Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sam completes an allergy test

If you recall, earlier this spring I took Sam to the ENT as a result of pain in her ear after 3 days of being on an antibiotic for an ear infection.  Dr. Blotter told us that her nose was the worst he'd seen in a long time.  As a result of the severity of her nose it had created a vacuum of sorts in her ear, which caused the pressure, which caused the pain she was feeling.  He wanted us to do allergy testing on her because he felt like her nose was a direct result of allergies.  So, after rescheduling THREE times, we finally made it there today.  

That that know Sam know she's a drama queen.  I'm not talking a little bit of a drama queen either.  Sister is a full fledged DRAMA QUEEN.  I think I mentioned that just about 2 weeks ago we had to gas her in order to simply clean her teeth at the dentist's office because she wigged out when they tried to floss.  That being said, I was not excited about taking this girl in to have this done.  I had watched the video explaining how they did this and I knew it wasn't going to go over very well with her.  She did fine when we got there.  Even after sitting for 30 minutes because we were early.  We went back into the room and the nice nurse started to explain to Sam what we were going to do.  She showed Sam the "stamp" they use to put all the allergens being tested on her back.  The nurse had her feel the bottom of the stamp too (it's a small prick like having your finger pricked).  That's when Sam's anxiety level spiked.  She wasn't excited or happy about being there any longer - even if she did miss math at school.  We got her changed into a gown and cleaned her back with alcohol.  Then because she was resisting us and leaned up against the back of the chair, we had to get her back cleaned off again.  I held onto her arms while she leaned across a chair and the nurse quickly stamped her back using two stamps at a time.  Sam squeeked and wiggled, but she didn't try to hit or run so that was a bonus.  Each stamp has ten stamps on it.  There are a total of 50 pricks here on her back.  The second one down on the left at the top was the control for a positive.  The second one down on the left on the bottom is the control for a negative.

This picture was taken about five minutes after they pricked her with all the stamps.  We had to let it sit about twenty minutes or so.  The bottom has foods and the last row is animals.  The top has grass, trees, mold and weeds.

The picture on the left is about half way through the test.  The picture on the right is toward the end of the test.

Now you'd think after having fifty pricks in her back she'd be a bit more mellow, right?  Nope.  The nurse told us that she had a slightly positive reaction to the three molds on her back.  Normally people don't respond to the molds because for one thing the back just isn't that great of a place for the mold to react.  However, since Sam had a slightly positive reaction to all three molds, we would have to test the other NINE molds on her arm.  Yep.  Nine more pricks.  That makes a total of 59 pricks today.  She was not excited about this idea.  The nurse did one on my arm to show her how it was done.  They have to do each one individually, so it's essentially like getting pricked nine more times instead of once or twice.  They also use a syringe instead of a "stamp".  That part freaked sister out.  I told Sam that she didn't have a choice about this test because mold allergies can be deadly.  I then told her she could sit on my lap & I could hold her hands and we could be nice OR she could have FIVE of us hold her down.  I told her that if she was brave and toughed it out and just sat on my lap that I would tell her dad he had to buy her anything she wanted.  You'd think that would get her attention, right?  Well, only slightly.  She did cooperate fully after a bit of discussion.  About 20 minutes later she decided she wanted another American Girl doll.  Then later she changed her mind and decided she wants the bunk bed for her American Girl doll.  When I told Travis of our deal he kinda hum ha'd around it.  I told him I thought she deserved it after having fifty nine shots in one day.  He finally agreed.

The picture on the left is right after they finished giving her all nine injections.  The picture on the right is about twenty minutes later.  The welts she got from the mold all stayed the size they were in the picture on the left until they completely disappeared.  The nurse told me we have to keep the sharpie numbers on her arm for four days because molds generally disappear and then reappear even stronger.  So, she sent us home with a ruler and if any of the welts come back we have to measure them and call to let them know how big and what ones.

After our mold injections and our twenty minute wait, we waited to see Dr. Blotter.  Turns out Sam is allergic to all 12 molds, cat, cow's milk, 1 grass, 1 weed, Elm Tree, Juniper Tree, and Box Elder Tree.  The Elm Tree allergy was the worst.  It actually had a welt bigger than the control positive welt.  That means she's super allergic to Elm.  I am shocked by the allergy to cow's milk!  That girl has drank cow's milk all her life with no adverse effects.  However, it makes me wonder if maybe that's why she gets constipated all the time?  The nurse told me that being allergic to the molds could explain all the ear and nose trouble she's had all her life (where was this test $10,000 & four kids ago??!)

Now the question is what do we do to treat?  Well, the real kicker is that for molds, the only treatment is immune-o-therapy - or allergy shots.  This would be a minimum of an 18 month commitment.  She would require an allergy shot once a week, every week for the next year.  At the end of a year she would go to once a month for at least six months.  Then we might start to see some serious symptom relief.  I asked Dr. Blotter if he felt like it was something that we absolutely must do.  He said that he believes it would make her feel better and rid her of her symptoms.  My worry about not doing the allergy shots is that at a minimum, every spring we will have to worry about that ear we had repaired rupturing because of how bad her nose could potentially get.  If that ear drum ruptures it will be bad because it's been through so much.  She actually already has some hearing loss in that ear.  When I told Travis this he said, "It sounds to me like she's going to be getting shots once a week for the next year."  When he asked if I had asked Sam what she thought about that, I told him "No.  I know dang well what she's going to think about that!"  Perhaps a bribe with another American Girl doll is in our future as well?

I also asked Dr. Blotter if he felt like we needed to allergy test the other kids.  He told me that allergy symptoms won't generally show up on a test until the age of four or five.  So, that would mean that Nash would really be the only one we'd test right now.  However, that kid has been my "healthiest" so far.  It just makes me wonder if I wait to have him tested (in the hopes that he won't need to be tested) that just as we finish shots and regular trips to the CV Hospital we will have to start all over with Nash.  I am tempted to have him tested because my insurance pays for the testing 100% so I really won't be out anything except my time!  Thoughts & suggestions on this question are welcome! 


Justin & Ashlee said...

So does that mean she has to give up milk or dairy? I had a patient tell me this week that she gave up dairy products and her allergies cleared up. I am sure they weren't as bad as Sam's but it made me wonder if that would help?

Tannie Datwyler said...

HOLY FLIP!! That's totally crazy. I'm not surprised that she's allergic to so many things. And that kind of makes sense with what your ENT said about it causing so many of her problems.

I would get Nash tested if I were you. If it is only your time and your insurance covers it, I say go for it. What can it hurt??