Giganto, Giggles and the Diva have all had birthdays within the last month. We visited the doctor to have their annual check-ups done. FPD and I were both in attendance, along with Bubbly, who always comes along for the ride. Everything went well, the kids are all super healthy. The Diva and Giganto needed routine immunizations. We see a wonderful pediatrician, who happens to work in the same office that I work I in every day.
I have to put this out there. I am pro-vaccine. After having ShyGuy cut his leg done to the bone in Ghana and almost not being able to get Tetanus vaccine (thanks Rob Watson!) I’m thankful for the access we have to vaccines. This is my personal choice. I am also thankful that we live in a country where people are free to choose what they feel is right for their children. I’m not looking to start a vaccine debate. You won’t sway me anyway, too many years in the PICU seeing the illnesses of unvaccinated children has made me a true believer. *End disclaimer, please don’t email me with anti-vaccine literature*
FPD stayed with the Diva and Giganto to do their vaccines while I went next door to Giggles’ appointment. She’s a pre-teen now and we thought she would be more comfortable not having her exam in the same room as her brother. About five minutes into the visit, FPD knocked on the door and told me that Giganto was complaining of “an itchy head”. I told him that it wasn’t a vaccine side effect. I basically shut the door on him, thinking he was tired and not dealing well with a child who had just had four shots. He looked like he agreed, and said he was taking the kids out to the waiting room to play. Not thirty seconds later he knocked again and said “you have to look at Giganto!” I could tell from the tone in his voice that he was nervous. FPD never gets nervous. The man doesn’t have the fear gene. Giganto came into the room crying. He was red, super sweaty and very upset.
We gave him a drink of water and I tried to comfort him. He just got more sweaty and more upset. The pediatrician and I looked at each other nervously. Then he pulled at his shirt and began to shout “I can’t breathe well! I can’t breathe well!” I remember saying “Okay, now I’m getting scared!” at the same time she lifted him and shouted “let’s get him on the table!” Everything moved so fast after that. His eyes rolled back in his head and she shouted for an Epi-pen. Before I knew it, all my co-workers, the people I work with every single day, were in the room implementing the emergency procedures that I had helped organize. It was unreal.
I’ve never been on the other side of this equation. I’ve always been the one who is running for the Oxygen, the one who is dialing 911. I couldn’t help but think about what we do if we lost his airway. Would we have to intubate him in the field? Would he end up trached? I realized I knew way too much and just needed to focus on my baby. Poor Giganto. At one point, as I was trying to get him to respond to me (by sternal rubbing him and very nearly slapping his face) he pushed my hands away and said “I’m not dying mom!” My only thought was, unless we do something, you are dying.
We ended up admitted to the hospital for observation. He needed some IV meds to ensure he didn’t have another reaction. He recovered completely after about two hours and wanted a Happy Meal. Done, Little Big Man. After everything he went through, a Happy Meal was the least I could do. We spent the rest of the day ordering room service, watching movies and playing Play Station. By the end of the day, he decided this was his “lucky day”. He got to ride in an ambulance, order all the food he could eat and play video games. What more could a boy want? Hmmmm….
I got home, tucked Giganto into bed next to me, and spent enough time thinking about what almost was to lose it. I almost lost my baby. I can’t think about that anymore. Instead, I have spent the last three days thanking God that I work with such awesomely competent, well-trained people. I thank God that I live in a place with access to medical care that made it possible for my baby to survive this.
We will do more testing to figure out the cause of Giganto’s reaction. It was not a vaccine reaction. He is most likely allergic to latex, because he is also allergic to bananas which are also a tropical plant, and one of the vaccines does contain trace amounts of latex. There was no way we could have known. He has never had problems with latex in the past. It was a one in one million chance that this would have happened. My boy is truly a miracle. For now I’ll just wait for answers, and thank God that the outcome was what it was.
who doesn’t exactly consider this day “lucky”, but who is blessed to have her boy healthy and happy.