Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Scariest Encounter I Ever Had....

Being a parent has got to be the toughest job of all time. From birth till you die your children are always your biggest concern. Despite their destiny to annoy you and stress you out to no end, (especially when they hit their teens) they always have those sweet smiles, cute giggles and funny things they say and do that makes your heart melt. I have four, from 2 to 20 so I have seen my share of it all. Last night however, I had a new and frightening experience that is on the charts as the scariest encounter I have EVER had as a parent.

My nearly four-year-old son Zane is deathly allergic to several foods... when I say deathly, I am not for one moment exaggerating, we are talking off the charts Epi pen allergic. When I had him tested at age 2 after a peanut incident, I found out the severity of his issues with nuts and certain grasses and was deeply concerned, however after over a year of no incidents it was kind of out of my mind. He is fully aware of his nut allergy and understands to stay away from them and of course we monitor everything he eats.

Last night, I made a very yummy gluten free pasta dish with grilled chicken and shrimp for Corey and I and made the kids an alternative meal. I NEVER give Zane anything that I feel commonly induces allergic reactions so shellfish has been off the list since day one. Being the curious toddler he is... without my knowing, he sneaked a taste of the pasta. (we were eating around 7:30) I put he and his baby sister to bed at about 8:30 and began doing some cleaning and straightening. He came out around 9:00 telling me that he "was sick and needed medicine." I sent him back to bed thinking that he was "crying wolf" in an attempt to not go to sleep.

At 10:15, my cute little guy came out of his room into the family room wheezing and gasping for air, he was gagging like he was going to vomit but could not breathe. I was freaked out and began to panic. His cute little face began to lose color and his lips were turning blue. Corey called 911 as I tried to calm him down but being hysterical myself it was a bit counterproductive. For a brief moment I stopped as I held his little face and looked at his eyes saying "sweetie, it's going to be okay", not knowing if I was telling the truth. All of a sudden I thought... Epi pen! this must be an allergic reaction. I quickly got it out of the medicine cabinet (thanks GOD I had unpacked that box from our recent move!) I nervously read the instructions since it had never been used as he continued to gasp for air. I held it up clipped the safety and stabbed him in the leg.

Within a few minutes he was breathing easier, and my heart started beating normally again. I spoke to the dispatcher on the phone and told her that I had administered the epinephrine and he was starting to breathe better. He could not talk at all, his voice was hoarse but he was beginning to calm, and so was I. At 11:05, more than 25 minutes after the 911 call the Fire Rescue showed up and 10 minutes later the paramedics showed up. If the Epi pen had not been in reach or if I had not thought to take it out, this story would likely have had a very different end since it had taken them so long to arrive.

I learned a few obvious lessons last night, one being that the Epi pen needs to be within reach at all times and two... you can never assume that calling 911 will save your life. Something else I learned is that no matter how many times your children cry wolf, remember that it only takes one misunderstanding to change everything. When I got into the ambulance to ride to the hospital with my little guy I cried as I apologized to him for not believing he was sick... to which he whispered in his hoarse little voice "it's okay Mommy, I am going to be better now."

"Hug your little ones tight tonight and no matter how much they drive you crazy... love them more than they need you to because one day they could leave you unexpectedly"

 Riding in the captain's chair in the ambulance
 Waiting for the doctor in triage
 Listening intently to what the doctor is asking just before admitting him
Enjoying his first (and hopefully last) hospital breakfast