Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Allergy and Asthma Saga Part 2 - When an Emergency Room Really is Just a Room

OK, when we last visited our story, we had just returned from our allergist, and were awaiting the arrival of a nebulizer, and looking into a larger medicine cabinet to store all our new pharmaceuticals.

The nebulizer arrived at 5:30. Unfortunately Conor started going down hill at about 5:00. We gave it a test run before determining there was no way we were going to make it through the night without some sort of intervention, so we might as well use this as an opportunity to check out our local little neighborhood hospital.

Although we live close to San Francisco, we really do live in a small rural town. I had heard about the tiny local little hospital before, and decided to trek up the road and give it a whirl. Needless to say, that was an interesting experience. When we got to the "hospital", I entered in search of the emergency room. I had a barking, hacking heaving child who was screaming and crying, but could not find anyone at all in the hospital. It was deserted. The only place I could find that was open was the hospital chapel, and I figured this was not a good sign. Finally some janitor, security guard sort of person heard us, and walked us over to the emergency room. Here the emergency room really is just a room with three beds, and not much else. Off to one side was a machine, covered in a cloth, with a binder attached that said "Code Blue Manuel"on the cover. I guess if something were to happen to Conor I could read the manual and try and use the machine. Maybe there would be a test. The nice janitor man left us, alone in the "emergency room" and in a few minutes a women entered who was apparently the check in person, the triage room, and the emergency room nurse. She also appeared to be the receptionist and answered all the phone calls. Thankfully the receptionist desk was in the same room with the 3 beds and the code blue manual.

After asking if I had taken Conor outside into the cold air to treat his croup - (lady!! it is not croup, it is asthma, I have been to the allergist we know what it is, and don't you think we walked through the cold air to get into here in the first place). Unfortunately Conor's asthma is a bit unusual, in that he has cough variant asthma, but when it gets bad his small airways get inflamed and make it difficult to breath. Most of the time if you listen to his chest, it is pretty clear, and only the specialists can hear the problems in his lungs. I did not really feel like getting into all this with multi purpose emergency room nurse receptionist women, and assured her we had tried all the croup treatments at home first.

Finally she found the ER doctor. I think he had to go off and call him in from home or something, as it took a while for him to show up, and it was not like there were any other patients around. Anyways, I told him the whole story again, and he said he would recommend an oral steroid, but only if we were not planning on doing the skin test on Monday. Uh no... we decided that breathing was more important then testing whether Conor is allergic to eggs.

So Conor got a dose of oral steroids there, and a prescription for yet another medication to add to our collection. ER doctor then recommended we do an x-ray of Conor's lungs and chest, but informed us it would be over an hour since he would have to call in the x-ray technician, and that might take a while.

Since Conor was stabilized, and doing a bit better, I declined that exciting offer, and we headed home hoping to have a quieter night, and happy to have avoided testing out that code blue binder for ourselves.

There is probably one more part to this fascinating and exciting saga, that will even include what morals I have learned from this story.

(And just as a side note, for more interesting fodder later, this night was also the night our new Au Pair was arriving at our home. Mick was picking her up at the airport at the very moment I was wandering around our local little "hospital" - Good Times)

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Multi Part Saga of Asthma and Allergies

Remember where I posted here and here that Conor was going to be skin tested for eggs and get his flu shot. We were taking him off of his anti-histamines for 5 days before that so we could do the tests. I had a dream of square eggs, and hatching babies......

Somehow, things did not go quite as planned. On Wednesday I stopped his allegra. On Wednesday afternoon Natalie came home from school with a cold, and somehow someone let Conor fall asleep on the grass in the backyard for an hour or so. (Don't ask -I was not there and lets just say someone was not thinking clearly - Grass is not for sleeping - especially for very allergic children!!) By Wednesday evening Conor's nose was dripping like a faucet, and he was starting to sneeze and cough. I decided that there was no way he was going to make it 5 days off his medicine now, and gave in and gave him his allegra. Of course - too little too late. We spent the night using every medicine in the house to try and keep him out of the hospital, and control his cough and strider. We were able to make it through the night, and decided we needed a visit to the allergist in the morning.

I love our allergist. She is absolutely wonderful and really knows what she is talking about while at the same time being understanding. Her office staff is not so wonderful. I called the office when they opened to say Conor needed to be seen. The receptionist nicely informed me that there were no appointments available, but I could come in on Friday or Monday. After a bit of arguing with no success, I finally said that if I could not make an appointment, I needed to leave a message for the Dr. and have her call me back. With a bit of an attitude she said that she supposed I could leave a message if I must. So I said, "please tell the Dr that Conor was up all night with croup like coughing and strider, and was having trouble breathing. He is a bit better this morning, but what sort of things can I do to keep him out of the emergency room?" She politely responded, "Why don't you come in right away?"

So we went to the allergist who listened to Conor's chest, gave him a nebulizer treatment, and ordered us a nebulizer to be delivered to our home later that evening. She also gave us lots of medicines to use with the nebulizer and without. I left with a bag full of exciting goodies to add to my at home pharmacy.

So, this is getting long enough. I think I will have to make this ongoing story into a multi part saga of asthma and allergies. Will the nebulizer be delivered in time, and if so will it help ??Will Conor end up in the emergency room with a prescription of oral steroids?? Tune in next time for the exciting next installment of our story.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

AAAHHHHH - A Peanut Pumpkin

Halloween is scarier than ever for those with food allergies, so I thought I would start off the season with something sure to strike fear into the hearts of those with Peanut Allergies -

The Peanut Pumpkin

Ok, don't scream and cry like I did when I first saw this unique squash. Although the outside looks like peanuts, it is in no way related to a peanut, but instead is a type of squash grown in France called the Galeux d'Eysines

It is an outstanding warty variety of squash with sweet orange flesh that is great in soups. The fruits weigh between 5 and 10 kg. For decorative purposes, it should be harvested before overly mature, because the peanut-like warts continue to grow and will cover the entire fruit. This variety does not keep for long, only about 90 days. It is a very old variety and is mentioned in France, in 1885, in the book “Les Plantes Potagères” of Vilmorin-Andrieux. It is also known as "Brodée Galeuse".

Since Halloween is coming, and I seem to now live in the pumpkin capitol of the world, I thought I would share some other unique pumpkins with you, in case the irony of the peanut pumpkin is not your idea of humor or good times at Halloween. So without further adieu, here are some of my favorite unique pumpkins.

The Hungarian Blue

A blue pumpkin - how cool is that??

Marina di Chioggia

Everyone needs a green bumpy pumpkin

Blue Ballet

Blue and shaped like a pear!

Just in case you want to practice carving your own pumpkin before jumping into the real thing, check out this really cool virtual pumpkin carver here at The Pumpkin Simulator.
And Finally............

AAAAHHHHHH!!!!!! - The scariest pumpkin of all, the Mr. Peanut Pumpkin!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

More Scary Nut Products - The Walnut Sponge

We made it back from our fun filled weekend with the grandparents, and I have been so wiped out that this is the first chance I have had to even really get on the computer. I somehow hurt my back last Thursday at a music class with Conor (yes, only I could hurt my back at a music class), and I am recovering from being trapped in a car for 16 hours. Overall the weekend went well. We only ate at McDonalds twice, and had a good meal at Chipotle, Macaroni Grill and Red Robin. Check out my prior restaurant opinions here.

So, since I have been away for a bit, I thought I would include another fascinating scary nut product for everyone to quake in fear of. (We are not allergic to tree nuts, but this is way to close for comfort). That is right

The Walnut Sponge

According to the website, this dazzling new product has many great features including an allergy warning.

Scrubs with natural walnut shells
Sponge made from cellulose, a renewable resource
1 Scrub Sponge 4.5 in x 2.8 in x 0.6 in (11,4 cm x 7,1 cm x 1,5 cm)
Scotch-Brite® scrub sponge made with walnut shells provides effective scouring for tough jobs.
Walnut shells are natural abrasive which won't scratch most household surfaces, including non-stick cookware.
The sponge is made from cellulose, derived from wood pulp, a renewable resource.

Scour pad contains pieces of walnut shells that my be released during use. Product may cause an allergic reaction in individuals having a tree nut sensitivity. Keep out of reach of children. Some delicate, polished or painted surfaces may scratch. Test first in an inconspicuous area and allow to dry to verify no surface damage. Rinse thorough;y before and after each use and squeeze dry, especially when using products containing bleach. May be sterilized by boiling. Not for aquarium use."

Any sponge with an allergy warning is too much sponge for me. Thankfully they also warn you not to use it in aquariums. I wonder if fish are allergic to nuts too.