my first (only, hopefully last) epipen moment...

Posted on: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 3:43pm
treysmom's picture
Joined: 09/01/2007 - 09:00

Just wanted to share my story because I still feel sooooo stupid when I think about it. First of all, I am a 42 year old who has worked in the medical field for 21 years and think I am a very cautious, pay attention to every detail kinda mom. This is just another example of how we can't fully understand food allergy or predict what is safe because we never know. My son is allergic to peanut & tree nuts. We discovered his allergy after he ate a boiled peanut and became violently ill and covered with hives. That was an ER visit, and we went home with epipen in hand. After he was diagnosed there were a couple of occasions we were around peanuts... at my in-laws (who did not really get it yet) where there was a birthday cake for someone covered with pecans that were falling off. My son sat at the table flicking them around with his fingers and I was about to have a heart attack when I saw him... and it did nothing to him. Then a couple of months later we go to a circus and have to sit on the ground... there were peanuts being eaten all around us and shells on the ground by us! He plays with them, same scenario... I am about to have another heart attack and it does nothing to him once again. Well I don't remember how much time passed but I could tell you the exact date and probably time of this next event!!! On the way home from summer camp one day last June, Trey said "uh-oh Mommy, I got gum in my hair..." I will leave out what went through my head then. But the first thing I thought of was peanut butter. I thought long and hard (I thought) about this and even called a couple of my medical friends including my husband. Everyone sort of agreed that if he touched peanut s and nuts in the past and had no consequences that it should be ok to put a little on the ends of his hair.... WRONG!!!! It worked beautifully to get the gum out and he just sat there and let me do it. He whined a little, but it wasn't until I went in front of him to get a washcloth that I noticed his face was COVERED with hives! Once again I will leave out my thoughts but you know... I immediately gave him Benadryl but I could see his face swelling. Through all of this I was doing a good job of multi-tasking... called my inlaws to get one on the way to my house to stay with Trey's twin sister because I knew we were going to the hospital, called my husband who was at work at the hospital, and my neighbor to alert him of what was going on. I gave him the epipen Jr. (and learned that I will have to sit on him if I ever do it again) and called 911. Somewhere in there he threw up. It all happened very fast and I was actually very calm considering, I guess my protective mother mode and a little of my medical side kicked in. THANK GOD! When the paramedics arrived he had gotten no worse, covered with hives and swollen face, but his vitals were good. They watched him and monitored him for a good 20 minutes and nothing changed. They offered to take him to the hospital but told me that they thought he was stable and that it would be safe for me to transport him, so I did. Lights on, talking, and calling firends who work at the hospital trying to get in faster... We stayed in the ER for observation for a few hours and he was doing fine so we went home. His eyes stayed very swollen until late the next afternoon. Wow! That was an experience I just did not know what to say or think... But let me tell any of you who may ever ponder the thought of using peanut butter on your peanut-allergic child's hair... SHAVE THEIR HEAD! Do NOT think it is ok just on the hair because it is not. I am a freak about his allergy now. I always thought I was careful but I guess it took that to make me realize that you never know. I know how lucky I am that it wasn't worse. And now I live every day scared in the back of my mind that something will happen one day when I am not there to move so fast. I get it now. People who don't live our lives don't. Sorry so long, that's my scariest story & I wanted to share it.

Posted on: Sat, 09/01/2007 - 4:33pm
cynde's picture
Joined: 12/10/2002 - 09:00

Hi, I'm so sorry you and your son had to go through that. I'm glad he is OK.
IMO though, the ambulance attendants should not have told you to take your son in yourself. They should know that things can go from bad to worse very quickly and they are better able and prepared to deal with it than you by yourself. Plus, you usually have a better chance of getting seen sooner by a Dr. in the ER. Which I'm sure you already know.
I don't know if you've heard of biphasic reactions yet, I will try and reraise a thread about them. They are a second phase of a reaction and can be as bad and sometimes worse than the original reaction.
I hope I'm not coming across as trying to tell you what you did wrong, I am just relaying things that we have learned along the way from our own errors.

Posted on: Sun, 09/02/2007 - 12:26am
23smiley's picture
Joined: 05/24/2007 - 09:00

I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I just want to give you a hug now!
This got me thinking though, what is it in PB that gets gum out of hair so easily? Would Sunbutter work just as well? Or how about olive oil - assuming this stuff is safe for your kids?

Posted on: Sun, 09/02/2007 - 1:22am
treysmom's picture
Joined: 09/01/2007 - 09:00

I don't know what in PB gets gum out, I guess the oil. I already thought about olive oil for if it ever happens again but I think my son ilearned a little bit about playing with his gum too [img][/img] I have never heard of sunbutter, I saw it on this website for the first time.
Yes, I have heard of biphasic reactions NOW and looking back it scares me to death what could very easily have happened. Believe me, I will never take him myself again! I will not take anyones advice as telling me what to do... please tell me anything you have to offer because I know I have a lot to learn and want to. I have a long road ahead... School scares me the most.
Thanks to all of you for being here. This is a great support group since we have none here.

Posted on: Wed, 09/05/2007 - 8:04am
Greenlady's picture
Joined: 06/30/2004 - 09:00

Hi Lisa -
Thank you so much for sharing your story. Who knows, you might have just saved another kids life. What a scary experience! I'm so glad it worked out okay in the end.
Take care.

Posted on: Sat, 12/15/2007 - 5:22pm
bhcassidyjj's picture
Joined: 06/01/2007 - 09:00

What a horrible thing for the two of you to have to go through. About a year ago my daughter put gum in my hair. My first thought was peanut butter, but ever since finding out about her allergy we don't keep it in the house. Luckily it was in the front part of my hair so I could just cut it out. Hey, it was time to have bangs again anyway...
As far as transporting a child having a reaction myself, well, I only tried that once and had to pull over and call an ambulance when I was about halfway there. She was only covered in hives when we left but then started having trouble breathing on the way. Scared me to death...

Posted on: Mon, 01/28/2008 - 7:40am
Boots's picture
Joined: 12/21/2007 - 16:15

Thank you for sharing your story! My 3 year old got gum stuck in her hair a few months ago. I was at work and she was at grandmas. I thank God they didn't try PB to get it out. She tried the ice cube trick and it wouldn't come out so we took her to the guy who cuts our hair. 10 bucks and 30 minutes later it was out!!

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