Tuesday, May 24

Not Like It's Important or Anything

There are 2 types of food allergies; one usually manifests as "intestinal upset" (that's the polite description. The realistic one is more like "meconium mixed with snot in my kid's diaper") and is not life-threatening; the other manifests as hives, wheezing, tongue swelling, and/or other symptoms leading up to anaphylactic shock, which can be deadly. People with these types of allergies must carry an EpiPen which is a thingy of epinephrine (adrenaline) that self-injects and can stop the reaction.

My kid was diagnosed with the former type of allergy (less-serious, more-gross) when she was 11 weeks old and we've avoided those foods that make her sick. This weekend, however, she had an outbreak of hives after eating something, indicating that she now has at least one food that causes the more serious type of reaction.

We already have an appointment with her allergist, but not until late July (he's very good, thus very booked up!) I decided to call the pediatrician to see if they would prescribe an EpiPen to keep on hand until we could have a full workup with the allergist.

I should have known better than to go this route. Here is how the conversation went:

ME: "Hi. My daughter is a patient there. She has food allergies. The other day she had a serious reaction. I have an appointment with her allergist, but I can't get in to see him for 2 months. In the meantime I would like to know if her pediatrician can prescribe an EpiPen in case she has another serious reaction."

RECEPTIONIST: "Um, you want to schedule an appointment?"

ME: "No, I want to know IF they can prescribe an EpiPen, since I cannot see her allergist until July."

RECEPTIONIST: "Okay, an Ecky-what?"

ME: "EpiPen. It's an autoinjector of epinephrine."

RECEPTIONIST: "Okay, that's E-C-"

ME: "No. E-P-I-P-E-N."

RECEPTIONIST: "Okay, I'll have to take a message and have them call you back. Is she a patient here?"

*smacks forehead*

Then I called the allergist's office. I explained to THAT receptionist what had happened, and she took my name, Aurora's name, our phone number, AND the name and phone number of our local pharmacy. She said she would give the message to the allergist. Now it's a race . . . will the Clueless Peds office call back before the Adept Allergist calls to say my EpiPen is waiting at Safeway for me?