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on top of everything else…


The baby had an allergic reaction last night. For those of you who are new to this corner of the internet, my son has a tree nut allergy. Luckily, we haven’t had much trouble with it and tree nuts are not as pervasive as peanuts, so he doesn’t have to live in a bubble or whatever. Last night was actually only the second time that his allergy flared up, the first time being when we found out that he had a food allergy.

When we go to restaurants, we always ask the staff to check to make sure that no nuts are used in whatever dish the baby is getting and so far this has kept us in the clear. But probably what happened was there was something nearby that got in his food. We had his EpiPen with us and for a few minutes had this vague panic of, “Do we jab him?” But we didn’t since he wasn’t having any trouble breathing. Our poor waitress stopped over to see how our meals were (they were delicious, rogue nuts be damned) and had the misfortune of coming upon the scene of us sitting in silence, watching the baby’s lips swell and uncertainly holding a large, green shot near his thigh. We drove to the hospital and just kind of waited. Eventually the swelling started going down and the baby reported that he felt fine. We took him home, gave him some Benadryl, and put him to bed and checked on him every couple minutes.

I am, of course, tremendously relieved that he is okay and am hoping that these symptoms are as bad as it gets. Avoiding anaphylactic shock would be tops.

It was just one of those moments where it was like, “Of COURSE you’re having a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. WHY THE HELL NOT? I haven’t had a panic attack in at least 15 minutes, so I was due.” I’ve been working on a mid-term paper for one of my classes for several days now and to say that it’s stressing me out would be an understatement. On Tuesday, around 11 a.m., this particular academic nightmare will be over. I have another, large-ish assignment due on Thursday that I haven’t even looked at because I just can’t deal at the moment.

I never got this stressed about school until I started grad school (and I have the QPAs to show for it!). But I guess the stakes are just much higher this time around. Plus, I have to juggle so much more. It’s really wearing me down. After this semester, I have one class I’ll take in the summer and then one in the fall. Obviously, not having to deal with two classes at once will be a huge relief. I’m just trying to hang on until the end of the year when I will finally be done. It just sucks because I’m wishing for the time to go faster so I can get to a relatively easier phase in life, but in doing so I’m wishing away large chunks of my kid’s childhood. I actually apologized to him the other night for being so grumpy and impatient and busy. I’m doing all this so that I can make a better life for me and my family, but I guess in the thick of it the cost seems way too high.

Anyway, I didn’t mean to get all morose and I didn’t mean for this to sound like, “My kid had an allergic reaction and it was really scary for ME ME ME IT’S ALL ABOUT ME!” I’m glad my kid’s okay, obviously. And I know that this will all be over soonish and it will all be worth it. I will have a pretty kick-ass MA at the end of all this, after all. It’s just that this particular gauntlet of job + writing + school + school + school + being broke + whatever other crap has gotten really old.

6 comments to on top of everything else…

  • Glad he’s OK. Thinking stress-free thoughts for you.

  • Rachel

    I’m glad the kid’s ok!

    I worked with a Pulmonary attending doc who had a tree nut allergy… the other attending’s wife had made cookies with nuts, and he somehow misheard her, so when the Tree Nut Allergy Doc asked if they were ok, he said yeah.

    We nearly had to intubate him in the ICU, he was so quickly unable to breathe, we threw him in a bed and luckily were able to give him stat respiratory treatments, etc. The other doc with the nut cookies, this little older Indian fella, was nearly in tears, saying, “I almost killed my friend! I almost killed my friend!!” His wife came in and bitched him out for giving his coworker the cookies, she was like, “I TOLD you: DON’T give them to Mud!!”

    Luckily he was fine, because he was an ICU doc IN the ICU… I can’t imagine the fear of having a child with an allergy! I hope swollen lips are all he ever gets!

  • Kim S.

    Any allergic episode is scary! We just found out a month ago that our 21-month-old twins are allergic to tree nuts when we had to call 911 and one of them almost stopped breathing. It was awful.

    I’m glad your son is okay. Sending you positive thoughts and deep breaths.

  • I am having the same problem with grad school…it is like there is a dial for education, and someone turned it to ten and walked away to go to the store. I won a full tuition scholarship, which on one hand, is effing awesome, because I can now take out loans to pay our bills instead of school (ugh, typing that hurt) but on the other, I have three classes a quarter. By the end of each term, I want to rip my eyeballs from my skull, have contracted some lame illness from stress killing immune system, and I know that outside of my teaching shift with the kids, I am a red-eyed grumpmuffin that is no fun anymore. Luckily my husband is still working on his undergrad, because he is much happier and more fun to be around, but when he complains about having to write 5 page papers or how “easy it was to get a B” I want to pour cold water on his head while he sleeps.

    My view on grad school is thus: it is a dark dark hole that you get thrown in for a few years, and the light at the end of the tunnel is the completed thesis. Its a Darwinian test of some sort I am sure, to protect the job interests of all people with masters degrees. Or, perhaps the people who design it are just sadists. Either way, its pretty dark in here.

  • ali

    I am reading this well after the fact but thought i’d throw a potentially helpful nugget of info your way. my 4 year-old is allergic to both tree nuts and shellfish. although she’s never had even a vaguely anaphylactic reaction, we carry the dreaded epi-pen as well. she gets hives, itchy mouth/throat and almost immediate vomiting. gross and sad. BUT anyway, our allergist told me to carry benedryl strips with me and they are magic. they are like little breath strips and are the fastest way to get meds into their systems. my little one is literally better w/in 10 minutes of taking one. i keep them in my purse, my car, school, home, my folks, etc. giant eagle used to carry them but more recently i had the pharmacy order me about ten packs.

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