I was just told that if I write about this experience that things might make more sense to me when I'm finished. I'm not so sure about that but here it is... Yesterday, I drove Will to his pediatrician for a flu shot. This isn't out of the ordinary, except for the fact that they didn't give him one.
Now, let it be known that Will has food allergies AND I have always been very forthcoming about this fact with every doctor, relative, waiter, friend, you name them -- they've been told, Will is allergic to eggs, peanuts and cow's milk. Not only is it practically written on my forehead in big orange letters, it's the first thing I say when I wake up in the morning and the last thing my husband and I tell each other before turning out the lights. I have written about this before, and I have researched the topic beyond belief. There is a huge warning light that goes off when Will walks into the pediatrician's office--ALLERGIC, ALLERGIC.
But a few weeks back, at his 21 month visit, the very same doctor that didn't inoculate yesterday suggested that we go ahead and schedule a visit for his flu shot.
It was between these two visits that I was reading about food allergies when it was brought to my attention that the flu vaccination is grown in eggs. Not just the regular flu, but the new and shiny H1N1 is as well--which was also suggested that he have. So... Will, who was diagnosed with food allergies at 4 months of age, and has had two flu shots in his lifetime to date--was in danger of the shots he had been given? My mind wanders back... when he was born we weren't aware of the allergies, so how could we know? When he was one, we were in the process of packing him up to leave the doctors office when the nurse suggested that "Oh, wait, let us give him a flu shot before you go so you don't have to come back.. " Yeah, okay, good idea.". This was despite the massive red flag waving above Will's head--ALLERGIC ALLERGIC ALLERGIC. We switched doctors a few months later for a whole bucket of other reasons, none having to do with the allergies.
But wait, Will has had the flu shot twice in his lifetime without any allergic reactions.
Now, allergies can develop - and they can decrease. They can huddle in your body for half of your life not doing anything and then suddenly, without warning run amuck causing all kinds of unpleasantries... I know because it happened to me with shellfish. At age two I was riding around on my trike gnawing on a clam - at age 27 I had hives everywhere - from my eyes to the BOTTOMS OF MY FEET, after eating shrimp. When Will ingests eggs or milk, he breaks out in a fit of eczema - we do not know his reaction to peanuts because he's never been exposed, and we are SCARED TO DEATH OF NUTS. This reaction--the rash, we were told by his allergist when he was one, is considered non-life threatening or non-severe. So that should explain why he never reacted to the flu shot and it SHOULD be okay for him to have another.
So, we drove to the pediatrician's office yesterday and it was all fun-in-games until I mentioned my findings to the doctor. ALLERGIC, ALLERGIC - the lights were going off, the chart was right there, and as we discussed how non-severe his allergy was, the nurse left to get the shot ready... I asked, for more fun-in-games, do you have the paperwork from the allergist? She did. And right there - scribbled doctors scroll - "SEVERELY ALLERGIC TO EGGS, MILK and PEANUTS".
For the first time in my life, after hearing unbelievable news - I became dizzy, I fell into the chair, I couldn't breathe. The doctor gave me some water--and after taking a sip I thought, was that water or rubbing alcohol. Will was busy playing with a stethoscope and had NO IDEA that for the past 22 months I have treated his allergies like that of well - anything non-severe. We have eggs and milk in our house. I wash dishes all together. I use the same skillets. I kiss him after eating cheese. I tell people -- its not that bad, he just gets a rash - tra la la. I have convinced myself that he will grow out of these allergies. And upon hearing that his allergist TOLD US ONE THING AND THEN WROTE SOMETHING ELSE IN HIS CHART, my mind left the room and went into the crazy world of WHAT-IFS. Not to mention that his previous and current pediatrician had failed to read the allergists WARNINGS. We are considering our legal options.
Okay, so you've read this whole thing so far... I'll try to keep the afterwards short. Will is fine--absolutely awesome, actually. He didn't get the flu shot and we are taking him to a new allergist in a few weeks AND in his 22 months, none of the WHAT-IFs ever happened.. I, however, am still shaking... and my husband has torn up every phone book he could find. If I had it my way, I would never take him to a member of the medical community ever again but thats just silly-talk. Considering that he never reacted to the flu shot, chances are that his allergies are not severe and the original allergist was just flitting about and wrote the wrong thing down. Other wise the unthinkable would have happened a very long time ago... Right?