One of the best parts of being a mom is creating new family traditions. Prior to my son’s birth, Memorial Day was for barbecues and laughing with friends. It was great to have the day off. Everything shifted with my son’s arrival. Instead of burgers and beer, we started a new tradition of racing to the emergency room.
“He’s not breathing,” I screamed, as I scooped up my son and ran down the stairs. I found the Epi pen and quickly treated him. Even with the epinephrine, he was barely breathing. We rushed him to the hospital for treatment. When he finally started breathing on his own, I was so relieved.
“What can we give him to stop these attacks? I asked the doctor. “They are getting worse!” They sent us home with a nebulizer and referral to an allergist. With the nebulizer, we were better able to treat the wheezing before it would turn into a full blown allergy attack. In order to get him to put the nebulizer tip in his mouth, we told him that it would give him special powers.
In fact, the Albuterol had the power to make him crazy. He would run in circles, making himself wheeze and vomit the length of the house. We invented a new family game called Stop the Toddler. My husband would take one end of the living room and I would take the other. We would gradually move in on the target until we could tackle him and make him sit still. During one such game, he broke loose and ran face first into the refrigerator, bouncing back and then continuing to run. It was like watching Wiley Coyote.
Looking for a way to change this family tradition, we went to an allergist. “There isn’t much we can do at this age,” the allergist said. “Until he is 4, you need to keep him away from his allergens. We can draw his blood and test it for allergies.”
After 6 vials and one terrified 2 year old, we met with the allergist again. “His immune system is still forming, so the test was inconclusive. I recommend that you keep him away from anything that you are allergic to.” He continued, “to be safe, I would keep him away from nuts as well. I find most of the children with allergies have some kind of nut allergy.” So, along with avoiding wheat, dairy and soy (which he had vomited back at us), we made sure that he did not eat any nuts.
Also, since he seemed to have a severe reaction to the pollen in May, we built a play land in our house. Instead of going to the park, we created a park in our living room. By isolating him and keeping him in a bubble, we reduced his attacks and he stabilized for a while.
So, we thought that we could try to go to a barbecue again. Within minutes he started coughing so hard from the mucus in his lungs that he vomited the mucus and his food all over us. In our family, this is called getting slimed. Apologizing to our friends and cleaning up the mess, we went home for another game of Stop the Toddler.
Hoping to create new Memorial Day traditions, we have started a new round of testing and treatment for his allergies. Keep your fingers crossed. If we get our wish, he will barf next year from too many hotdogs and not the pollen.