Thursday, September 03, 2009

A Long Story about an Allergy

Geary had his wisdom teeth removed last week. It was an easy surgery, took less than an hour, and he was able to have it done with only local anesthesia. After I picked him up from the dentist's office we stopped by our pharmacy to pick up his prescription pain medication, infection preventative penicillin, and some extra gauze. And then since we were close to Target we ran in for a bag of frozen peas, soup, and some Carnation Instant Breakfast chocolate shake powder (since he was on a liquid diet for the next couple days).

He spent a day and half sleeping and then he was fine! I mean, he still ate soft foods and took the less strong pain pill once in a while but he was fine. This week I even forgot that he had had surgery. All was well.

And so I continued with my nesting--washing all school clothes and bedding and towels with some Oxy-Clean I found on sale. I didn't see much of a difference except that my whites were a little brighter. Cool. Until Tuesday afternoon, that is.

Geary came home from work to find me and the kids taking naps. He took off his tie and then crawled in bed with me for a short nap for himself. After a few minutes of "how was your day" type talk he asked, "Is my right eyelid swollen?" Indeed it was. Strange, but besides washing his face we didn't do anything about it.

Later that evening Geary came in from the backyard with his torso covered in angry, red hives and big, white welts. "What happened?!?" I exclaimed. "I don't know, it's really itchy." I got some Benedryl and hydrocortizone cream out and we got the rash under control in a few minutes. We tried to think of what was in the backyard that Geary could have been allergic to. We came up blank.

A couple hours later he went to bed and within 10 minutes was covered in a rash again. This time it was on his torso and spreading down his thighs. We repeated the Benedryl/cortizone treatment and got it under control again. At least we were able to rule out an allergy to some unknown outside thing. However, what could he be allergic to on our bed?

I gasped, "What if you're allergic to Oxy-Clean?" We stripped the bed and put clean sheets on that hadn't been washed with the new product. Geary slept fine, no more rashes. I was a little annoyed that I would have to wash all that laundry again but glad that we'd found the culprit.

And then last night Geary came out of our bedroom once again covered in hives! We did the Benedryl/cortizone thing again and stared at each other with wide eyes. What in the world?

"Maybe it's the down comforter?" Geary suggested with a frown. We love our down comforter. Nonetheless, I flung it from the bed and went to get a quilt. No change. The hives came back.

"Were you itchy during the day? I don't think you could be allergic to Oxy-Clean if your clothes are fine!" Geary shook his head, "No, I was fine all day. Until I went to bed." I nodded, "Yeah, bedtime seems to be the common denominator here."

We were quiet for a bit. "Well, besides Oxy-Clean what other things have we been doing different around here?" I thought through all the food we've been eating and then it was like a brick hit my head, "What about the Carnation Instant Breakfast?" Geary chuckled, "You think I could be allergic to chocolate mi---" He was interrupted because a ton of bricks hit my head, "Or your medicine!"

"What medicine? I've only taken one Ibuprofen today."

"No, no! The penicillin! We still have the side effects thingy!" I jumped out of bed and raced to the kitchen to find the prescription information sheet. I took it back to our bed scanning quickly. "Right here! Symptoms of an allergic reaction include rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; swelling of the eyelids, face, or lips..." My voice trailed off. "Go get your medical card and the phone."

He talked to an advice nurse briefly. We had done everything right but if he had difficulty breathing we should call 911 or go to the E.R. She would have his doctor call in the morning to check on him and they would add "allergic to penicillin" to his chart. And we should notify the dentist the who prescribed the medication so it could be on his dental chart, too.

We stayed up for another half an hour just making sure that he wasn't having trouble breathing, feeling foolish for not realizing the penicillin was the culprit in the first place, and thanking God that it wasn't a more severe reaction.

Geary is doing great this morning. The doctor already called and we threw away the remaining penicillin. And now we're still waiting for my doctor to call with the results of my three hour glucose tolerance test. And I'm praying for a big fat PASS because after the vomiting-sinus- infection-with-crazy-codeine-side-effects and now this hives and welts thing...well, we should just be done with medical stuff for the year, right? Right?
Updated: I passed! I passed! I just got an email from my doctor and I passed! *happy dance*


  1. Oh my goodness!!! What a fiasco!

    I Sooooo glad you passed!

  2. Good gracious! Indeed, good thing you caught it and that it wasn't worse. I had a reaction to a sulfa-based antibiotic in college, and they diagnosed with me MEASLES before finally figuring it out. I was so so so so sick, I feel for Geary. Well, you've all turned a corner, no more reaction, no g. diabetes -- karmic debt paid, all is smooth sailing from here on in! See?

  3. I'm sure this isn't the first time Geary has had antibiotics, who knew! But praise the Lord you passed let's hope smooth sailing from here! For everybody!

  4. I had strep throat shortly after Charlie was born..and I had the same reaction and actually ended up in the E.R. I thought it was so crazy because I had taken penicillen a ton as a kid, but they told me that you can develop an allergy at anytime.
    Glad you found the culprit!


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