“I just looooooooove going to allergy shots!”
I wonder how many kids in this world actually say they love getting shots?
I have a few theories as to why Z loves going to shots:
- It’s the one day of the week he gets to play Minecraft on our Kindle.
- He’s doing shots with a friend he’s known for half his life, so they can “talk shots.”
- Every time he goes in, he hears from no less than three women (mom included) what a brave, strong boy he is. Which, of course he is, and what man doesn’t want to hear about his strength and bravery?
Either way, I love that he loves going to shots. It makes it so much easier to go through the process when I don’t have to fight him or talk him into it.
What led us to allergy shots was one quick call to 911 around 4:00 one Wednesday morning. Z woke up unable to breathe. We quickly put him on his nebulizer, but that did not resolve the issue. In a follow up visit to his pediatric group, a doctor Z has seen exactly once gave us a very helpful, “You really need to get his allergies and asthma under control.” And that was it.
So we did. Following up with the allergist, she put him on meds. Lots of them. For the short-term we had meds to treat what triggered the 911 call: albuterol and prednisone. For the long-term, we had meds to prevent it from happening again: Singulair, Qvar, and Zyrtec (or Claritin). Yep. Meds. I was thankful to get the issues under control, but worried about his six year-old body absorbing so much.
So, when his allergist mentioned that Z was the perfect candidate for allergy shots, I jumped.
We started the four to five year process of allergy shots at the end of July 2013. In the beginning, we went twice each week. That’s two shots in each arm, twice per week. And that, my friends, is where he earns the accolades for strength and bravery. There were times that he went in for shots even though he still had bruises on his arms from the last visit. The dude is determined.
And his determination has already paid off. We’ve whittled his daily meds down to exactly one. His asthma controller Qvar. I’m over the moon about this—I never expected to see the results so soon in the protocol.
As a newbie to the whole allergy shot process, I had no idea what to expect. So, if you’re considering allergy shots, here’s how our allergist’s office handles them:
Each visit starts with a peak flow test to make sure his lung function is normal. If the peak flow comes back low, or if he is coughing, we can’t do shots in case his body can’t absorb the allergens well which could cause a reaction. So, we’re very careful about making sure we don’t even attempt shots if he’s a bit under the weather or if his peak flows seem a bit low.
Then, he gets two shots in both arms. In all, he’s getting his shots for multiple environmental allergens including: weeds, molds, dust, dogs, cats, trees and maybe more, but it’s just so hard to keep track.
After the shots, we wait in the allergist’s lobby for 30 minutes to ensure his body does not have an adverse reaction to the shots. Then he does his peak flows again to prove his lungs aren’t compromised from the introduction of the allergen. If they are a little lower than they should be, we get to stay another 10 minutes (remember with Minecraft it’s not a chore to stay). If his peak flows are where they should be, the nurse gives us the “yellow slip of freedom,” we high-five, and we head home.
The yellow slip is our goal each day. Our ultimate goal in all of this is to get Z past the allergies—and hopefully asthma as a result. In the meantime, we’ll do a little dance with each yellow slip of freedom.