Well Harper is still fine. We haven't (knock on wood) even had a reemergence of hives, which the ER doc said was a possibility.
I had intentions of giving a more thorough play-by-play of yesterday's misadventure, but now I'm not feeling so much like reliving all the details. I also talked extensively about the event on the phone with various friends/family members today, which has purged much of my desire to recount things from beginning to end. I will however share a few other details and answer some of the questions I've gotten more than once.
We have no idea what caused this reaction. As far as we know peanuts (and possibly peas) are the only food allergies Harper has. The most likely thing is that there was some peanut residue in the house we were visiting. In reality we take risks every time we leave our peanut free home. We have decided, for the time being, that we are not going to live in a bubble, nor make Harper live that way. Now if we started to have many incidents like we did yesterday, we'd have to reevaluate some of our choices. We'll cross that bridge, well, you know. We have an appointment with our allergist on Monday and we'll see what recommendations she has.
Giselle asked how we kept Harper entertained for 6 1/2 hours in the ER. . . well I have never been more grateful that my child likes to watch television. The ER in our neighborhood hospital has a little cable television in each ER "room." So thanks to Disney, PBS, and Nickelodeon, Harper was fairly entertained. She was able to color a little bit, but there was a blood oxygen monitoring thing on her finger the entire time and that made holding anything difficult.
I have said in the past that I tend to be fairly calm in an emergency, especially if I am something of an "in charge" person in the circumstance. I tend to be okay and then freak out later. When I realized Harper was having a problem yesterday I asked Chris to bring me her bag, with the epi pens in it, call 911 and tell them we had an allergic reaction and were using the epi pen. Then I just did it. They really are easy to use, and Harper didn't know what was coming, so she didn't fight me before I had the chance to stick her. You basically just pull the safety cap off the back of the epi and then "firmly push" (i.e. jab) it into the outer thigh, hold it there for ten seconds, and then massage the spot of the injection for another ten seconds. Harper's hives were gone and her wheezing had considerably improved by the time the paramedics arrived.
One thing that was particularly difficult was the fact that the ER doctor made me feel awful for choosing our local hospital. The house we were visiting was literally less than two miles from our local hospital, and the closest children's hospital is probably at least twenty minutes away. So when the paramedics mentioned the children's hospital, I asked if we could go to the closer one. They said it was fine. However, the local hospital, I now know, does not admit patients under the age of 16. If Harper had needed to be admitted, they'd have had to transfer us to the children's hospital. So the doctor nearly yelled at me about the fact that we'd come to the closer hospital, especially since Harper was basically stable when she was transported. After I apologized and said I hadn't known, he looked at me and said, "Well that's why they have children's hospitals." That would mark the point in the story when I lost my composure and started blubbering. If the paramedics had told me we really should go to the children's hospital I would not have argued with them, but they didn't say a thing. If the paramedics didn't know we should have taken her there, how was I supposed to know?
After talking with a friend who's brother is a paramedic, it seems that the doctor was a little out of line. And I really didn't need to be spoken to like that, even if I had made a mistake. I am thinking of writing a note to the head of the ER to mention it, because of all the people you don't need to make feel worse, parents of children who are in the hospital are pretty high on the list. Also, at one point, the doctor stuck his head in to check on us and said he wasn't going to come any closer because he'd just had some peanut butter crackers to eat. Do you think that was the only food choice available to him? I didn't think about it too much at the time (my mind was full) but now I am feeling angry about that.
Whew, guess I had more to say than I realized.
In other news, we had our family portrait taken this morning. This has become an annual event and we'll use one of the pictures to make Christmas cards. Sadly, Rebound will not be in the photo this year. We tried, oh how we tried. We had two good years of family photos with the dog, but he was simply not having it today. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. The lack of dog was more than made up for by super cute photos of Harper. It was a much better experience getting photos of a nearly-three-year-old this year than a nearly-two-year-old last year.
If you have read this far, you certainly deserve some photos. Here are a few of the day Harper and Matt went to get pumpkins: