Stories about Emmie · Tree Nut Allergies

Nut Allergy

On Friday, Max had his last day of VBS and I arranged a play date for Mini at Chick-fil-A.  My friend, Karen, and I caught up while our kids had a blast going up and down the slide, getting out some energy in the air conditioning.  We seemed to cover every subject under the sun, everything from the oppressive heat wave to the evils of food allergies.

The irony of having that talk moments before Mini had an anaphylactic reaction to a pecan for the first time is amazing.  Let me just say, she is fine.  God protected her and Benadryl worked fast to relieve her symptoms.  But it was a serious reaction, although mild, and happened very fast.  Now I understand how scary a nut allergy can be.

Here’s the story.

While we sat on the bench in the playground area, an employee invited us to try the new oatmeal that CFA will put on their menu starting this week.  She offered a little bag of mixed nuts to go along with it, and I gladly took both.  There were brown sugar-coated pecans so yeah, thank you so much.  Yum.

I didn’t think twice about offering a little spoonful of oatmeal to Mini when she asked for it.  If there is food anywhere in her sight, she wants it.  And if it’s something that’s about to go into my mouth, she’ll want it even more.

But after swallowing a tiny bite, she didn’t care for the oatmeal (it was a little too warm and not very sweet).  I then offered her a little sugar coated pecan and she put it in her mouth and spit it back in her hand right away.  She was nice enough to hand it back to me and off she ran to play.

A minute to two later, she ran up to me with a horrible look on her face.  She said her throat felt yucky and I thought she was going to throw up so I quickly scooped her up and ran to the bathroom.

She gagged and started scratching at her throat but my first thought was that the oatmeal must have been hotter than I realized.  Her gagging stopped and she didn’t seem nauseous anymore, so I decided (yes, decided.  stupid me) she was going to be fine and asked if she wanted some orange juice.

I sat her down at the booth with my friend and I went to order some juice at the counter.  Along with cinnamon melts, some hash browns, and a fruit cup.  Clearly I was thinking we just needed a buffet or something.  That would make everything better.

When I returned with the food, Karen pointed out calmly but urgently, that Mini was having an allergic reaction.  I looked at her face and saw hives around her mouth and on her neck and noticed her ears were getting red.  I called my doctor’s office right away.  My heart was pounding but I was calming myself down at the same time.  Maybe I was overreacting.  Hives can be an unexplained phenomenon and Mini doesn’t have food allergies.

What happened next was the most irritating thing.  The person who answered the phone said “the best [she] could do was an appointment at 10:45.”  That was 45 minutes from then and I was only 5 minutes from the office.  I knew enough that she should’ve said “come right over” and I asked if I could talk to a nurse.  She said she was a nurse.  I will now be looking for a new doctor’s office, that is all I’m going to say about that.

She asked if she had splotches or hives and when I said HIVES!!! she changed her tone and said to come on in, but to stop at home first to get Benadryl.  That actually put me at ease because I wondered if I was overreacting, so if she told me to go home first, then it wasn’t a big deal.  I seriously don’t think I made the connection with the gagging and the hives yet.  I even told Karen that I told the nurse “I was concerned” to get her to drop the whole appointment thing, but that I just knew I had to say that.  I was trying to convince myself that I wasn’t concerned at all since she told me to go home first.

I will be writing a letter to my pediatrician when I ask for our records to be transferred.  The nurse should have told me to go to the ER.

Mini had some wheezing at the doctor’s office and they monitored her for a while.  The wheezing stopped within 15 minutes and the hives were going away so she definitely seemed back to normal.  But because she went through the different stages of an anaphylactic reaction (the fact that she had multiple symptoms and that her airways narrowed…but thank God it was mild), I was educated on how to use an Epi pen and now I will carry one with me at all times.

In hindsight, I have learned that I should’ve gone to the ER.  You just don’t play around when an allergy reaction seems to affect breathing in any way.

Aside from feeling a lot of guilt and ignorance, I’m thankful beyond words that my little girl is okay.

Playing doctor the next day

We are going to follow up with the allergist on Wednesday and will have blood work to see exactly what she is allergic to.  Please pray for an accurate diagnosis and that I will be able to remember everything the doctor explains to me.

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6 thoughts on “Nut Allergy

  1. I’m so glad she is ok!

    May I suggest taking someone else with you to the doctor’s office when the results come in? Sometimes it’s easier to have a neutral party take notes during your conversation with the doctor. he/she will hear you things you didn’t and won’t be trying to process information emotionally.

  2. Oh my goodness! I’m so sorry that happened, but so thankful everything turned out ok. So glad she spit that pecan right back out instead of eating it! Had she ever eaten pecans before? I’ll be praying for you guys!

  3. Maureen, thank you for suggesting that. I never thought of it in that way before.

    Valerie, yeah- it was just a taste. That’s all it took. I am almost sure she had pecans before (at least something with them in it, like those sweet rolls). I’ve learned that this must’ve been her second exposure to it, so that makes sense.

    Also, since she had the oatmeal, I wasn’t 100% positive that it was the pecan. I called ChickfilA and the owner called me back to tell me what ingredients were in the oatmeal and checked to see if Mini was doing okay. There’s flaxseed, buckwheat, and whole wheat, but it seems that the pecan is what is the culprit.

  4. Anna, so sorry you and Mini had to go through this. Food allergies are VERY serious and SCARY! That nurse needs to learn how to talk to parents better! Mini was obviously having a serious reaction and needed to be cared for PROMPTLY! Hopefully you will find a great allergist that can narrow down exactly what she is allergic to soon. Love that the owner of CFA called and talked to you! Love that about CFA!! Good luck in finding a good pediatrician! They seem to be getting harder and harder to find! Keep me posted!

  5. Thanks Valerie (and Ann, too). I took her to the allergist today and he answered a lot of my questions. I asked why her throat suddenly “cleared” up on its own and he said there’s so much they still don’t know about allergies/anaphylaxis. But they do know how what a serious situation it is so I’m convinced that God protected her, really. He said I should’ve called 911 and reiterated ALL my concerns about my pediatrician’s office (which is across the parking lot from his office). He is going to contact the lead doctor. They should’ve sent her to the ER even after she came into the office or at least gave her an Epi-pen. I am growing more mad. Another thing happened today when I picked up the referral. It was written out wrong (not a typo, but a diagnosis mistake) and the nurse writes out the referrals. No excuse! It was the final straw of the final straw.

    But back to the appointment, he does think the lab work will show tree nuts across the board (his guess) but probably not peanuts. He wants her to wait 3 weeks before doing the blood work so I’ll take her on the 12th. We’re also testing for dogs and cats, since that has been a growing concern, as well.Thanks for your prayers. I have so much to learn.

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