Paging Dr. House

Although I am now a nurse, I know even after years of training, I will never be as brilliant as Dr. House.  Today was a beautiful afternoon for a stroll in the park with friends.  We don’t usually do such naturist things like this, but  our friends proposed this idea and with no plans on the horizon, we hopped on.  Meeting at the neighborhood park, the toddlers were riding their scooters and bikes while the babes sat pretty in their strollers watching the scenery.  It was a nice leisurely stroll with the kids playing, the babies content in the strollers and the moms chatting with each other and the dads talking to one another.  30 minutes into the walk we stumbled upon the dog park and the kids were giddy.  I had to let the infant out for a closer look.  Once out, he refused to go back in.  What seemed like a simple temper tantrum, was escalating fast to a meltdown crisis.  A simple temper tantrum was already out of character for my infant and a meltdown crisis was a cause for alarm.  He was flailing his arms and legs, arching his back, calling for his mama and fighting me all at the same time.  It was as if he was conflicted with his own emotions.  We noticed a few hives had formed on the back of his neck and he was scratching every where.  Having come off of our sun-cation, we simply assumed the scratching was the result of dry skin and too much sun… but the hives… well that was a different story.

Embarrassed that my perfect little infant was behaving so unbecomingly, the husband and I decided to make a quick retreat and none too soon.  The intensity of the infants meltdown continued to escalate all the way home, with only minimal gasps for air.  I could feel his pain in my bones.  We knew something was irritating him, but what could it be?  Could he be allergic to the park?

Straight from the car and into a cooling bath, we hoped to bath the irritants away and grant the baby some relief.  As we stripped him, his entire body was covered in red welts and he was now scratching to blood.  While bathing we gave him a quick dose of antihistamines and worked fast to clean him.  We slather hydro-cortisone all over his body, put gloves on his hands, placed him on the breast and watched as he slowly calmed down as the medication worked its magic.  Within minutes he was fast asleep and the welts were slowly fading.

But what could cause this sudden on-slaughter of reactions?  He was obviously allergic to something in the environment.  What, was the question.  I turned to my husband and asked if I should call the Doctor tomorrow and his response was as many others would say, “Why? He’s fine now, we took care of it.”  I probably shouldn’t have asked my husband, and simply called but yet, despite being a medical professional myself, I have not.  Would you call your doctor if your child is fine?  As a nurse, I find we’re often trying to put pieces of the puzzle together and sometimes the pieces just go missing.  My husband said I could mention it at our next appointment, but would I remember?  Would you remember?  and how much detail would you remember at a later date?

I wish all doctors could be like Dr. House.  Don’t just solve the symptom, find the underlying problem and solve everything.  In a dream world, that might work, but in the reality not so much…

So I sit here, hashing over the details of my son’s ordeal, holding onto all of these pertinent facts with no where to take them.  Our doctor would just say he had environmental allergies.  Geez, that’s helpful.  Should I never take my child outdoors?  How does it explain that he was outdoors for an entire week without a reaction?  Was it because the lawn was being manicured?  Or perhaps it was the dogs kicking up dander and dust into the air?  Perhaps it was the neighboring construction that caused a reaction? I’ll never know…

What frustrating medical situations have you been in?