My daughter’s first ambulance ride

My daughter took her first ride to the hospital in an ambulance today after having an allergic reaction to what we assume was peanuts.

We determined that Clara is allergic to peanuts more than a year ago, but as far as we can tell, she did not come into any contact with peanuts today. But when my wife picked her up at preschool this afternoon, her arm was covered in hives. After confirming with her teachers that she hadn’t eaten any peanut products, Elysha assumed that the hives had been caused by poison ivy and proceeded to drive home, only to discover en route that her condition was worsening rapidly.

This is where my wife gets impressive.

Driving by a construction site, Elysha pulled the car off the road and alerted a police officer on traffic duty that she had an emergency. The cop told her that he would call for an ambulance, but as he said this, Elysha spotted an ambulance driving by and flagged it down. Clara was receiving treatment moments later.

Being allergic to bees and having suffered an anaphylaxis more than once (the first time leading to momentary death), I know how terrifying these situations can be. I can’t tell you how remarkably well Elysha handed it, especially considering she had our four-week old son with her at the same time. 

When I received a call from the police officer informing me that my wife and children were on the way to the hospital, I had just stepped out of the shower. After hanging up the phone, I had to dry off, get dressed and drive two miles more than the ambulance did in order to get to the hospital, yet somehow I arrived nearly twenty minutes ahead of them.

Granted I ignored every stop sign, red light and posted speed limit along the way, nearly killing myself at least twice, but still, I’d like to think the ambulance would’ve reached the emergency room before me. After all, the guy driving the ambulance started his trip with clothes on. I did not.

I also find it slightly disconcerting to see that Clara is taking after her father. I have traveled by ambulance to the hospital at least a dozen times in my life, including twice before the age of three, once after splitting my head open in my bedroom and another time after swallowing a bottle of paregoric. Clara has now her first ambulance ride at the age of three, which is relatively early to experience such a thing, and I am hoping it is her last for a long, long time.

To her credit, Clara handled the evening well. Though she was initially inconsolable in the ambulance and difficult to treat, she was calm by the time they arrived to the emergency room, and thanks to an injection of Benadryl, her hives were almost entirely gone. We spend almost three hours at the hospital before being released, and other than complaining about being hungry (which I did as well), she couldn’t have been braver or better behaved.

She even made good use of her time while we waited for the doctors to determine what should be done next.

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