As anyone dealing with allergies will tell you, there are certain times of the year that you really wish didn’t happen. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that you wish you had a fast forward button so that you could skip them!
Well, we’ve just had that time of the year.
It sounds a tad dramatic doesn’t it! Sorry about that, but I do mean it though!
Every year, for the past 3 years, the same thing happens at the beginning of September.
I officially hate this time of year!
A strong statement maybe, but sadly true!
It’s this time of year that I have to stop Callum’s anti itching meds, and start to prep him for having his repeat allergy testing in hospital.
Now, Callum is a brave soldier, and always takes it in his stride. But as he gets older he becomes much more aware of what’s going on, remembers how things feel, the pain they cause.
I looked at this year’s round of allergy testing much the same as last year.
A necessary evil for us to have to get through. It has to be done, there’s no doubt about it. We need to know whether things are changing for the better, or for the worse, so that we can alter Callum’s diet accordingly.
Each year we have a smidgen of hope that things will have improved in some areas, so that we can start to reintroduce things to his diet.
Realistically it’s highly unlikely that this will happen as his allergies are on the severe side of things, but hey, positive thinking and all that.
So this year, after being asked many times about what happens at these allergy tests, I asked Callum how he felt about us ‘writing a story’ about it. He was quite happy for photos to be taken, and smiled and gave me the thumbs up when we started the process.
I had planned on writing a really positive, upbeat piece, about how allergy testing really isn’t so bad, but it quickly became apparent that fate had other plans last week!
One thing to remember before I go on, Callum knows the medical team really well now, they’ve been caring for him since he was 16 months, and they know how he reacts to stuff. He feels safe with them, and I am confident in their care.
We started by having someone taking photos of his arms and hands before testing, so that a ‘true’ picture could be given throughout the process.
Then we moved on to the numbers correlating to the allergies being tested, written on his arm.
He quite likes this bit, as, in his words ‘it tickles mummy!’.
So far, so good!
Then comes the not so great bit.
Ok, who am I kidding, it’s the painful bit!
You start by dropping a bit of the histamine control solution – quite frankly it’s a bitch of a test this one. Without any antihistamine drugs in you, it very quickly becomes ridiculously itchy, to the point of painful, and makes you feel beyond uncomfortable.
And that’s just how an adult feels.
Imagine a young child going through that!
And then, the skin needs to be scored, to pierce it, so that the skin is broken. Sounds a tad barbaric doesn’t it!
Then came peanut……
Usually this causes a quick, strong, and immediate large hive in Callum.
It certainly did that this time, and then some!!
It swelled immediately!
Normally, Callum can deal with it.
This time, he screamed in such pain, it was heart-breaking to witness and hear. I was having to hold his little arm down, and cuddle him so tight, so that the rest of the test could be completed, the whole time, with him in a lot of pain, his arm swelling, and still with the other testing taking place – and he reacted to them too!
I swear, this poor kid is such a brave soldier.
He goes through utter hell with his allergies, he really does!
Normally he never ever complains, but this was just too much for him to be able to deal with, and I can’t say I blame him!
Once all the tests had been administered, we were sent out to the waiting room to wait the 15 minutes to allow the tests to work.
Callum was beside himself by this point, and even with bribery of his favourite dairy free chocolate buttons, he was still sobbing.
My poor brave boy!
I felt ridiculously guilty!
The medical team were sufficiently concerned to come and check on him regularly throughout the 15 minute wait.
Thankfully, we managed to calm him down, and the reaction didn’t progress any further, but it was an incredibly sobering experience.
Amazingly, he was fine when they were measuring the size of the welts on his arm, and even managed to crack a smile!
This reaction was simply to a SPT, no ingestion, and it was the worst reaction to a SPT to date.
None of his food allergies have changed, they are still all there, at the same levels as always, although peanut appears slightly higher. He is still severely allergic to all forms of dairy, all forms of nut, wheat, tomato, strawberry, and more!
They forgot to do egg, as it appeared negative last year. I’ve always queried it as a false negative, and upon testing this time round, which they did during the review of the rest of the testing, Callum reacted immediately to it, so egg is still most definitely a no go!
Now, I ummed and ahhhed for a long time over whether to share this post.
I had every intention as I said before about it being upbeat and a way of showing it’s not so bad to have allergy testing done. But actually, it’s educational, and shows that sometimes, reactions can happen when under controlled situations, and it’s a reality of the allergy world that we all live in.
As for Callum and his recovery, he slept the whole way home from the hospital, only waking when I stopped at the shops en route to buy him a new toy car for his incredible bravery. It definitely helped to cheer him up.
But, it did take 2 days for him to recover from the reaction, and he was exhausted during this time, and with purple shadows under his eyes!