Sunday, April 24, 2011

When Good Easter Treasure Hunts Go Bad

Friday we had a fantastically awesome day planned. My friend Wendy and I were going to take the kids to the zoo for their annual Easter treasure hunt. The fantastically awesome part was that our friend Leslie, who was an original member of our playgroup, but lives about an hour and a half away now, was going to make the trip with her mom and three girls to join us. Leslie is one of those friends that no matter how long you have been apart or how much has happened since you last saw one another, you can pick up exactly where you left off and not even miss a beat. I love Leslie, and I love Wendy too. Put the two together and I was incredibly excited to be spending the day with two of my very best friends. Awesome.

When we got to the zoo, however, the weather was not so awesome. It was cold, and rainy, and wet, and did I say cold…and wet? I really thought that they would move the festivities inside, but when we got out of the van I saw some people trudging up a hill with their Easter baskets in tow, I knew that we were screwed and would be doing this all in the rain…and COLD. Can you tell I’m not much of a cold person?


Everybody got there and the kids were as excited to see each other as the moms all were. We got our baskets and weather be damned headed out to gather our goodies. Now, these trips are fun and everything but they make me a little nervous because for Aaron, a kid with a peanut allergy, these trips are like navigating through a field of land mines. At any time we could encounter a table with treats of the peanut persuasion and I’d have to tell Aaron, “Sorry Buddy, gotta skip this one.” It makes me feel so bad for the poor kid that he can’t even just have fun and collect candy, but that he has to be constantly aware of what he picks up.

The second treat station that we came to was a kid’s candy dreamland; miniature Hershey bars, Hershey’s Kisses, and of course, mini peanut butter cups, littered the table in droves and the zoo volunteer manning the station said they could take whatever and as much as they’d like. I quickly showed Aaron the peanut butter cups and pointed him in the direction of the Hershey’s Kisses and the Hershey bars. Off to the next station.

By the time that we got to the end we were numb, but the kids didn’t seem to care. Their baskets were full of goodies and we were headed to McDonalds for lunch. What could be better?

So we loaded everybody up and headed out to get some lunch to counteract some of the candy that they had been shoveling in most of the morning. But as we drove down the hill, I looked in the rearview mirror at Aaron and he looked absolutely awful. He said that his chest hurt and that his belly was starting to feel bad. I figured that it must have had to do with being in the cold and rain for almost three hours and I told him that he would feel better once he warmed up and got something good into his belly; if you can call McDonalds good.


He never got any better though and at McDonalds he looked really rough. He didn’t want to eat, or play with the other kids, or anything. He complained about his chest and belly most of the way home and when we pulled into the garage he wanted to go right inside and straight to bed. Aaron only goes to bed at bedtime. Something was definitely up.

When Aaron s sick, or hurt, or just feeling sad the only person he wants is Elyse, and she jumps into nurse mode like nobody’s business. She sat next to him in bed and kissed him and hugged him and gave him his doggie to cozy up. When she felt like she had everything under control, she cuddled up next to him and content with her work she said, “I’m a good mommy.”

About a half an hour later, Mike came home and went to check on Aaron. He suggested that a bath might make him feel better and help him warm up after a long day in the cold. So Aaron goes into the bathroom to get undressed and all of a sudden, Mike is hauling a naked Aaron over to me on the couch to show me the ENORMOUS welts that were starting to cover his entire little body. PEANUTS!!!! That HAS to be wants going on. We immediately got him some Benadryl which usually works pretty fast, but when twenty minutes went by and he was not only getting more itchy, but started to develop a nasty cough and runny nose, we started to panic. A runny nose is one of the first signs that an anaphylactic reaction could be next.

We threw everybody together, dropped Elyse off to my parents, and hauled ass to the ER. When they examined him they said that his lungs sounded wheezy and they sent him right back to a room where we sat, and sat, and then sat some more, and watched everybody and their brother walk around looking like zombies trying desperately not to make eye contact with us which might prompt us to ask SOMEONE TO DO SOMETHING.

A nurse finally walked over and took some information about forty-five minutes later, and it was another good twenty minutes to a half an hour after that before the doctor rolled in. By this time the Benadryl was starting to help a little. He wasn’t coughing as much, but new welts were still popping up. The doctor decided that he should get some Prednisone and that they would watch him for another hour just to be sure that things were under control.

He sat back and let the steroid do its thing, enjoyed a popsicle, and slowly came back around to our cheerful little man.

All this time we figured that the exposure had to have come just from being around peanuts. It was in the air, kids everywhere were eating the stuff, maybe the Hershey’s Kisses were near the peanut butter cups and contaminated them. When we got home, I went to check out his bucket and about fell over when I saw an empty Mister Goodbar wrapper. In case you don’t know, a Mister Goodbar is a chocolate bar with PEANUTS IN IT!!!! I ran upstairs and was like, “AARON, DID YOU EAT THIS?” And he was like, “Um, yeah.” Well that explains it. That explains why his chest and belly were the first symptoms and why it took so long for welts to show up.

I feel like the worst mother alive. I let some peanuts slip through the cracks and it cost us a trip to the ER. Luckily that’s all it cost. It’s good to know that when he actually ingests a peanut (or a whole miniature chocolate bar full of them) that he doesn’t immediately go into anaphylactic shock, but that doesn’t make me feel much better.

He is completely back to normal now and very anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Easter Bunny. Thank God that guy knows the peanut situation. I can guarantee that there will be no Mister Goodbars in Aaron’s Easter basket this morning.


Leslie said...

Oh no! That had to be scary. I'm so glad he's okay.

Amy said...

I'm just so glad that we didn't need the Epi pen. You'd never know anything even happened now. He's completely back to his usual self.