Friday, June 01, 2007

Allergy Appointment

Caleb had an allergy appointment yesterday with the allergy doctor at Bethesda. He last saw an allergist in June 2004, right before we moved here. For the last year and a half, I have been asking his pediatricians for a referral to the allergist, but they wouldn't give me one. "He won't do anything", is what they kept saying. Finally the doctor we saw in March gave us one, and praise the Lord, I was even able to make the appointment for while my parents were still here, so I didn't have to bring everyone.

The doctor was very, very nice and helpful. He saw us at 12:45, and we didn't leave until right around 3:00. Since Caleb's records were lost in the move (grr, don't get me started . . . the military doesn't trust us to carry our own records to our next duty station, but they have no problems losing them), he wrote up a detailed history of Caleb's allergy symptoms and issues, starting with his 2 month well-baby appointment, where we first noticed the eczema on his head. This took quite a while, and I was so glad not to have all the other kids bouncing around, not to mention needing to be nursed! That would have been slightly distracting!

After the long history, he decided what he would test Caleb for. There were 22 things, both environmental and food. Caleb didn't like the pricking at all, but he was a real trooper. As soon as the nurse finished, he started scratching his back, so I knew he was already reacting. When she lifted up his shirt after 15 minutes, his poor back was a mass of big red welts. Of the 22 things, I think there were only about 4 things that he didn't react to, and most of the reactions were greater than 4 cm. So he is NOT allergic to mold. And cedar trees and cashews. Other than that, it was pretty much positive, as far as common Virginia trees, grasses, dust, cats, dogs, and the foods that we already knew about--milk, peanuts, pecans, and walnuts--go. The walnut reaction was the biggest, about the size of a silver dollar, but they were all pretty big, to be honest. Hey, he's got allergies! LOL

After the nurse wiped off Caleb's back and put a steroid cream on his back, we went back in and met with the doctor again. He sort of tweaked the medicines we're giving Caleb now, and he told us some things to do for the dust mite allergy, like getting dust mite proof covers for the mattress and pillow, washing his bedding once a week, and having him out of the room when vacuuming. He actually likes to vacuum, so he will probably be disappointed that he can't do that anymore. I know I am!

While we were talking again, Caleb's eyes were getting really red and itchy, and he started sort of crying quietly. Finally he leaned over and whispered, "I don't want to come back here anymore." It was so sad! The doctor realized the steroid cream on the back wasn't cutting it, so he got some benedryl for Caleb, and then he started feeling better, poor guy.

As the doctor and I were talking about all of this, he said, "I can't belive that you have been just floating around all on your own for so long, trying to manage all of this!" I was so glad to hear him say that (especially since he went on to say that I had been doing a great job, LOL), because that was really how I have felt--like I had to be the one to figure out when I needed to ramp up his meds to manage his seasonal allergies and keep him from wheezing, etc., and without even really knowing what it was he was allergic to! I have felt very isolated, and it is so nice to know that I have someone on my team now. The doctor gave me his card and told me I was "family" now, and if I need another appointment for Caleb or have questions or whatever, I call this number directly. Woohoo!


Anonymous said...

Another allergy Caleb and I share dust mites. Claire you have done such a good job with Caleb's allergies. Melinda

Dy said...

OH, well, if that's "not doing anything," then I hope that doc keeps not doing anything for a long, long time. What a great experience. And yes, it does help to know what's up, and to know you have backup. Can you now go see this guy w/o a referral since you've been to him once already, or will you have to go through "the proper channels" all over again in the future?

{{hugs}} Poor little Caleb. I hope he's feeling much better soon!


Chris and Johanna said...

I am glad you finally got a doctor to actually acknowledge that something isn't right and offer some type of solution. It took us almost 6 years to get them to send Russell to an allergist. Then, he put Russell on shots. It's so much better now. After 4 years of shots he is no longer taking them, and only has to take allergy medication on occasion for flare-ups.