Thursday, March 16, 2006

Don't drink the Kool-Aid. Or eat the Popsicle.

Sunday, after having woken up so early, we went to our neighbors' for the weekly neighborhood breakfast. Three, four, five families come, depending on who is in town and awake, and we eat and chat the morning away.

On this occasion, Hannah, after biting into a strawberry, began to complain that her mouth hurt. Her teeth. Or maybe her mouth. She wasn't sure about the location, but was confident about the pain. So she and I left early, and came home to snuggle. Only, I was really cranky, and wanted to get work done, so she lay on the bed and I started taping the walls in the hallway.

Jesse came home around 11, and she was still complaining, so he gave her some tylenol and carried her around for a bit, until she fell asleep. She NEVER does that, but we had awoken at 5 am, so it sort of made sense.

A few hours later, one coat of paint almost completely applied, she woke up and said, "I feel better!" followed by, "Not really, it still hurts."

She went outside to play with friends, but came in immediately, which is when Jesse noticed that her throat was swollen. Yes, her lymph node was so enlarged, we gathered her up and went straight to the ER.

Luckily, she wans't having any problems breathing, just intermittent pain. She tried not to swallow or speak, which led to some fun charade-like antics and much use of the ASL alphabet while at the hospital. We were there for a total of 5 hours, and they were stumped. Her throat looked OK, they even took X-Rays to rule out obstructions and hidden infections. No fever. Just swelling and pain.

I had remembered, towards the end of our visit, a similar occasion 2 years ago. On the last day of school, her teacher had called to say that Hannah suddenly was complaining of a sore throat, and wouldn't swallow, after having had some snack (nuts). We did a strep culture, negative, at the pediatrician's, and after popsicle she felt better. The ER doc, upon hearing this, recommended we follow up with our PCP since we had a history of this type of event.

It wasn't until after the last visit by the doctor that we began to put it all together. On Saturday, Hannah had enjoyed a strawberry smoothie. On Sunday, while Hazel and I were at WFM, Jesse had given her a strawberry popsicle. And then at breakfast, the pain started when she ate the strawberry.

As a baby, Hannah had a mild allergy to strawberries, which she seemed to outgrow. Her lips would get a little red, her face might get splotchy, but that was it.

After we left the ER, we stopped at a pharmacy to pick up some benadryl. I gave her some in the car, and within 2 hours her throat swelling was diminished and the pain was gone. We think she has a threshold, past which we now know not to go, for strawberries. And maybe nuts? At the next well visit, I'll ask about the right age to do an allergy panel.

Scariness averted, thank you, Universe.

BTW, it's again an early morning for me - up at 4:30 - and the birds are just beginning their songs. I hope we have no similar shenanigans today.

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