I'm usually pretty good in a crisis. I keep calm, at least on the outside, and help others to manage the situation. Maybe it's a teacher thing - taking control and telling everyone else what to do. Well this past weekend, my 'cool in a crisis' label wasn't simply shaken, it was smashed. I can safely say I've never been so frightened and unhinged before in my life. And why is it that when something happens to our children, it's ultimately ourselves we worry about?
Sunday evening, my husband was getting things started for dinner as I sat down to give baby Jack is his dinner. I had been meaning to give him egg for ages and now that he is over 7 months old, he can handle a few lumps and bumps. I scrambled a fresh egg and had little success getting him to eat. He was happy to taste, but I guess the new flavour and texture put him off. He would've had less than 1/4 tsp of egg so I gave up and finished dinner with some of his favourites.
Just as I was wiping Jack's face at the end of dinner, I noticed that it was very red. I quickly showed my husband and before our eyes, the rash was spreading and small swollen whitish lumps started appearing. This is when I lost it completely and am oh so glad Tim was home. First I was going to ring the GP helpline, but couldn't get my fingers to dial the correct numbers. But as the reaction seemed to be getting worse we just jumped in the car and headed for the hospital.
I got in the back seat with the baby, and as we are in a new city, tried to work out which was the closest emergency room for children. I'm trained in first aid and as a teacher have had extensive anaphylaxis training, but on school children and adults, not babies. I didn't know what to look for or what to do. In the car Jack didn't seem bothered at all by the reaction he was having. Then he started blowing foamy bubbles from his mouth. I'd never seen him do that before so it started me freaking all over again even though it is perhaps completely normal baby behaviour. A quick call to 000 (Australian equivalent of 911) and a wonderful paramedic was giving me excellent support and reassurance.
When we got to the hospital Jack's face rash had gone down quite a lot. Over the next hour or so he vomited 5 - 6 times and the rash spread to his back and shoulders. The hospital staff were wonderful and caring as most medical professionals are, and the reaction was soon under control with some steroids and antihistamines. Three hours of observation later, a very tired little boy and his shaken parents went home. I left the hospital feeling completely empty. The massive adrenaline rush had left me with a downer that lasted well into this week. No wonder my poor baby was fussy all of the following day.
From here we are going to see a paediatric immunologist for further testing. According to our GP a subsequent exposure would produce a more severe reaction so I've stocked up on phenergan and have taken on a new life's mission to keep my baby boy away from egg. As always, I have been amazed at everyone's kind support and excellent advice from other parents of allergy sufferers. And without our lovely Canberra cousins coming to the hospital for support - Tim and I would not have eaten that night!