Calvin's Woes

Growing up I was the child who got sick with everything, I was the only one with allergies and asthma, and if there was something going around I was bound to catch it. Unfortunately, it looks like Calvin is going to be that child as well.

Last October is when everything started up for him. He caught a cold, and within 24 hours his runny nose and congestion turned into trouble breathing. When I put him to bed his breathing was raspy but not terrible. I was up late working when I could hear him over the monitor and I knew something was really wrong. His breathing started to become shallow and more rapid. I took him out of the crib and sent a video to my mom and friend, who are both nurses, to see what they thought. At this point I thought maybe he just needed a nebulizer, since he had breathing issues once before while sick and had to use one. But he just kept sounding worse so we decided the emergency room was what would be best. By the time I met my mom at the ER he was sounding so bad, and I was nervous. We ended up having to wait even though he was struggling to breathe, but after some time my mom put her Grandma skills to work and insisted that he be seen immediately. When we finally got in the room they checked his oxygen levels and it was in the 70’s and he was starting to look blue. They immediately got a mask on him with albuterol, and after three rounds his oxygen still wasn’t good. An X-ray showed his lungs were really ballooned as well. There seemed to be so many things going on at once I wasn’t sure what was happening or if he was going to be ok. After having already lost a baby all I could think about was that I couldn’t possibly lose another. It was both terrifying and emotional.

He was moved up to the pediatric intensive care unit where he spent two days, one of them on continuous albuterol. The first day was just heartbreaking, he was too little to understand what was going on and there was no calming him down. But thankfully his breathing improved and on the third day he was moved to the regular pediatric floor to spend one more night for observation. At the hospital he was diagnosed with reactive airway disease that was triggered by a virus. He was sent home with a nebulizer and a collection of medications. It took him almost a month to recover and get back to “normal” but he still has issues with wheezing. He sees a specialist every couple of months and is on a steroid inhaler that he still takes every day along with singular and his rescue inhaler, and so far it’s been under control. I still can’t help but to think what would have happened if I had fallen asleep that night and not heard his breathing become bad, and I’m so thankful for the outcome we had.

A couple months after he was hospitalized I was feeding the kids lunch one day when I realized that I had never given him peanut butter, or peanuts for that matter. We don’t eat a lot of peanut butter in our house and rarely have candy or baked goods with peanuts. So I decided to give him just a little bit on a piece of toast. Within minutes he started to get very large hives all over his face and then his eyes started to swell shut. Of course this scared the crap out of me because of his breathing issues so I immediately took the food away, washed him off in the sink to make sure he didn’t have any peanut butter left on him and gave him Benadryl. Luckily he hadn’t had too much so the Benadryl helped after some time. When I mentioned this to his specialist he referred us to allergist. He was tested for common allergens along with cats, dogs, peanuts and tree nuts. The reaction to peanuts was pretty prominent so that allergy was confirmed, along with an allergy to cats and dogs. He was also officially diagnosed with asthma. This made me feel terrible. I felt guilty, and still do, that maybe I somehow caused the peanut allergy by not giving it to him sooner. We also had just gotten our cat Stanley at the end of the summer, and knew this was probably making all of his issues worse. The allergist was the third doctor to recommend no pets in the home, and I knew that this time we needed to follow through. We all loved Stanley so much, and still do. Luckily my brother who lives a few miles away offered to take him in to keep his other cat company and so we could visit.

These last few months have been difficult all around with the never-ending sickness and new things to worry about. But I’m convinced things WILL get better now as we begin to improve our health and look forward to all of the happy things to come this year.

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