down.

He’s okay. We’re now back at Grandma & Grandpa’s.

In the moment, I call Levi’s Oregon pediatrician, the land of where Urgent Care does not work. They tell me that since he’s having an allergic reaction, we should bypass urgent care and go straight to the ER. The problem is, we’re in the sticks. Urgent Care 1) in the sticks and 2) in Michigan is a much wiser choice. Why? Because it actually acts as triage. You know, the whole point of urgent care. Figure out the problem, do some basic diagnosis and/or treatment, and then send the patient to ER for further treatment, if needed.

We were sent to the ER because we got to urgent care 90 minutes before they closed. Their protocol says allergies must be monitored for 6 hours. That’d put us out of the ER at 3am. Not exactly an exciting evening.

They poked and prodded Levi. They stuck oxygen sensors on his finger, they had him laid out on the bed. The hardest part was inserting the IV. Last week, when we were in the pediatricians office, she just handed him the tiny Zyrtec, and he ate it, like candy. When I gave him the Claritin, he could tell I was panicked even if I was trying to act not, so he refused. When getting the IV inserted, the head nurse prepared for the worst so she instructed the tech and me to hold Levi down. Of course, his heart rate spiked (it got up to 175 bpm), he cried, and he was very, very scared. We needed, though, to insert the IV. As they told me when I was pregnant, it’s better to have the bit inserted in case so they don’t have to constantly repoke. I tried to remind him of watching mommy get poked, but I think he was too scared.

I was able to ask him what was going on, and he confirmed he was scared. Right now, he’s playing with the wooden train set Grandma has procurred from various places (namely Ikea). He has also told me that he wants to go home. I don’t blame the kiddo for wanting the familiar after such a traumatic experience. I’m glad it’s over. I hope we don’t have to do this again. I used to think the ER trips were a one-off thing when visiting. But, now, since we’ve done this so often, I think we need to plan on it. We’ve got the vacation check list moving along, after day one. Visit with Peter’s parents: check. Work on a car: check. Meet the new sister-in-law: check. Visit urgent/care-ER & test Michigan’s emergency response: check. Visit Meijer at midnight: check. An amazing checklist to accomplish after just day one. Maybe this means we can relax the rest of the time.

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  1. Olivia

    wow, how scary. I hope you have a relaxing, uneventful rest of the trip! Yikes.

    • Michelle

      So far, today it has been relaxing and uneventful. Thank you!

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