Friday, November 12, 2010

Oh, bother!

For almost a year now I have been on allergy shots. Due to my year-round allergies (which are pretty bad) my allergist decided immunotherapy was in order. They've been such a help. I still am dealing with daily allergy symptoms but I'm also able to feel like I am able to do things like take T to the park or the zoo without automatically getting sick from the allergens encountered. I was supposed to be done by now. Due to many happenings, including travel, illness, having to go back a dose now and then, immunotherapy is taking a lot longer than planned. And now it's about to take longer still.

You see, the doses of allergy injections go up gradually and are color coded. Green has the least amount of allergens that are inserted under the skin, then comes blue, then yellow, and finally red. After you finish with red you reach the maintaining phase which means only once monthly shots for about three years. About three weeks ago I finally made it to the red vials. So excited! The end was finally in sight. Surprisingly I didn't have any reaction. My last couple vials of yellow had given me some minor swelling. The greatest swelling I experienced was the size of a penny. But nothing yet on the red.

Yesterday afternoon I bundled T in the car and went to get my third red dose. The nurse who administered it told me it'd be a pretty big jump and fuller dose this time. I reminded her about the swelling before and asked if there was something extra she could give me since I'd been told by another nurse to ask as a preventative. She told me, sure, I can give you some ice. That's what most patients get around now because the shots start to sting more. "Ice? I've been getting ice the past couple months due to swelling," I told her. "Ice and cream should do it, we can try more next week if you have any trouble," she responded, and gave it to me. The injection site stung so that it almost burned. I'd not felt a sting so strong on any of my injection sites before. I went to the front, paid my fee, and sat in the waiting room to wait out my 20 minutes.

Nothing seemed to go wrong except that the stinging continued instead of decreasing. I left and continued my evening as usual. As the evening wore on I noticed the burning sensation in my left arm only increased. It started feeling warm. I prepared for bed as my arm itched and burned. I took another dose of antihistamine as my allergist direct if my injection bothered me. I also got out the benedryl cream I had for that reason and rolling up my sleeve prepared to slather it on.

I called to my husband "I think I need some ice or a cold washcloth at least!" for the injection site had started to swell. It was a bigger than the size they told me I'd have to go back a dose for (quarter size)- actually, much bigger than that, and rectangular.  I made sure my epi-pen was beside my bed when I went to sleep (in case of a severe reaction) and that my husband knew how to administer it if I needed help. I put more cream on it too. It really itched.

In the morning the swelling didn't look as puffy, but it was bigger! It was rectangular and had grown to the size of a dollar bill. It was red and felt warm to the touch. My arm felt stiff. It burned. At least the itching wasn't as bad as the night before. I put another compress on it, more cream, and took my normal morning allergy medications. Then I waited for the nurses's station to open and called.

Long story short, I'm going back to the beginning of the red doses. And they're going to increase the doses slower this time. I have a feeling level 4 (red) is going to take a while. After all, on top of going back to the beginning of red I'll have to miss several weeks in December and go back 2 doses when they start it back up again in January. So instead of finishing in January, I *hope* I can finish by some time in March assuming nothing else gets in the way. Of course it will be cold and flu season which may push it back further. Bother! How utterly discouraging!

I have such a love-hate relationship with allergy immunotherapy!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Went down to TN this weekend again! It'd only been a couple weeks for T and me, but for my husband it's been almost two months. His transmission blew last time so he never made it!

Our timing was perfect. We left during nap time and T slept almost the entire way down. That made for a great time just to chat with S. Yes, I know, he's only 19 months old. But he already is listening and interjecting his own comments into our conversations! The drive was rather peaceful. He woke up just in time to recognize where we were. When we reached Nana's and Papop's neighborhood he excitedly chanted "Nana! Nana! Nana!" until we pulled up to the house.

Sunday after worship we hardly had time to get home from church, dress down while my no-church MIL dressed up, and head off to S's cousin's baby shower. She's having a little girl in a couple months and wow! was that shower pink! There were two games at the shower that really stood out. I don't know about you, but I have a tendancy to dislike most shower games. Either they can be crude and rude, or they can be boring. But these games were neither. I enjoyed them.

One game was Baby Jeopardy, played in two teams with 1 member elected as the spokeswoman for the team. The categories were "Mother Goose Rhymes" "Children's Songs" "Pregnancy and Babies" "TV Moms". The hilarious thing is the two teams chose to answer questions from hardest to easiest. Our team captain chose as our first question the category "Pregnancy and Babies": Bottles, pacifiers, cups, and other plastic baby items commonly say they are free of this substance...what is BPA. TV moms is the category that was actually stumping most people. The other team used mostly TV moms while ours mostly chose the rhymes and songs- we ended up getting all questions right, they lost because they were stumped on a TV moms question. You know, they never asked about the Brady bunch, I'd think she was an essential famous TV mom! Old, true, but one of the most famous.

At the beginning of the shower everyone received a small pad of paper and a pen. "Hold on to them, the game will come later," we were told. Baby Jeopardy ended and gift opening began. Halfway through C (S's cousin) opened up a diaper bag "Time to play!" the hostess announced!

It was Memory.

The game was this: the hostess had put a collection of 23 fairly common baby items in the diaper bag. She held each one up briefly and then put them in another bag. After she finished everyone had 3 minutes to write down as many as possible. Another mom and I both tied at 17 before the time was up as the most answers. The game was really fun. Most women though thought there should've been A) an even number to remember and B) less and actually, to be a much more fair game, I totally agree. However it was, with the Jeopardy game (and decent categories/questions IN the jeopardy game) one of the most enjoyable games I've played at a shower.

In case you're wondering, the prize was some "Christmas tree" scented anti-bacterial lotion and 3 Christmas-colored wash cloths.