It's that season again. Spring? No. Doctor season. We tend to go in phases with them, and we'd had a dry spell ever since the Great Earberry Escapade of 2010.
We were due.
Last Monday was M2's 6-year well-child check. I mentioned before that she did well, even with the blood draw. Next Monday we have M1's appointment to get his ADHD meds. Every day between now and then is painfully slow. Finally, to complete the trifecta of pediatrician visits, M1 and I had an appointment yesterday. This was primarily for a rash.
Let me tell you about this rash. Rashes don't usually bug me, but this one has been around for a while and had been getting progressively worse. At first I thought it was viral, but it didn't look right, kept coming back and there were no other symptoms, so I ruled that out. Then I pondered a bacterial diagnosis, but that didn't fit, either, since it would go away and reappear on other parts of the body. Finally I assumed it had to be some sort of allergy, but I couldn't figure out for the life of me what he could have been allergic to. When the rash appeared on the Fourth of July after a water balloon fight, I briefly toyed with the idea that it was water-related, especially since the rash had also appeared after several swimming lessons. "Allergic to water??" I wondered. Surely not. But I kept watching. Then winter came, and along with it the snowstorms. We had one particularly frigid day when the temperature barely got above zero, but the kids still wanted to play outside, and I let them. M1 came in covered head to toe in bright red blotches. They went away after several hours, and the thought occurred to me, "What if it's cold?" And I kept watching. The rash kept coming back. Sometimes it would sit for hours in a minor form and then all of a sudden flare up into a major attack. Sometimes it would just come out of nowhere. The last straw for me came a couple weeks ago when he wore a tank top and shorts into a chilly grocery store. By the time we were half done, he looked like the victim from a B-rate horror movie. The clerk gave him an odd look when we were checking out but thankfully had the good sense not to open her mouth. "Cold," I thought again. Oz and I looked it up and found cold urticaria, which is a fancy-shmancy medical way of saying, "You get hives when you get cold."
And then it occurred to me that if cold water is a trigger and M1's asthma has been playing up lately anyway, taking him to a family reunion on a lake in the middle of June probably isn't a good idea. Except that we've already booked the cabin and we want to go.
So I figured I'd take him into the doctor and see what she said. I assumed she'd tell us to see an allergist and maybe up the dose of Zyrtec that he's already on for his dust mite allergy. (The day that I move into a house without carpet will be cause for a massive party.)
She said the following things:
1. It is cold urticaria.
2. Take a daily dose of Pepcid in addition to the Zyrtec.
3. Don't hop in cold pools.
4. Let's do a blood draw for autoimmune disorders.
5. And oh, by the way, I'm sending in a prescription for an EpiPen, just in case.
Blood draw. Autoimmune disorder. EpiPen. Heavy stuff. M1 flipped out for a little bit until I explained things, and then he settled down and challenged himself to do the blood draw better than his sister. He did about the same. Or at least that's what I'm telling both of them.
And so now we wait for the results from all the blood tests. They could change our treatment plans. They could tell us everything is fine. I'm not worried about them, merely curious to see what they say.
Either way, I'm sure we'll be back. It's doctor season.