On Friday I took Logan down to the city for an annual appointment with his allergy specialist. Dr H, is one of South Australia's leading paediatric allergists. We've sometimes seen him talking about the subject on the news at night. I first started taking Logan to see him in 1997, when L was two years old. Dr H gives each patient a very thorough examination. Forty-five minutes would be a short appointment with him. Back in '97, Logan was covered in bright red eczema which I found very upsetting. Dr H. confirmed the peanut allergy we already knew about, administered a medic-alert bracelet and epi-pen, and made the first of many appointments for us to return to see him.
At the time, Logan was very docile and well-behaved. I remember thinking, "We'll have no future problems with this. Logan was so good and it'll only get easier as he gets older." That was a mistake. I was still a reasonably new parent back then and he was still our only child. Little did I know that, paradoxically, some of the things we think will get easier actually get harder. I'll prove my point.
1997 - We found out that Dr H asks his patients to strip off down to their undies before he begins his exam. Two-year-old Logan didn't mind in the least. He'd go along and do anything his Mum told him to do. In fact, running naked around a strange man's office seemed to be more of a novelty than an ordeal.
2007 - 12 yo Logan sits in the car beside me (we'd left E & B home with their Dad), folds his arms and complains. "I hate the way he gets me to take my clothes off. Then he pounds my chest until I just about keel over. And looking up my nose is just gross. Why does he have to be so thorough? It's an invasion of privacy. That's what it is."
1997 - Logan had one of his first skin prick tests. He lay face down on the bed, as good as gold, while the nurses scratched dozens and dozens of marks on his back. They wanted to test him for every possible allergen back then and he was so small, it had to be on his back for them all to fit. At the end, he even said, "Thank you." It sounded more like, "Sack You," because that was the way he used to talk. They all thought he was so cute. And my mother, who came along with us, kept saying what a little angel he was.
2006 - (He didn't need another scratch test last Friday, to his relief, but last year he did.) He sat for the entire time, staring at the welts growing on his arms, muttering to me, "When are they gonna come? This itches me like crazy! I hate this! If they don't come soon, I'm gonna have to scratch. I can't stand the itching. It's sending me around the twist." He had to have a blood test that day too, and needless to say, he wasn't very impressed with that either. And I can tell you, "Thank You" is the last thing he felt like he wanted to say to them.
1997 - When I used to say, "We're driving down to visit Dr H," Logan would smile and be pleased. For him, that meant a visit to the nearby shopping mall afterwards and lunch in the food court, often with Nanny and Poppa.
2007 - He dreads the visit to Dr H for weeks beforehand, anticipating the stripping down, poking and prodding. The promise of lunch in the food court afterwards is not enough to placate him. He tells me nothing less than a Play Station 3 will be enough to make up for the ordeal. At least he still has his sense of humour.
What happened this time?
Logan said that it was the easiest visit he'd had yet. He wasn't asked to strip down. Last visit, Dr H had seen that L had grown out of his eczema and just took our word for it that Logan's skin was still clear. On the basis of the prior blood test, he said that Logan might be elligible for a "challenge test" but told us that if the result was good, he'd suggest that Logan eats peanut twice a week, as a sort of medicine, to keep up his resistance.
"Would you be prepared to eat peanut twice a week?" he asked Logan.
Logan immediately shook his head, "Nope," as I expected. He can't stand the peanut smell and runs a mile whenever it's anywhere near him. And he's a bit edgy about the idea of eating something he's been taught all his life to avoid at all costs.
So then Dr H said, "I understand how you feel, but there's no point in having the challenge tests unless you'd be prepared to eat it if the result was good, so we'll leave it for now. I see no reason to see you for another couple of years. Perhaps by the time you're fourteen, you'll have changed your mind."
Logan was totally happy with that decision, but tells me he'd never change his mind. He'd rather keep avoiding peanuts his whole life long than be forced to eat them. So we'll see what happens. To be honest, I'm also pretty pleased that we don't need another specialist appointment until 2009.
(BTW, one thing I haven't figured out yet is how to turn this blog to Australian Eastern Standard Time. As you've probably guessed, I certainly don't sit up working on the computer at ridiculous hours such as 3 or 4am. It's fun to see what time it is for my blogging friends.)