Today has just been one of those days. Mike and I have been psyching ourselves up for the start of our week on the M-friendly diet which starts tomorrow morning. The sun came out to make today a beautiful day and we had every intention on going out on a family bike ride, possibly with a picnic in tow.
However, despite the best laid plans, today has not gone as we were expecting.
Our hiccup started at around 8.30am this morning, when G and M descended on me and woke me up to tell me that M had some spots on his back and he was very, very itchy. A quick glance showed some unpleasant red welts on his lower back, which he couldn’t stop scratching. When I examined a little further, the welts were in fact across his left shoulder, in two patches on his middle back, down one side and in a patch at the top of his buttocks too.
M has been a little out of sorts for a couple of days and yesterday evening described his feelings of a “tummy-ache” and “feeling very hot inside my tummy”, even though he had no obvious temperature. Today he was more than a little out-of-sorts, but considerably more grumpy than usual. He has over-reacted to everything that happens, but then flaked out with no energy to keep his frustrations going.
I consulted my Mum, her medical books and Dr Google. We were a little concerned about measles given the current epidemic in Wales in particular, but didn’t feel his rash looked enough like measles spots to warrant us being unduly concerned. I tried our local GP, but the health centre was closed because it’s a Saturday, and we all know that you can’t get ill on a weekend! The recommendation on the recorded phone message was to call the NHS’s new number “111”.
As Mike organised a cooling bath for M and supervised both children getting dressed, I phoned the NHS helpline and talked through M’s symptoms with the phone operator. Her reply was that we needed to keep M cool and hydrated and she would arrange for a consulting operator to call me back within 2 hours as she felt that his condition warranted it. I gave my mobile phone number as the contact number and decided with Mike that we would leave G with my Mum and take M into the A&E department of the local Children’s Hospital.
Off we went on our unplanned Saturday morning visit to the local A&E and I have to say now how impressed I was with the NHS 111 operators. During our 25 minute journey, not only had the consulting operator called me back and discussed M’s symptoms, but she also arranged for the local out-of-hours GP to phone. His recommendation was that we came in and got the spots checked out, particularly because of M’s underlying condition and booked us into the Out of Hours GP surgery at the local hospital.
We got there and were seen unbelievably quickly. The doctor we saw gave M a thorough examination and then gave us her verdict. She believed that M had had an allergic reaction to either another food or possibly to an environmental allergen, which caused his body to “break-out” in the red and itchy welts, rather than the usual response of stomach cramps and diarrhoea. Fortunately, we keep a detailed food diary as a matter of course and so are able to track everything M has eaten and also every complaint, reaction or temperature he experiences.
At the moment, we have no idea what caused this reaction and have to just persevere with helping him recover from it without the assistance of any additional medicine – as he already takes 2 anti-histamines, the only logical next step medication-wise would have been a steroid-based treatment and we didn’t feel his symptoms needed such an extreme response. All we can now do is keep monitoring the situation and look out for further break-outs on his body. I hate to think that there could be yet another food that needs to be removed from M’s limited diet, but that may be unavoidable.
By the time we got back, recovered G, ate lunch and got home, most of the afternoon had disappeared on us too and we had time enough to play some board games and watch a little TV before bedtime. It’s not been the day any of us planned, but I guess that that’s just life with an allergy child.