Today was a great day despite the gloomy weather and chilly Connecticut temps.
All three of my photo shoots got rained out, so that left our day wide open. After realizing we had the whole rainy afternoon to ourselves we decided to visit a nearby landmark and take the girls on the “guided tour” of Gillette’s Castle in Haddam, CT. (photos to come some day) Gillette’s Castle was the home of actor William Gillette, who portrayed Sherlock Holmes over 1300 times in his career. The 40 minutes we spent in the tour was the perfect mid day filler until we got to enjoy the weekly Sunday night dinner at Mima & Grandpa’s house.
Fast forward to dinner.
As we arrive at their house, the smells of tonight’s dinner are magical and enticing. Knowing that it was self made taco and fajita night made the girls uncontrollably excited, and the kid inside of me equally so. Mima makes some of the best chili I ever had, and I just know how amazing that is going to taste in a taco shell. Upon walking into the kitchen, however; my heart skipped a beat as I saw pepperjack and cheddar cheese being shredded on the counter.
I guess it skipped a beat primarily because we all know how dangerous dairy is, and although there is no one I would trust more with our little girl(s) than Mima and Grandpa; it’s Shayla that I don’t trust so much. The girl can NOT keep her hands off her lips, her face, etc. For someone so susceptible to ingested and environmental allergens; it’s amazing how orally fixated she is. Such is the curse of allergy life I guess. (confession: It also skipped a beat because I was secretly excited to get to enjoy some cheese on my own tacos tonight)
So although there was to be cheese available during dinner, it was cautiously placed far away from all the other food and managed very well for cross contamination. Dinner was as delicious as we had all envisioned and with everyone’s vigilance about the dairy, we had an uneventful/safe taco night. After cleanup and some more playtime, we ventured on home and got the girls ready for bed. Despite the cheese being available to some, everyone’s overly cautious approach proved that we could all coexist with “cheese” in our surrounding, and our nervousness was essentially unwarranted.
With a quickness, the girls got changed for bed, brushed their teeth, and hopped into bed. We said our goodnights and I love yous, then Jen and I headed to our places for “work”. About 4 minutes after laying her head down to sleep, Shayla begins a coughing fit. After unsuccessfully diagnosing her in the dark, with a mere dry throat; we gave her some water and continued on our way. Well her coughing was continuing still, and we both realized instantly that she might be wheezing or reacting for some strange reason. (Her wheezing is usually accompanied with a tickle in her throat and the coughing is a result of that as well.)
After pulling her into the bathroom and huddling on the floor under the light, we look at her and can notice that not only is she wheezing terribly, but she has hives all over one the side of her face. WHAT? HOW? We finished eating like an hour and a half ago!? What is going on? Did someone kiss her on the cheek with cheesy residue on their lips? But if that was the case why is she wheezing? (Actually we do know that external contact with dairy will make her internally react and anaphylactic) Did she eat a piece of shredded cheese off the floor? When playing pretend restaurant with her cousin, did she let her plastic spoon touch her lips? Was that plastic spoon in the mouth of someone who had cheese? What can possibly be going on? We frantically call all the attendees at Sunday night dinner and question their contact procedures with regards to handling of their cheese and Shayla upon exit. We aren’t blaming anyone AT ALL, rather just trying to find the root cause so we can diagnose. She has two symptoms… Wheezing and hives… That is EpiPen worthy followed by a trip to the ER for monitoring. Was this the first steps to a full blown anaphylactic reaction to something internal or just relatively strong contact reaction. Did she ingest something? Did she just touch a door handle that had residue on it, then touch her lips, her cheeks etc? GRRR… so many what ifs.
Several wipes to scrub her face and neck with, and a couple of puffs of her inhaler and we waited……… Pulse-Oxygen monitor attached to her finger and she was monitoring normal. Plenty of oxygen hitting those fragile little lungs. 99%. We waited to see if there is ANY changes for the worse. If so, she immediately would need the EpiPen and the ensuing hospital trip… We wait and wait impatiently as we sit on the cold bathroom floor. It seemed like hours. (15 minutes) Everything ran through my head. Where are the keys? Do we bring Leighton who is sleeping or does one of us take her to the hospital? What does my work schedule look like tomorrow and what do I need to cancel? Do we have to isolate her from any function that has dairy no matter what the scenario? 15 minutes later, her hives subsided to just red blotchy cheeks, and her breathing was closer to normal. Hmm… Well I guess that might be all it was. But what if not? She has to sleep in our bed tonight regardless. We have to take shifts monitoring her through the night to be safe from relapse.
What the hell was that? UGH… the not knowing is the hardest part. So back to bed, prayers and fingers crossed.