Monday, September 22, 2008

Break out the swiffer dust cloths ...

So last Wednesday, Chad and I took Audrey to a pediatric allergist. I am now so glad that we sprung (sprang? I should know this by now...) for the more expensive health insurance because we could just take her to a specialist without a referral.

I have suspected, oh, probably for a few years now, that Audrey has allergies. Every fall in particular she starts up with an itchy, runny nose, itchy eyes, and a nighttime cough. This year, the kicker was when she started complaining that she sometimes couldn't hear clearly from her one ear. After taking her to the pediatrician to rule out an ear infection, I still had no answers. The pediatrician was so stinking non-committal ...

Him: "No ear infection or anything, so she could just have congestion from a cold..."
Me: "Well, how do you know if it's a cold or allergies? This is ongoing and happens every year at this time."
Him: "Hmm, well, it's hard to tell."
Me: "Well, this has been going on for longer than a cold, and she has these same symptoms every fall."
Him: "I guess you could try some claritin and see if it helps."
Me: "I have been giving her claritin for months and it no longer seems to be helping." (I had already told him this earlier in the appointment, but I guess he didn't remember that from 5 minutes ago.)
Him: "You could also try giving her a little benadryl."
Me: "So she can be in a coma all day?" (okay, I didn't really make that smart alecky remark, I just wanted to...)

Anyhow, he didn't seem too concerned about finding a solution to Audrey's ongoing problem (and this was not her regular pediatrician, by the way, just the one that is always available when you need a sick appointment!) So I finally got some advice and a doctor recommendation from a friend whose child has allergies, and although we had to wait a month for the appointment, it was totally worth it. They did testing and we found out EXACTLY what she is allergic to. The good news is: She is NOT allergic to Diesel. The bad news is: she is very allergic to dust mites, which pretty much pervade our home, I'm sure. They are in carpet, stuffed animals, pillows, curtains, mattresses, sofas, basically any upholstered item. The doctor also said that they love to hang out in clutter. Unfortunately, so does my daughter! Her room is full of collections of every kind and has an abundance of stuffed animals and pillows that she gets tearful about having to part with. I am not quite sure how to handle all of it, so I think we will make some gradual changes. Oh, and I suppose I will have to be a little more diligent about dusting and vacuuming ... ugh.

The other news, which was actually more surprising to us, is that she has asthma. Apparently asthma and allergies are very closely related to each other, although I'm not sure how. (Guess I'll be checking some books out of the library on this topic.)

We came home with a couple prescriptions, one an allergy nasal spray, the other an inhaler (which includes one scary looking mask). After dropping over $100 at Target getting them filled (don't get me started on the pharmaceutical industry, I'll save that rant for another time!), we proceeded to spend a few very unhappy evenings attempting to get Audrey to cooperate with taking her meds. She was terrified by the mask, even though she had used it at the doctor's office while we were there. We ultimately had to use what we call in the psychology field "exposure therapy" ... you know, where you force someone to confront the thing they are afraid of, which results in them no longer being fearful ... somehow easier to do when it isn't your screaming 5 year old, however. Anyhow, after two tough nights she now takes her inhaler with NO trouble at all, so I guess it was worth all the holding her down and forcing her to do it. Yuck. Hope we don't have to do that again.

If anyone out there has any experience with asthma and/or allergies, and any words of wisdom, I'd love to hear your input. This is all new to me!


Chris Ann Schultz said...

I have allergies and I take Allium Cepa, Homeopathic pellets at the healthfood store. It works better than Claritin with no side effects like drugs have. It is really (red onion). Chantel takes it when she needs it too. We always look for natural options. We don't agree with supporting the drug industry either. To Your Health is a store in Quakertown, in the area between Kohl's and Wal-Mart and the Dr. John can give lots of advice, natural Dr. We find him so helpful in finding things that clear up without the side affects. Right now, Chantel is taking Cold Calm and a natural cough syrup when she needs as well!

Chris Ann Schultz said...

You didn't hear this from me. Chantel prayed for Audrey to feel better with her allergies!

ErinOrtlund said...

Aw, sorry to hear about the asthma! I hope she grows out of it, but if not, I hope you hit on some remedies that work and don't cause teariness!