Sunday, May 31, 2009

Allergy Scare

Yesterday, I tried to poison my little one.

I came home from the gym and he came rushing to me in the kitchen. Hubby told me he didn't touch his formula while I was gone so I picked up a glass of milk from the kitchen counter and gave it to him. It is not unusual for us to put his formula in our drinking glasses so I really thought it was his formula. When the white liquid touched his mouth, he gagged and spit it out, prompting me to take a sniff from the glass. I realized right away that I gave him his brother's cow's milk. That's when it all started: his first severe allergic reaction.

I don't think he even ingested anything because he spit it out right away, but the fact that the milk touched the inside of his mouth triggered all these reactions:

He started gagging, attempting to vomit but there was really nothing in his stomach at the time. He was drooling so much. He kept his mouth wide open as if he didn't want to taste his own saliva. After gagging several times, he managed to throw up some bile. He continued to drool and was screaming the entire time. He didn't want to drink anything, not even iced water or breast milk - two things that he never refused before.

My husband, having experienced these extreme reactions before, warned me to watch for anaphylaxis: wheezing, breathing difficulty or swelling of the lips and tongue. We gave him a dose of Benadryl which knocked him out after a while. But although he was asleep in my arms, he still wouldn't close his mouth and he continued to salivate plus he would kick and scream every few minutes. He was restless.

After reading up on dairy allergic reactions online, I learned about the metallic taste and tingling sensation in the mouth that people experience during a reaction and it all made sense to me; the drooling and the open mouth.

I've never really realized how bad his allergies were until this frightening experience. I am very grateful that we didn't have to run to the ER, but I dread to think of what could've happened had he swallowed even just a drop of that cow's milk. I am glad that his senses are apparently equipped to distinguish the things he is allergic to. The experience also opened my eyes to the challeges we will continue to face in his lifetime.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Trash Truck Fridays

Bamino has always loved seeing the delivery trucks that come by our house. He insists on stepping outside whenever he hears the UPS, FedEx or the mailman trucks.

But Fridays are a special treat for him. The sanitation trucks that come by every Friday are something we rarely miss. We would sit in the front porch just watching the trucks pick up the barrels with its mechanical "arm". He would sit very still in my arms, transfixed with the sight and sounds that the truck makes. He'd refuse to go back in the house until the truck is out of his sight. Talk about cheap thrills! :)
We took these photos today as we were watching the trucks go about their business.

One of the nice, white-bearded operators even gives Bambino an extra treat by honking his horn when he sees us waiting by the front lawn, much to Bambino's delight.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fully Booked

Our calendar is pretty crowded this week!

Monday - memorial day barbeque.

Tuesday - first session of Speech Therapy

Wednesday - Child Development;
Physical Therapy

Thursday - Feeding Therapy;

Friday - Pediatric Ophthalmologist

Hopefully, we can squeeze in some play dates on the weekend.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Update From Immunologists

Yesterday, we were back to UCLA to see Dr. R, Bambino's Immunologist/Allergist. No good news here, but nothing unmanageable either:

  • Bambino lost a few ounces compared to his last visit in March. I attributed it too the fact that he hasn't been eating much the past three weeks due to teething and break outs. Yesterday, he weighed in at 16lbs 8 oz.
  • The doctors increased his dosage for Periactin to see if it will help alleviate the itching and maybe help with the sleep issues.
  • They gave him a script for zinc (his zinc levels are low). We're hoping this will also improve his appetite.
  • We found out the classes/levels of his allergies - Class 6 being the highest and 1 being the lowest in terms of reaction:
  1. eggs & dairy - class 5
  2. pork and beef - class 3
  3. turkey - class 2 (he fairly tolerates turkey)
  • They ordered more tests on more allergens, including some food that he's currently eating right now since we don't know for sure whether the hives and other symptoms he gets are allergic reactions or just a natural part of his disorder.
  • One of my concerns on this visit is his enlarged lymph nodes on either side of his neck. He's always had swollen lymph nodes but i've never seen them THIS big, even the three docs who came in with Dr. R agreed that they're unusually big. To address this, the docs ordered another 3 weeks worth of Keflex.
Understandably, he was unhappy giving 7 vials of blood yet again for these numerous tests.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I Pray For Sleep

Whoever coined the phrase "sleeping like a baby" has probably never met an infant like my Bambino. He rarely sleeps for three hours straight without waking up in a bout of itch. Me and Hubby take turns pacifying and comforting him a number of times each night. We'd be so exhausted in the morning. At least I could catch some shut-eye during the day. Hubby, though, sometimes have to resort to energy drinks in order to get through the entire work day. Sometimes I feel like I'm at the end of my rope. It is very taxing. More than anything else though, I am worried about the baby. The growth hormones are supposed to be doing their jobs while he's asleep. But what if if he rarely sleeps?

Not even Doxepine, a controlled substance that was prescribed to help him "sleep like a baby" doesn't do the trick. We now alternate between four different antihistamines that's supposed to make him drowsy. Sure, it makes him sleep - but not for more that a couple hours.

The itching is very, very bad. Sometimes, he'd still rub his wrists against anything rough even when he's asleep. Restless sleep. And then he'd wake up with red, sore and sometimes bleeding hands and scalp.

In my desire to help him get more sleep, he takes his naps in my arms because he would wake as soon as I put him down. This way, he gets up to three hours of nap time (if we're lucky). My arms would be numb and I would hold off any desire to go to the bathroom, and I would be unable to pick up any calls - but if he gets decent, quality sleep, then it is all worth it.

And every night, I pray that tonight will be better than the previous night.

Friday, May 15, 2009


I love mayonnaise. I put it on almost anything - eggs, fish, sandwiches, fries, - name it. I can give up sweets if I have to, but never mayonnaise. So when Bambino was tested allergic to eggs and dairy, I was left in a quandary especially since I'm still nursing him and he's supposed to be getting whatever I eat. I have been avoiding eggs since he was born.

I've been missing mayo until his Dietitian suggested I try Vegenaise. She recommended I add it to pasta and rice (since these are two things Bambino likes to eat, if he eats at all) for added calories.
I'd have to say, it's not so bad. It doesn't have the creamy flavor I like from real mayo, but it will do. Its main ingredients are canola and soy. I'm lucky, the vegan store that sells and manufactures them is just 5 miles away but they also have an online store where it's available.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Chicken Legs

Today is the third day Bambino hasn't been eating anything but breast milk.

It's been unusually warm and I've dressed him in short sleeved shirts and shorts and yesterday, it struck me how thin he has become. We call him chicken legs now because of his slender limbs very visible in summer outfits. It is heartbreaking.

These are his photos from about a year ago:

We used to call him Fat Boy, Little Buddha, Ball of Lard, Sumo, Buddha Belly. Just look at that double chin!

And now, here are his more recent photos (I picked the ones with his legs exposed):

His head is still big, but his arms and legs are so skinny. And he could still fit in his 6-9 month size clothes.

He's got a lot on his plate right now with his teeth and a break-out and a slight fever, but I'm hoping and praying his appetite will pick up when these things blow over. Otherwise, we will have to consider nasogastric tubes - something we will have to tackle with the GI doc in two weeks.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Challenge for the Feeding Therapist

Bambino never learned to nurse from a bottle. I've always planned to breastfeed for at least a year, but his doctors and nutritionists wanted to supplement his food intake with high a calorie formula especially since he is slow to gain weight.

But we have tried so many nursing bottles and nipples in different shapes, textures and form:

There is even one brand, Adiri, that's supposed to be an exact replica of a mother's bossom. But none of these worked.

He learned to drink from a cup early, and that's how he takes the measly 7 ounces of formula intake.

E., his feeding therapist tried all sorts of tricks today to make him eat or drink. We had carrots, tomatoes, cheerios, yogurt - he tasted a little bit of carrots and made a mess of everything else.

We tried to give him formula, apple juice, a combination of both, with ice, no ice; in five different kinds of cups and glasses, with straw, no straw...
E's patience was amazing. She even made this impromptu contraption made from a bottle especially for babies with cleft palates and a straw:

But nothing worked.

Yesterday, I kept crying in frustration whenever he turned his nose up to any food or drink I offered. He's also learned to shake his head to say "no."

And even though it wasn't necessary, I gave him a dose of Periactin last night, hoping his appetite would pick up. No dice.

So on most days, he is mostly surviving on breastmilk because that's the only thing he would take. Which leaves us and the dietitians in a quandary because they couldn't even tell how much he is really taking in. I've been tempted to refuse to nurse him and let him go hungry, hoping that he will turn to formula when he has no other choice. But I also worry that my supply will dry up and he still would continue to refuse his formula.

It is nice that there is professional help available. The Therapists that come see Bambino are Heaven-sent. But my concerns grow when even the pros run out of tricks and we're still not getting aywhere.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tooth Erupted

So this is why Bambino has been drooling and was cranky the past few days. Poor baby.

I lost count of how many teeth he has now, he refuses to let me near his mouth.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mommy's testing the SMS blogger uploader. Let's see how this works.