Thursday, April 23, 2015

Fighting My Gut Feeling

It started almost two weeks ago. We were celebrating Liam's 5th birthday with close friends. It was a wonderful day, filled with happiness, love, and laughter. After the guests went home and we all started to wind down, we noticed that Liam had hives on his belly and back. This had happened before, so we gave him some Benadryl and didn't think too much of it.

Very early the next morning, Liam found his way into our bed and the constant scratching became something we were well aware of. After just a couple of minutes of his tossing and turning, my husband decided to turn on the light, to which we found him covered, head to toe (literally- scalp to the tops of his feet) with huge, bright red hives. Since our youngest was still sleeping, Joe decided he would take Liam to the emergency room, while I stayed home with Nolan. I hated every minute they were gone. I wanted to be with Liam, to help sooth him, to make him feel better.

When they finally returned about an hour later, Joe told me that the doctors believed that the hives were a reaction to the antibiotics that Liam had been taking for an ear infection, that they gave him a dose of steroids, and stop giving him the meds. We did.

Sunday went by, every minute he looked a little better. Monday morning arrived and I noticed that his ears were a bit read and were sticking out a bit. I scoured his body for any other signs of irritation, but only found the remnants of the allergic reaction. I reluctantly took him to preschool with a pretty unsettling feeling. Within two hours, Liam's preschool coordinator had called, saying she believed he was getting worse and should be picked up.

By the time I got there, he looked miserable. The hives were back, his eyes, ears, and lips were swollen, and he could barely walk (at the time I thought it was due to the uncomfortable rash on his legs). I rushed him to urgent care, where once they heard the words "swollen lips" they looked a bit more worried and urgency could be felt. We were shuffled to a room within a minute or two, where Liam was watched closely by three doctors and two nurses.

Two hours later, we were sent home. I was terrified to leave, due to their constant reminders to call 911 if there was any swelling of his tongue or breathing issues. He was, once again, given steroids and we were on our way. It took three more days for Liam to feel well enough to return to school. Even though the constant rash was a thing of the past, and scratching done resulted in an instant hive that would disappear within a few minutes.

We made it through work and school on Monday, but when I arrived to pick him up, he was barely walking and looked like he was on the verge of tears. Once again, I took him to see his pediatrician, who told me it was just a muscle cramp in his leg. Totally unrelated to his health issue of the week before.

We went home, did the things he suggested, and within two hours Liam was running and playing like
normal. We thought, for once, we had an easy answer.Then pick up on Tuesday resulted in the same situation. We did the same things as the night before, which once again, resulted in a happy boy. Wednesday, the leg pain migrated to the heels of his feet. Today, his feet were bothering him, yet again.

His smile lights up the room!
Due to his allergic reaction possibly being thanks to antibiotics, our pediatrician suggested that we take Liam to an allergist. Today was the day. Unfortunately, because he is still hiving at the slightest scratch he couldn't be tested on his skin, as they usually do. We were sent to a nearby lab to have his blood drawn to be tested that way. Unfortunately, after two failed attempts, a ton of tears, death stares, and four nurses, we left without a drop of blood.

I'm worried for many reasons. 1. His allergic reaction was so severe. 2. We don't know what, if anything, he is allergic to. 3. His leg/foot pains make him walk like a 70 year old man and breaks my heart simultaneously. 4. Autoimmune diseases run rampant from both sides of his family tree. 5. We have to go back to try a blood draw again tomorrow.

What if he is really sick? What if this is more than muscle cramps and allergies? What if my broken genes are hurting him? What if whatever is attacking him, doesn't stop? What if we never find out what is causing this? All I can do is think about my poor little man, who celebrate his birthday between painful illnesses. How can I watch my little boy be so sad, scared, and confused? I'm trying to be strong for him. I'm trying to be proactive rather than feeling defeated. I'm trying.

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