My Child Has a Peanut Allergy
The Doctor Says It's a Peanut Allergy
My son was about one year old when I learned that he had food allergies. To be specific, my son was diagnosed with peanut allergies. He had been running around our apartment, just goofing around, when he slipped and bumped his lip on the floor. His lip began swelling, and I just could not get the swelling to go down. I tried popsicles, Tylenol, and everything else, but his lips kept getting bigger. Finally, I called the pediatrician.
On that particular day, the on-call doctor was a young Asian doctor who was new to the practice. I had never seen him before, but explained our situation and how the swelling would not go down. The doctor told me that my son was allergic to peanuts, and to give him Benadryl immediately.
"You don't understand," I explained to the doctor, as I repeated the scenario. "He was running and fell. He doesn't have any food allergies. He simply fell. I saw him fall." But the doctor brushed aside my remarks, and insisted that I give him Benadryl. Again, I assured him that this was not the problem; I was worried that perhaps he did not understand the problem.
Peanut: A Food or a Poison?
Did He Eat Peanuts Today?
But this doctor was annoyingly persistent. He insisted upon running down a list of everything my son had eaten that day. I brushed him aside, but he patiently walked me through each meal. I would answer honestly, but immediately follow up by assuring him that we didn't have a problem. Lord, this guy had the patience of a saint.
When we reached our mid-afternoon snack, the pediatrician had an "A-ha!" moment. "About three Reese's pieces candies? Hmm. And how long ago was that?"
I was losing beginning to lose my patience---for heaven's sake, he only had a swollen lip. And I saw him fall; in fact, I saw him bump his lip on the floor. But the doctor insisted it was food allergies. He even insisted on talking to my son on the phone.
"Seriously?" This was getting ridiculous. For crying out loud, he was only one. "He can hardly talk," I reasoned. "He's not going to tell you what happened. He cannot hold a phone conversation."
I Can Hear Him Wheezing
But again, the doctor insisted. I put my son on the phone for about a minute, as he stared blankly at me, not even saying a word. After some time, I brought the phone back to my own ear, as the doctor explained that he was wheezing.
"Give him liquid Benadryl immediately," he said. "I'm calling you back in thirty minutes, so you must give him the medicine. I will keep calling until you do."
Exasperated, I gave my son the liquid Benadryl as instructed. The swelling went away pretty quickly, and the true to his word, the doctor did call back in thirty minutes. I can only imagine how relieved his was to hear that I did give my son the Benadryl antihistimine.
The new mystery doctor insisted that I bring my son in for allergy testing. "He's definitely allergic to peanuts," he pointed out. "This could be a serious problem, and you need to see if he has other allergies. I expect you to come in this week."
Did He Get Allergy Testing Right Away?
At this point, you may have surmised that I would give in. After all, the doctor was very insistent. And the truth is that the swelling did go down right after the Benadryl. But I'm reluctant to admit that I did not bring him in for allergy testing that week, or even the week after. I'd already been through the wringer with a bunch of doctors already, many of whom insisted that I was a "panicked first time mom." I was reluctant to listen to another doctor admonish me for some imaginery disease that my son did not have.
Luckily, though, the doctor remained persistant. He called back several times over the next few weeks, and finally I gave in. Of course, this young doctor was right, and my son does have severe peanut allergies.
So, Mystery Doctor, I just may owe you a drink.