Yesterday both girls had a birthday party to attend, on opposite sides of town at basically the same time. Since I took the party at the dreaded Chuck E. Cheese last time, G-man took it this time. I took Boobah to the party at the gym. She parties, I work out, all is good. So, trying to get my bingo card filled out I pick swim for 30 minutes. It was so hard. When I was done my legs were like jello and I was dizzy. I wasn't sure which was stronger, the sense of accomplishment or the desire to puke. I took a quick shower, did a few nautilus machines, chatted with Es and went to pick up Boobah and that's when the fun began!
I am waiting and waiting with the other Moms and Dads when a woman comes up and asks if I am Boobah's Mom and says she is all red. I go with her, a bit confused because the party should have been over 10 minutes before and we've been waiting for her and suddenly it seems as if I've done something wrong. I get downstairs and Boobah's face is red--nothing I haven't seen before when she was really hot. Then I look at her hands that are nearly purple and her ears as well. There are people talking all over each other...She didn't eat anything...Should we call 911...It just happened...We tried calling you...You *have* to take her somewhere you have to figure out what its from...Benadryl, anybody got Benadryl...it was all I could to check her over and try to figure out what was going on. The father of the birthday girl is a physician. He was very quiet so I expected it wasn't so bad or he'd have had them call an ambulance. So I asked him if he thought it was okay for me to take her to the ER, he looked me in the eye and told me yes--she didn't show any signs of respiratory distress. So I wisked her away feeling like I'd done something wrong. I could see all of those faces screaming at me and hear the voices reverberating in my had. Should I have stayed at the party? I never left the building. She goes there 2-3 times a week. She has an emergency form on file.
I drove to the ER with the rear view mirror trained on her. Her cheeks were red and puffy with welts, and her ears were bright red. We got to the ER and the admitting clerk had me fill out a form. The volunteer that came to take us to the pediatric ER wasn't nearly as slow moving, he showed us right back, they immediately put us in a room and the nurses descended upon us. They asked questions, checked out all of her vitals and were obviously in charge. Then in came a resident, Dr. Lipschitz just like from Rugrats except this one was female looked to be about 12. It was obvious from the way she came in and started doing things around the nurses that she was just in their way. If I'd had to choose one of them, it would have been one of the nurses.
They assured me that she would be fine. We discussed her fever earlier in the week but it seemed to be far enough in the past and never high enough to be a viral rash flushing itself out. They gave her some Benadryl, explained to me that it was considered a major allergic reaction, she was red from head to toe with welts on her face and a rash on her body and that we needed to figure out what caused it. The last thing she ate was grilled cheese and yogurt hours before the party. Things she's eaten a million times before.
The attending physician (I think the same one that sowed up her head 2 years ago) gave me a sheet on anaphylaxis and said we were lucky, her reaction didn't involve her respiratory system. He also assured me that we'd done the right thing bringing her in. He suggested a second reaction could be more severe and we should follow-up with an allergist. So, less than an hour later we were headed home. My head was spinning and I was finally coming down off my Mommy crisis reaction.
I called the Mom from the party when I got home to let her know that everything was okay. She gave me the low-down on what had happened prior to the redness. It seems that they used hand cleaner on all the kids hands so they could have pizza. Then Boobah said she had to go to the bathroom so the Mom took her. That's when she noticed she started turning red. My suspicion at this point is the hand cleaner. They said it was Purell which she's used a thousand times but more than once someone mentioned a new cleaner.
So, now instead of guilty I am a bit concerned about their ability to deal with an emergency. No one paged me, no one called my cell phone. Es confirmed for me that she never heard my name over the PA. I will put notes at school, daycare and the gym that she shouldn't use hand cleaner. We will follow-up with an allergist. The not knowing is the scary part, what if she encounters it again and no one notices? I've always been sympathetic to parents of kids with peanut & other food allergies but now I have an all new appreciation for the fear they must have every day.