Last Monday, for the first time ever we had to give CJ an EpiPen dose before going to the ER.
It was Columbus Day and I had off from work. I was eating cereal and when I wasn’t looking CJ ate a spoonful of the cereal. I put my finger in his mouth, but he had already swallowed what he ate. I didn’t even know if he ate one or more spoonfuls, but I immediately gave him 5 ml’s of benadryl and prayed that his reaction wouldn’t be bad because this was the first time he was exposed to two out of his three known allergies at the same time, wheat and oat.
Within an hour CJ developed a cough which has been his normal reaction, and it wasn’t too frequent which made me think it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. In hindsight, I should have figured out that despite the benadryl CJ was still coughing which should have been a warning for me.
Our church was having a small pumpkin picking outing in Long Island and I thought CJ was mostly fine, so my sister and I took him out. Although it was a nice day, CJ was not having fun. He was constantly attached to me and wanted to be carried. We picked out a pumpkin, ate some freshly baked apple pie that CJ couldn’t have, and then drove home.
Once home, I gave CJ another dose of benadryl to suppress his cough which is also the first time his allergic reaction lasted beyond six hours. It was time for him to nap, and normally his coughing gets better when he sleeps, so I put him down in hopes that he’d be better after he awakes, but afterwards I noticed slight wheezing.
Grace got home from work and we decided to call CJ’s pediatrician because they also can administer steroids just like hospitals and we’d probably receive better attention at the doctor’s office. We called them and all the doctors were busy and the receptionist said a doctor would call us back. And I think CJ also vomited his dinner at this time too. We didn’t want to wait and made the decision to pop open an EpiPen and then go to the ER. Since Grace is the professional, I let her give CJ the shot. I wanted to record the injection, but we had given CJ my iPhone to distract him while Grace gave it to him in his thigh. It made a loud pop sound and CJ was shocked and puzzled as to what was happening to his thigh.
By the time we were almost out the door, a doctor returned our phone call and said we’re doing the right thing. We left our apartment, but we immediately ran into a dilemma as to which North Shore LIJ hospital we wanted to go to. Either the small one two blocks away or the one out in Manhasset that specializes in pediatrics. Because we didn’t want to wait and didn’t trust googlemaps’ traffic patterns, we chose to walk it over to the one in Forest Hills.
Ironically, we ended up having to wait before being seen by triage in which CJ was given ibuprofen to fight his fever and then another 30 minutes before we saw a doctor. Thankfully, the doctor was very nice and thorough. He checked out our stories, listened to CJ’s breathing, and also took a look at his throat and ears. He said he did hear the wheezing, but he wasn’t too concerned about it and CJ’s fever was due to a small ear infection, so he ordered a dose of benadryl and a dose of steroids. After waiting another 30 minutes, a nurse arrived with CJ’s medication and after giving him the steroids, he vomited it out…onto me. We then gave CJ the benadryl and asked if CJ could have another dose of steroids since he vomited it all out. The nurse said no because she didn’t know how much CJ had absorbed before he vomited. Are you serious? Wow…now I was getting upset. What was this nurse smoking? Everything had come up no more than 20 seconds after CJ finished swallowing the steroids. C’mon, how much do you really think he could have actually absorbed? We tried to stay calm and pleaded our case to ask the doctor for another dose because we came to the hospital explicitly for the steroids. Suddenly the nurse seemed happy to relent and ask for us. I think she sensed we were gearing up for a fight that we wouldn’t back down from. Plus, you know, Grace is an NP, booyah! Shortly thereafter, the nurse returned with another dose of steroids in which CJ was able to keep down.
The doctor came back and asked us if we were sure we wanted to go home because he was supposed to keep CJ under observation for at least a couple of hours after giving him steroids, but because we live so close and I suppose are “experienced” in observing and handling CJ’s allergic reactions, he let us go home. He also gave us a 4-day prescription of steroids for CJ which I went to pick up at our local CVS after getting home. What was also nice was that I was able to print out an EpiPen coupon. Earlier this year we bought our first 2-pack which cost us an unexpectant $125 in co-pay. I didn’t know how much the coupon was worth, but I read online people were getting around $100 off. Well, this time it was free for us!
CJ’s wheezing disappeared later that night and his on and off again fever finally broke late last week. We’re so thankful that the Lord protected CJ as it definitely could have been worse than what we experienced. We’re also thankful for the family and friends who prayed for CJ, Grace, and I during the entire ordeal and were very comforted by everyone’s phone calls, texts, and emails. It’s truly encouraging to have a community of believers to lift up loved ones to Jesus whenever someone is in need. Thank you.