31 May 2013
Adventures in Anaphylaxis.
I asked Grandma to look after Zane and I took Kaylee to the car and drove her to the urgent care facility two blocks from Grandma's house. They took one look at her already swelling lips and eyes and told me to take her to the ER immediately. So back into the car we went, and I ran a coupla lights and cursed more than a few other drivers rushing to get Kaylee to St. David's Round Rock. As we drove she was crying loudly most of the way, and it seemed every time I looked back at her she was more and more red and swollen. I reached back and held her hand - when the crying stopped, that's when I really started to worry. The memory of finding out my JROTC classmate David Antonie had died in college of severe anaphylactic shock kept playing over and over in my head. Smartest kid in the battalion, full ride to A&M... brought low by carrot cake. I rushed Kaylee into the ER and to be honest, their immediate action made me even more worried. I mean, I've seen people with bleeding wounds sit for hours in the waiting room and whoosh - they took Kaylee back without so much as asking if she had medical insurance. She was instantly surrounded by a doctor, three nurses and two techs. Epinephrine. Benadryl IV. Luckily, she never actually stopped breathing - but her eyes were nearly swollen shut at that point, and her lips looked like the wax candies we used to get as kids.
Dr. McCusky told me I could hold her to make her feel safer, and I did. I climbed into her bed and she fell right asleep on Daddy as the benadryl won out over the epi. We spent five hours in the ER watching her color slowly return to something less like a killer tomato. I'll admit it, folks, this is THE most scared I've ever been in my life. The thought that I might lose my little girl was earthshaking. Here it is five days later and it still sends chills down my back. The Doc told me this was a no-shit allergy and Kaylee would need to have an epi pen with us wherever we went. He quipped - not entirely kidding - that we should consider moving north where fire ants are much less prevalent. Here in Texas you can't go ten feet without finding an ant mound in a field or public park. It's like a poisonous, biting minefield. When Mary finally got my phone message and came up to the hospital, we swapped off for a bit so I could hit the restroom - but true to form Kaylee really, really wanted Daddy. Back into the bed I went until Kaylee was released.
The hospital staff was uniformly awesome. They spared no effort to make sure Kaylee was as comfortable as she could be, and one of the nurses (cute!) could tell how worried I was, and made sure to get my attention and tell me "You did good getting her here, Dad." When we got Kaylee home, we were able to see the actual bites once the major swelling had gone down. I counted FIFTY separate ant bites. All in under 20 seconds.
Ugh. I still shudder when I think about it. For Kaylee's part, she's bouncing back just fine. She's smiling and happy, snuggly and cheerful (when she's not acting like she's two) and generally an amazing little girl. She knows how do dial my friend Bobby on my cel phone. She can manupulate Netflix on the 360. She's smart as well as beautiful - and oh, yeah, she apparently kissed a boy at daycare two days ago. Now I have to find out who he is and make sure his intentions are honorable...