The past 36 hours or so have been pure emotional torture. Day to day living with an infant with food allergies is hard. Trialing new foods is always a nerve-wracking day. Monday morning, Ronny and I decided to throw caution to the wind and give little man mango for breakfast with his oatmeal. To say it was a disaster was an understatement!
I started by rubbing a bit of the mango on Luke’s forehead to see if he would have a topical reaction. After 10 minutes, and no reaction, we decided to give him a spoonful (or two) and see what happened. Well……..he broke out in hives almost immediately. He was screaming and crying, clawing at his tongue and scratching at his body. We gave him Benadryl orally and rubbed Benadryl lotion on him, and he seemed to be doing okay. The hives went away after a bit, and he was back to his ornery little self in no time.
The day turned south pretty quickly at 2:10 pm. Ronny had just gotten to work and I was holding Luke while rocking back and forth trying to get him to take a nap. Luke had his head on my shoulder and was drifting off, when he puked. I could hear it coming up, and fully expected to be covered in vomit….but it never came out. He started choking and gasping for air. I could tell that he had aspirated the vomit, and was struggling to breathe. In an instant he was turning blue, and went limp in my arms. He wasn’t breathing. I have never been so scared in my entire life. I thought he was going to die.
In an instant I had him flipped upside down and I pounded (pounded isn’t the right word, but it’s the only one I can think of right now) him on the back twice. With the second hit on the back, out came the vomit and Luke started crying. THANK GOD! I got him settled and back to sleep, and then called Ronny. He told me to keep an eye on Luke and call him if anything else happens.
Well, what kind of life would it be if the rest of the day went off without a hitch? When Luke woke up from his nap, he pooped and started screaming. I went to change his diaper and his entire diaper area was bright red and covered in blisters and hives. As I wiped the poop off with a wipe, he started screaming and grabbing at the wipe. I looked down and the skin on his testicles was raw and bleeding. I started to cry. Why in the hell does my poor baby have to go through all of this?
I put him into the bath tub, where he seemed to be doing alright……as hives were slowly creeping up his entire body.
I immediately called my mom first, and then Ronny. I told him that Luke was covered in hives, his butt was blistering and his ball sack was bleeding. Ronny told me to bring Luke to him at work (Ronny works 7 minutes away from our house) and call the pediatrician. I threw a diaper on Luke, put him in a tee shirt, grabbed his bottle and we headed out the door. I called the pediatrician on the way and they got him in 15 minutes after I called.
Ronny and I took Luke in and they checked him out. He’s 16 pounds 12. 5 ounces, and was doing well. His lungs were clear, he wasn’t showing any signs of swelling or difficulty breathing and seemed to be in good spirits. The hives and genital issues were a secondary reaction to the mango as it passed through his system. They told us to give Luke Benadryl every 6 hours and call the allergist in the morning.
I called the allergist this morning. They said that Luke definitely had a primary and secondary reaction. It would have been better if he had puked a lot earlier in the day, but when he puked, his airway was swollen, which caused him to aspirate the mango vomit. As he aspirated the vomit, he sent his body into a fast track allergic response as the allergen was sent through his system. When he pooped, his skin reacted to the contact with the mango, as well as the acid in his stomach that couldn’t be digested because of the mango, causing a form of acid burns on his butt.
It turns out that mango is in the same family as cashews, which we knew Luke is allergic to. Mango also cross reacts to apples and pears, which we also know he is allergic to. The probability that he was going to react to the mango was incredibly high, and he proved those odds correct.
I spent the day researching food allergy cross reactions. It’s a complicated web, and I have so much more to learn. I feel so bad for my little man. He doesn’t deserve any of this. The saddest part is that he really doesn’t know any different. This is his life, everyday. He hasn’t known a pain free, allergy free day in the entire 7 months he’s been alive. It sucks. It’s sad. It has to get better!