Archive for October 22nd, 2012

National Jewish, Day 9

Cheese Stick Challenge


Previous: National Jewish Health, Day 8

If you are new here, you can find all of the posts in our Overcoming Eczema, Food Allergies and Night Terrors series here to get caught up!

I can’t believe how far we’ve come, and that we are going home soon!  We are continuing our soak and seal and then wet wraps where needed at the Ronald McDonald House every morning and evening. At this point, we are soaking and sealing the body and face with Vanicream.   In the morning, we dry wrap hands and feet with Protopic.  In the evening, we wet wrap hands and feet with the topical steroid.


The plan for today is to challenge baked cheese in the form of pizza.  If she passes that, we’ll challenge gently cooked milk in the form of a cheese stick.  If she passes that, we’ll challenge fresh milk in the morning and then spend our last afternoon with a local friend at the zoo.


I don’t expect to get very far in these milk challenges.  The last time she sneaked a cheese stick, she reacted terribly.  Her whole body turned red, hot and itchy.  She was miserable for days.  She hasn’t tried to sneak cheese since.


We started our pizza challenge as soon as we got to the hospital.  When she had no reaction, I cried at the thought that we could order pizza as a family. I know it’s not health food, but it’s convenient food.  For the past five years, I have felt guilty every time we’ve ordered pizza and left her out.  This is so liberating!


After the food challenge, the nurses asked Bella to teach a little boy in the program how to do a nose wash.  I’m telling you, these nurses know what they are doing.  Sure enough, she walked straight in the bathroom and did a nose wash by herself.  Her little friend did it too.  We were all so proud.


After all the excitement, the nurse said she needed to call Beth Ann.  Our main nurse, Beth Ann, was off today.  It turns out that she left a note for the other nurses to call her at home if Bella did a proper nose wash by herself.  That is the kind of care you get at this place!

In the afternoon, we had the cheese stick challenge and to my surprise she had no reaction!  Consider my mind blown!

National Jewish keeps a little bar stocked with fruit, bagels and juices for the parents.  I have eaten a bagel every morning for breakfast.  Bella has never had a bagel, and she has been coveting mine.  A few challenges ago, I realized she could now have one.  She’s not allowed to eat other food while she is doing a food challenge, so this morning I stuck one in my purse for her to have when we left the hospital.  She was so excited; she pulled it out of my purse in the parking lot.  Wouldn’t you know she dropped it?


You would have thought it was the end of the world.  I told her I would drive straight to the grocery store, and she could pick out any bagel she wanted.  The one she dropped was plain!  I tried to explain to her that there was a never ending variety of bagels and she could try them all.  She just didn’t understand.  She cried all the way to the grocery store.  When I opened the door to get her out of the car, she looked like this:



What in the world? Was she scratching her face while she was crying?  She was sitting behind me in the car, so I couldn’t see her.  Or was this some kind of delayed reaction?  The doctors told me that true delayed reactions were very, very rare.

She seemed absolutely fine other than the splotches on her face.  I quickly took her into the store to pick out a bagel.  After all that drama, she chose a donut instead!   We headed back to the hospital.


The doctors weren’t sure if she had an unusual reaction or if she had scratched her face either.  One thing was sure.  They were not comfortable going forward with the fresh milk challenge tomorrow. We stayed for observation for a couple of hours.  The splotches went away, and we went back to The Ronald McDonald House absolutely exhausted.


Next: National Jewish Health, Day 10

You can read all of the posts in the Overcoming Eczema, Food Allergies and Night Terrors series here.

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