On Saturday we were back at the emergency room with our daughter after a less-than-pleasant ambulance ride two days before. The dreaded hives had reappeared, and unaware that this was not a continued reaction to a peanut allergy but simply a virus, we sped to the hospital in fear of the onset of anaphylactic shock.
The doctor sat down with us, explained that the return of the hives was probably indicative of a virus (especially since we never found any evidence that Clara had come into contact with peanuts), and gave her a little Benadryl.
Within the hour, we were on our way.
It’s interesting how quickly your attitude in regards to parenting can shift.
On Friday, we were panicked. Terrified. Out of our minds. I wanted to stick my daughter in a hermetically-sealed bubble and never allow her to come into contact with the world again. I yelled at emergency room doctors when they told me that the ambulance hadn’t arrived yet. I set an alarm that night and woke up every hour, on the hour, to check on her and ensure that she was okay. I considered sleeping on the floor beside her crib.
On Saturday we left the emergency room as changed parents. At least I did.
Still vigilant in terms of Clara’s peanut allergy and still wary of her breaking out in full body hives again, my attitude in terms of the hermetically-sealed bubble and the round-the-clock observation was gone. I had learned a great deal during the two days that I feared for my daughter’s safety.
Kids get sick. Viruses exist. Peanut-allergic kids sometimes have reactions to peanuts. In almost every case, things turn out okay. When they don’t, it’s usually the result of underestimating the problem and not reacting quick enough.
Having dealt with my bee sting allergy for most of my life, I know I would never underestimate the dangers of anaphylactic shock. My wife acted almost instantaneously to what she perceived to be a peanut allergic reaction, and I know that I would have done the same.
That’s all you can do. Almost every time, things will turn out fine.
But living with my allergy has also taught me that you cannot live in constant fear. Life in bubble isn’t any fun.
Instead of driving home and resting for the remainder of the day, we went to a folk festival instead. An hour after being examined by an emergency room doctor, this is what my girl was doing.
Thank goodness for a little perspective.