June 29, 2011

Daily Bite: Tristan and Anaphylaxis Scare

We spent all afternoon in the ER today.  Yes, after having an Epipen for Tristan for almost six years of his life, I finally had to use one. 

About an hour after having his usual In-N-Out hamburger with ketchup instead (of sauce) and grilled onions, fries, and a lemonade, he started in on a dry cough and tell-tale tummy ache.  I rushed to get him a Benadryl and Claritin, and two puffs of his inhaler. 

Then the wheezing started, and I got a sinking feeling in my stomach.  I got the Epipen out of his backpack, pulled off the cap while he cried and squirmed on his bed, and administered it for the first time.  Very shortly after that, his breathing sounded better.  I knew I had done the right thing.

Once we were inside the ER, it was a bit of a blur, but I know sometime between saying the words "anaphylaxis" and "Epipen," Tristan was escorted directly in, and was in a hospital gown on a bed with monitors attached by the time I went back.  Much relief.  More Benadryl, steroids for the itching, swelling, and hives that had developed on the way over, and waiting.  We were in good hands (thanks to all the nurses and staff who worked Room 1 at the Pediatric ER today!).

This is Tristan with ice packs tied to his arms and legs.  The itching was unbearable. 
Red, puffy skin was replaced by his smoother, olivey skin by the time we left, and Tristan was actually getting tired of watching an entire season of Phineas and Ferb (they had a DVD player with a very impressive kids' DVD collection).  Sigh of relief...

A few lessons learned:
1. No matter how tired, stressed, or busy, take any possible allergy symptoms seriously.  I was really hoping Tristan's stomachache was nothing, but my instincts told me otherwise.
2. You know you're supposed to go to the hospital after administering the Epipen, and for a few minutes I thought, how inconvenient it would be to spend hours in the ER right now.  I'm so glad my adrenaline and sense kicked in and that we went.
3. Have a go-to place for your at-home Epipen.  If I wasn't home, I wonder if another caretaker would know to find the Epipen in Tristan's pack.  Probably not.  I'm stocking up tomorrow and hanging the pen inside the hall closet door. 
4. Even if you don't expect to be eating anything, please have your Epipen.  Tristan's symptoms didn't kick in until about an hour after he ate. 

As of now, we're still unsure about the cause of his attack.
Tonight, everyone's fine.  Tired, but good.


  1. Thank goodness Tristan's okay, Sarah. Great job with remaining calm and acting quickly. You knew exactly where the meds were and what to do. Did you drive him to the ER yourself or call paramedics? I'm wondering what would be faster should the situation arise for us.

  2. Oh Sarah I am so sorry to hear this. I am happy to hear you were so well-prepared. Tristan has one awesome mommy! We all send you lots of best wishes for a full and speedy recovery!

  3. I am so sorry this incident happpened, but Sarah, you are awesome! You did everything right and Tristan is okay now because of your quick thinking and reaction! Thank you for sharing this story with us. I have no doubt the food allergy community will be ever more vigilant about combatting an allergic reaction! Tell Tristan to feel better soon!

  4. thanks God he's ok!!! I always have my Epipen in my car and @ home as well. thank goodness!