Sunday, March 5, 2017

After an allergic reaction - thankful in so many ways

A family from our Allergy Fun - Support group on Facebook has a very special message to share after their son suffered a severe allergic reaction. It is important to share our heartaches as well as our triumphs, because this is the life we live.
How do you even begin to thank the people who saved your son's life? Although words are not to convey our absolute gratitude, there are many people who deserve recognition and praise for their role in the medical emergency that unfolded when our son had an anaphalactic reaction. 
To the 000 dispatcher who was the calm in the storm while my son was having a seizure and unresponsive - thank you, thank you, thank you. You prompted information from my husband while I was yelling out my son's condition. You explained that you need specific questions answered, and your professionalism was exemplary in the chaos.

To the two ambulance paramedics who were the first to arrive at our house - thank you, thank you, thank you. You ensured he was kept alive until the MICA unit came. You trusted me to carry my son out to the ambulance. I needed to be able to hold my son's limp body, in case it was the last time he would feel his mum. 

To the two MICA paramedics who saved our son's life - thank you, thank you, thank you. You gave him the vital drugs that would bring him back to us. You updated me with his condition when you had the chance and invited me to ask any questions I had. You kept him alive until we arrived at the hospital and checked on him in hospital before you left. Your skills and care was brilliant and we are eternally grateful. 

To the resuscitation team who were ready and waiting in the Monash Children's emergency bay - thank you, thank you, thank you. You formed an arc of light around him on our darkest day. Your expertise, experience and presence was invaluable. You pumped out the remaining allergen from his stomach. You gave him oxygen and an adrenaline infusion to keep him alive. My apologies for getting in your way while you were doing your job - it was an automatic reaction to move to his side when he was responsive. 

A special thank you to the doctor who held my hand and guided me back to our son's side so I could tell him that 'the hurt would be gone soon' and 'mumma's here, right next to him'. I will never forget the moment he heard my voice and turned his head towards it, listening to me repeat his favourite things in the whole world (avocado, watermelon, meat off the bone, motorbikes, cars, mummy and daddy and little brother loving him lots and lots and lots and lots). 

To the care co-ordinator in emergency who was there to counsel and console us - thank you, thank you, thank you. You understood that my husband, who was in tears, needed to be with our son, just as much as I did. You gave my husband a chance to sit by our son's side, while I looked after his brother. Your co-ordination allowed our time to be shared between our two children so that no one was neglected. We appreciated your presence and kind words. 

To the emergency nurses who looked after him while we waited for a bed - thank you, thank you, thank you. You ensured he was comfortable and stable and kept us up to date with everything. You did a brilliant job and your kindness was most appreciated. 

To the cleaner who saw that I looked lost and helped me out of the ED to buy food for my younger son - thank you for walking me towards the right direction. You are not only pivotal in keeping the hospital running, your direction made my difficult day a little easier.

To the ward staff at the Monash Children's who looked after our son until he was discharged - thank you, thank you, thank you. You all went above and beyond in your roles. 

Thank you to the head nurse - you run an excellent team and lead by example. You came into our bay from the corridor and unobtrusively offered me tissues when you saw my tears. You double checked that the hospital meals ordered were correct, knowing that our son had allergies. You noticed all the details and addressed them promptly. 

Thank you to the nurses who looked after our son in the ward - you did a great job continuing his care and we appreciate it. A special thank you to the staff member in the ward who walked our younger son around and attempted to put him to sleep so I could have a rest. You stayed after your shift to help and I wished I had asked for your name to thank you. Your generosity with your time reflects your generosity as a person. 

Thank you to the ICU nurse who came to check on our son during his stay. Your follow up reassured us that he was OK and we're glad we only needed to see your lovely smile in the ward instead of in ICU. 

Thank you to the junior registrar who went to check if our son could finally eat and even retrieved a fork for us - you actions allowed us to calm a distressed, hangry toddler and we appreciated it. Thank you to the discharging doctor who gave our son the all clear to go home on the next day. You answered all my questions and advised us to put the event in the past. You accepted my thanks and praise for all the hospital staff and responded to my tears. You ensured our discharge was smooth and timely, and for someone who nearly lost a child, time is the greatest gift you could have given us. In every single way, you have all returned to us a precious thing - an active, cheeky, naughty 2.5 year old boy who is back to teasing his brother, not sharing his toys and chatting our ears off. You have given us a future with our son that was very close to being lost.

This incident happened a few months ago, when my husband accidentally gave my allergy son his brother's cow's milk instead of his oat milk. It was the morning after a very busy day before and in his exhausted state, he mixed up the milk cups that were in the fridge (both cups had been poured for the boys but they didn't drink want to drink it straight away so they were put in the fridge for later). My husband picked up the wrong cup. 
We now: 
1. Feed both son's oat milk
2. Have different coloured cups for each (although this wouldn't have prevented the incident because when you're tired, a different cup probably wouldn't make much of a difference) 
3. Occasionally give the non-allergic son dairy to keep it in his system, but in different forms and from a tetra pack if needed. Our allergist mentioned to us that this kind of incident was very common (exhausted parents mixing up milks).

Consider this... who and what are you thankful for?

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