Tuesday, 29 April 2014

A blood test, a food challenge and a loooong day.

On Friday we had a double appointment in Children's Ward at the hospital.


Fraser was to get blood taken so that they can test him for allergies before he starts to wean properly and Calum (11) was to have a wheat challenge.


The letter we were sent with the appointment times said that we should expect to be in for about 3 hours so I decided it was probably best to leave David (8) and Alasdair (4) with their Aunty for the morning. James (14) had left with dad earlier in the morning, as they were heading away to a Youth Conference for the weekend.


So, at about 9.45 we arrived in Children's Ward.


It was the first time any of the boys has ever been for a food challenge. Usually the skin prick tests (or blood tests when they are younger) have shown a severe enough allergy to not need any double checking with a food challenge. When Calum had his skin prick tests a few months ago he still reacted to wheat but the doctor thought that the size of the lump that came up was slightly smaller than when he was previously tested. I wasn't quite so sure! She also said that sometimes wheat can show a false positive and suggested we try a wheat challenge, which would be a more accurate gauge.


So, there we were, settling in for a few hours at the hospital.


The nurse got Calum all weighed up in case he would need any medication and then checked all his vitals - blood pressure, heart rate, temperature. Then the test began with a tiny drop of Weetabix on his lips. She then took myself and Fraser to another room to take some blood from him.


Poor little man. He wasn't too impressed by the ordeal, but at least she got enough blood from him on the first attempt.


We returned to Calum, who was happily reading the Guiness Book of Records and showing no signs of reaction to the first stage of the test.


A food challenge is made up by gradually increasing the amounts of food given by tiny amounts, every 15 minutes or so, with vitals checked before each next stage is given. So Calum went from a drop on his lip to having the spoon dipped in Weetabix then placed on his tongue, to a quarter teaspoonful , to a half teaspoonful , to a teaspoonful, to two teaspoonful.....
It was all going quite well.
Just after he had been given the two teaspoonsful, I looked over at him and saw a blotch on his cheek. Then another couple on his forehead. Then he began to itch his head and feel some more in his hair. Just then the nurse came in and he had erupted in hives. There were some on his chest and back too. He still felt fine though, his airways hadn't been affected the way that they do when he has dairy. He was just very itchy and blotchy!
Still, it was definitely time to stop the challenge and get some antihistamine into him!
He was checked over by one of the paediatricians, who said he would need to stay in for 4 hours observation since he had had an allergic reaction. That would bring us to 4pm. I texted my brother's wife who said the other boys were fine. Then I went to the hospital to buy Calum a football magazine. There is only so much of the Guiness Book of Records you can read in one sitting.
By now Fraser was having a wee snooze and so I got to catch up on my crochet memory blanket for a while.


At about 3.45 a different doctor came to check on Calum. He was holding Fraser, who had been awake for a while, and when she looked at him she asked was he getting treatment for his eczema! I replied that yes he was, and that this was it much, much better. He did get a bit red and itchy with the heat in the hospital but really he didn't look bad at all!


Anyway, she said that Calum needed to stay in for 6 hours observation and not 4, which would take us to 6pm! Poor Calum. He has such a patient nature but I could see him crumble a little when she said this. We thought we were only 15 minutes from freedom and now we had another 2 hours to wait! He had felt absolutely fine since about an hour after the antihistamine was taken and he really had run out of things to do.


I'm not complaining about it though, as they were keeping a good eye on him. The allergen was still in his system and it's not unknown for an allergic reaction to return. I'd rather that happen in hospital than at home.


Playing with Fraser and chatting about football (amongst other things) passed the next two hours. Thankfully I actually enjoy watching football too so didn't need to feign interest in it!


Finally at 6.15 we were allowed out!


We went to get the other boys from my brother's house and my sister in law had also asked us to stay for dinner, which was great as it's surprisingly exhausting spending 8 1/2 hours in hospital!


So, Calum will just continue on the same diet as before - wheat free, dairy free & egg free.


I'm thankful for the care the medical staff took of him and that he was OK.

I'm thankful that both he and Fraser have the same patient nature.

And I'm thankful for close family nearby to help out and look after my slightly less patient boys.

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