Monday, November 15, 2010


On Saturday night, I brought cashews into the house. Now, I know my son has an allergy to nuts, but he can eat almonds and he has never had a problem with anyone eating peanut butter in front of him. He did not ingest the cashews, as I prepared separate servings for him (not that he eats everything I make).

About an hour or so after dinner, the wheezing started. Then the coughing and the difficulty breathing. He seemed flushed and slightly puffy, though that could have been him rubbing his face.

It seemed a full-fledged asthma attack. But why? Signs pointed to the cashews. We administered a variety of medicines from our vast array of respiratory medicines: Benedryl as an anti-histimine (if indeed he was having an allergic reaction); albuterol inhaler as a bronchodilator, so he could breathe; eventually some Flovent (a steroid) in case his lungs were irritated.

Unfortunately, 1.5 days later, he is still congested despite multiple applications of meds. His lungs sound horrible. We kept him home from school and my husband is home with him. No fever. No real lethargy. Just horrible sounds in his lungs. He has an appointment with his allergy/asthma doctor this afternoon.

The pediatrician on call this weekend seemed surprised when I called him Sunday and told him that E still had congestion. Could it be a cold that came on suddenly and coincidentally, he wondered. His point is well-taken. Every other kid I know has a cold. Could he too simply have a cold? Or was it the cashews? Could it be a reaction to environmental irritants (we had the windows in his room open all day Saturday because it was nice out)?

What's so frustrating is that we almost never know for sure, especially when it's happening. We just treat the symptoms, then days later, when we can see it all in perspective, we try to make sense of it.

It reminds me, too, how rarely we are sick in my family. And we are. We certainly get the random cold virus here and there, but for three of us it usually passes pretty quickly. But for my poor respiratorily sensitive boy, it usually hits a little harder.

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