Baby’s first emergency room visit
It started two nights ago. Roy woke up in the middle of the night crying, covered in hives. This has happened a couple of times before, so we know the drill. We plied him with Benedryl and waited for it to do its thing.
Problem was, it didn’t do its thing. In fact, the hives got worse and his face and neck began to swell. Before we got in to see the doctor the following afternoon, the nurse told me that if Roy went down for his nap, I should watch him. “Like, sit in the same room and watch him sleep?” I asked. “Yes. Pull up a chair, read a magazine or something, and just monitor his breath every few minutes,” she said.
I only recently broke my habit of sneaking in to Roy’s bedroom each night to rest my hand on his back to confirm its rhythmic, familiar rise and fall. To have a professional not only endorse this behavior but mandate it scared me.
That afternoon, we saw the doctor, who said that Roy’s probably allergic to the amoxicillin he’s been on for about a week now. Treatment: Stop the amoxicillin. Continue with the Benadryl.
So we did our thing, and the hives certainly did theirs. They got bigger. And puffier. By morning, even his scalp was covered in red splotches he couldn’t help but itch, and his feet were so purple and swollen that the poor boy simply could not stand.
And so: Another trip to the doctor’s office, soon followed by baby’s first emergency room visit, a terrifying and heartbreaking milestone that makes you fight back tears like any other, but for all the worst reasons. Roy was a total trooper, wide-eyed and calm and quite patient with the poking and prodding and bringing in of various medical personnel to marvel at the painful welts covering nearly every square inch of his tiny body.
Both trips confirmed the probable cause but brought a new diagnosis: erythema multiforme. Textbook, apparently. The ER doctor led with, “I have bad news. This will probably get worse before it gets better.” I had a hard time picturing “worse” until he described the possibility of it spreading to his mouth or eyes. We’re to head back to the ER if this happens, or if he spikes a fever, or develops other symptoms. We were sent home with prescriptions for another type of histamine and Prednisone, to hopefully lessen the swelling and itching. They say it’ll soon plateau, and then taper off over a couple of weeks. I’m resisting the urge to Google “erythema multiforme” until the tapering starts.
The good news is, even though he still looks awful, little guy seemed to be feeling better tonight. In fact, on our nightly stroller ride, he got out and happily padded around the park in his slippers. (His feet are still too swollen for shoes.) So I’m desperately hoping for tomorrow to be better than today, and reminding myself, as I did last week, that unhappiness is part of the deal. But I sure could use a little happiness pretty soon here to balance these last couple days out.