Here it is, 2:00 a.m., and I can't sleep. I don't know where to begin. 2007 was a string of attacks, and we were so blessed to have Ruby lighting up our lives with smiles through the year. We were hoping that 2008 would just start off with a bang and be a great year with even more Ruby cuteness. We still have some hope, but we're not off to an amazing start.
We ended up in the Home Hospital Emergency Room today. Ruby most likely has a severe (and life-threatening) food allergy to peanuts and any peanut derivative. She is also very likely to have a related severe allergy to tree nuts which includes just about every other nut you can think of: Cashews, Pecans, Macadamia, Almonds, Pistachios, Brazil nuts, Pine nuts, Hazelnuts, Walnuts, Hickory nuts, Beech nuts, Butternut, Chestnut, and coconut. This includes any oils from these nuts, which can be found, not only in food, but in lotions, shampoos, soaps, make-up, bird food, and pet food.
I hadn't planned on exposing Ruby to nuts until she was at least three years old, per the American Academy of Pediatricians' recommendation. This morning, however, I had a complete brain fart. I had ordered some candy from one of the Girl Scouts at church, and it was delivered this morning. I took out one of the Peanut Butter Cups, and took a bit. Ruby reached for it and whined a little bit. Without even thinking, I pulled off a piece of the chocolate and gave it to her. She had a little bit (less than an 1/8 of a tsp.) of peanut filling on her finger, and she licked it off.
Within a few minutes, she became really cranky and agitated. She wouldn't go away from me, which is very unusual. She's normally very happy and social at church. I just thought she was tired, so I pawned her to a friend, so we could lead worship. After worship, I decided to check on Ruby. (It has been about an hour since she had the candy.) When I saw her, I knew something was very wrong. Her face was beet red, her eyes were swollen, and she looked miserable. When I looked closer, I saw that she had hives all over her face and neck. I went see how far it had spread, and I saw that it was already down to her toes and very bad.
I called the nurses' line and was advised to take her to the Emergency Room right away. We left church and went straight to the hospital.
As soon as I walked up to the triage desk, the nurse reacted very strongly and opened the door and rushed us back. She took Roo out of her carseat and stripped her down really fast. (She hadn't even asked me our names or anything yet.) She said, "This is a very bad allergic reaction." She attached all the probes and monitors to Ruby and checked all her vitals. Ruby's skin was as red as a cherry, and I'm not exaggerating. As soon as she had determined that Ruby was breathing alright, she asked me what happened. I told her, and she said she would send the doctor right away.
The doctor seemed fairly worried. She said the quickness and the severity of Ruby's reaction indicates that she has a severe allergy. These type of allergies can lead to anaphylaxis. This is a type of reaction that could kill Ruby.
Ruby is on a steroid and an antihistamine around the clock until we can get her in to the pediatrician's office. Once we see Dr. Miller, we will know a little bit more. Most likely, she will order an allergy work-up for Ruby to determine (for sure) the severity of Ruby's allergy. She will also probably prescribe an EpiPen.
We have to rid our house of all products that contain any nut or nut derivative. Mike and I cannot eat anything with nuts or use products with nut derivatives. Even the scent of nut could make Ruby react.
Peanut allergies are generally life-long. The vast majority of children will not "grow out" of a peanut allergy the way they "grow out" of a milk allergy. Ruby may never know the bliss of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup!! (This could help her stay skinnier than her mommy!)
For now, we're just asking for prayer that the allergy is not nearly as severe as it seems. The tests could show that this was a complete coincidence, and Ruby's not allergic at all. It could show that she does have an allergy but it's only a mild allergy. Please just pray that, above all, we can honor and glorify God as we walk down this newest path.
Mike and I are both very stressed right now: with jobs, with life, with Ruby's health. We need your prayers, so we openly beg for them. We appreciate it.
We love you all so much. Thank you for being part of our life!