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When Allergies Attack

My Saturday started off normal enough.

I worked Friday night( with much drama), so Saturday morning, I was in a sleep coma while Pookah and C-Dub went to the Fernbank Museum.


I woke up when Pookah woke up from his nap and he and Cdub played bowling in the foyer.




The day was going well. C-Dub decided to go to Popeyes for dinner. Which was OK with me because we knew that Pookah could eat the fries there(because he had them before with NO problems).

Dinner done, I decided to take Pookah outside for bubbles and a few evening photos.

But, before I could get any good ones, he started sneezing over and over.

And then, his nose started running and he was stuffed up.

And I noticed this large red patch near his mouth.

What did he eat???

I picked him up and took him inside to look him over more closely. No hives. But his nose was getting worse.  And he kept sneezing with an occasional cough thrown in.

I didn’t like the cough. It was a “my throat is itching” cough.

Being the nurse that I am, I recognized that clinically, he was having an allergic reaction, even though the signs were not the usual ones for him.

I gave him the Benadryl, and told C-Dub. He wasn’t too concerned and kept typing away on his computer. (really?)

I sat to wait for it to work, and looked him over some more. One hive noted on his lower back. Just ONE.

But it got worse.

I noticed that his breathing was worse, the cough was always there now and that his lips were starting to swell.

But I waited a little longer hoping that the Benadryl would kick in.

Around 15 mintues later, Pookah turned to me and I could see that his tongue was swollen and he was beginning to struggle to breathe. I heard the wheezing. He looked drowsy, and slightly grey.


I grabbed the Epi Pen from the kitchen drawer and rushed upstairs to tell C-Dub to call 911.

And for the second time in his young life, Pookah got an epi pen.

I can’t tell you the terror that I was pushing back tryingto keep him calm, CDub calm and me calm while we waited for the ambulance.

By the time they arrived, Pookah was much better. But still a little out of it.

But he was so excited that the firemen had come to see him!

After they examined him, they asked if I wanted to take him to the ER.

Of course, and I want to go in the ambulance.

C-Dub was looking at me like I was crazy and so were they, but since I work in helathcare, I know the system.

Let me explain.

If I take my child to the ER and his breathing is fine, and he’s not cut off any limbs…we will wait in the waiting room

BUT, if I go by ambulance, you are directly admitted to a room. Just.Like.That.

I learned that from my patients at work.  I decided to work the system in my favor for a change.

Pookah in the ambulance taken with my iphone.

So anyway, they took us to Children’s at Hughes Spalding downtown by Grady. At first, I was a little skeptical,but I didn’t want to drive  the 30 minutes up to Children’s at Egleston or Scottish Rite I agreed. I always forget about Hughes Spalding because the Children’s Healthcare system just bought it and remolded it.  Anyway, it is NICE. It looks like all the other Children’s hospitals here, only smaller.  And service was wonderful and it took only 15 mintues to get there.

We will be back I’m sure.

So anyway, Pookah by now was BEYOND hyper from the epi pen and doing just fine. He got looked over and sent home with instructions for Benadryl around the clock for the next 2 days.


He was a little pitiful Sautruday, and even took a 4 hour nap.  But by the evening time, he seemed to have recovered to his old self.

This weekend was a hard hard lesson for me.

I am usually soooo careful about what I let Pookah eat.  So it bothers me that something that he usually eats might have made him sick. And the fact that the symtoms took over an hour to show up bothers me even more. I considered that he might have gotten stung by a spider or something, but I couldn’t find any bite marks over his body.  I questioned C-Dub over what he ate in the morning, and the only suspect was the turkey meatballs from Whole Foods. I’ve never let him have them, because most meatballs use a filler like breadcrumbs to keep them together. But if it was those, why didn’t the allergy show up sooner? And the fries from Popeyes: maybe there was a piece of chicken skin hidden in the fries and he ate it?  It’s so strange, because I have given him the chicken after I have taken off the skin and he had NEVER had a problem. I don’t know. I’ve worried myself to death over it, but know that Pookah won’t be eating Popeyes anytime soon.

He was fine this morning. And off to school he went to tell the tale of his weekend ride in the “am-pulance.”

But I’ll worry. Because now I think that nothing is safe. Not even the foods I’ve come to rely on to keep him fed.  And what about when I send him to my mom’s for those few days when I go to Blogher? What if something happens then? I know my mother and father will know how to give the epipen, but they will have to drive him to the hospital since they live in the country. What if they don’t recognize the signs quickly enough?  What if he is at school and they don’t recognize the signs? Because initially, he didn’t have the hives, he didn’t blow up. It was just some sneezing and his nose. I’m so scared now. What if CDub is home alone with him and HE doesn’t recognize it??????

I’m trying to pull myself off the ledge because I know that I can’t watch him all the time. I know I have to trust in the God and the people who watch him everyday.

But it’s so hard to watch your baby’s body turning against him. To watch him struggle to breathe while you are praying the the epi pen works. I don’t want my baby to have to go through that again.

I just want this all to go away and never happen again.

I don’t think I could take it.

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  • Reply
    July 9, 2012 at 10:37 am

    I was keeping up through twitter what was going on so glad he is okay. No popeyes from now on. I was hoping he would grow out of the reactions *sigh*
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  • Reply
    July 9, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    I’m so glad he’s doing better. That’s so scary. I’m happy you caught it when you did!
    Jessica recently posted..When early bedtimes don’t happen, life goes onMy Profile

  • Reply
    July 9, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Such a scary and baffling situation. I’m sitting here trying to find out the culprit food myself. I think we all agree that Popeyes is totally out from here on out. Glad to know these he’s okay.

    Hugs and Mocha,
    Stesha recently posted..My Journey To Natural HairMy Profile

  • Reply
    July 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Oh my, poor Pookah and momma! Food reactions are no joke, so glad you had the experience to know what to look for. Your parents will do just fine, they will be top of it. Get some rest.
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  • Reply
    July 10, 2012 at 10:26 am

    SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO glad he is ok!!!! (((((HUGS))))

  • Reply
    July 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Poor baby. I’m so glad he’s ok. I can’t imagine how scary that must have been. Will he outgrow the allergies?

  • Reply
    July 10, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    I think you said it best. You have to trust God and trust that the people who care for him will watch over him as closely as you do. Allergies are so tricky with kids because they can’t adequately verbalize what they are feeling all the time. Just continue to educate those who are watching him. He will be fine!!!
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  • Reply
    Cam - Bibs & Baubles
    July 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    oh my goodness – how terrifying!!! so glad he’s ok. i can’t lie, the “what if’s” would drive me insane too.
    Cam – Bibs & Baubles recently posted..Guest Post: Work/ Life: Seeking BalanceMy Profile

  • Reply
    July 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    So glad that he is ok! Also, other thing with the ambulance…once they show up at your house, you WILL get a bill from them. So you might as well use them.
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  • Reply
    July 12, 2012 at 11:15 am

    oh my goodness, such an emotional roller coaster. I’m glad to hear that he is better, but I can just imagine how you were feeling through all of that. It’s always like men to just sit back and think nothing’s wrong.

    It’s scary out there, because what you think could be safe could change. I’ve read that it’s always good to look up the ingredients to the fast food joints often because they change them often.

    I have to do this with Zee and keep the allergy meds and the pen with me at all times.
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  • Reply
    July 16, 2012 at 8:33 am

    whoa! What a scary situation!! I hope you find out what caused it. You are so right about the ambulance vs. the waiting room, I found that out the hard way myself. Good for you for listening to your momma instincts. I am so glad to hear he is doing better!
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    July 23, 2012 at 8:32 am

    This is so scary! One of my siblings has serious allergies and seeing her go through it I can relate to how frightening it can be. I’m sure for Pookah he’ll remember the highlight of the ambulance ride. Glad he’s ok!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I cannot imagine! That must have been beyond terrifying.

    I really appreciate that you are sharing your journey. We hear now about children having allergic reactions and the limitations at school to not bring in peanut products, etc. They all seem so far removed, but you made it real for me with your story. Thank you for that- I have a new perspective on the dangers of food allergies.
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  • Reply
    Laura Guerreiro
    July 31, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    I found your story because I’ve just got an allergic reaction to something. Woke up yesterday with one eye very swollen and some skin irritation on face. Picked up Popeyes night before (Saturday night) ate mashed potatoes/macaroni salad 1 biscuit 1 pc chicken, battered shrimp. Yesterday I had 1 pc chicken and 1 biscuit and woke up 2 swollen eyes and very swollen lips. My daughter just sent me a text from work saying her face is swollen and itchy. She had only eaten the macaroni salad, mashed potatoes and 1 bicuit. No chicken. It is disturbing that two people out of 4 ate this food and had a reaction. No previous allergies to food.

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