Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Magic Wands (and Lack Thereof)

Some of the kids have been feeling cranky. Others are blue. The reality that Eldest will be leaving the nest for good in two weeks to build her own life elsewhere is hitting. She is an amazing big sister. She is an affectionate and loving daughter. She will be sorely missed.

Little Guy curled his leggy 10yo frame into my lap last night after lights-out, seeking comfort. "Mommy?" he asked, "What ever happened to your magic wand?"

I smiled, nostalgic for the times when the kids were little and wanted water when we were on the train and there was none to be had, or asked me to fix something that couldn't be fixed, and I'd say, "I'm sorry, honey, but my magic wand is in the shop."

I said to Little Guy, "It sounds like you are feeling really sad." He nodded and let out a little sob. I let him cry a while and then said, "When you are sad you can do one of two things. You can just stay sad. Or you can be sad and keep going."

He replied, fiercely, "I'm going to do things!'  And then after a moment he added, "I'm going to FIX that magic wand of yours!"

Well, maybe. We can wish.

*        *          *          *

There have been times in my life when I've wished for a magic wand. There have been times I've mistaken God for one. As I grow older and go through and survive more difficulties, I am less afraid of dark places and hard problems.

I still don't like difficulty. But I'm not afraid, and that's something. Actually, it's a big something.

On Monday Big Guy's allergist called to say that Big Guy had had a "generalized reaction" to his weekly shots.

"Hmmm. What kind of symptoms did he have?" I asked, curious to assess the scope of the problem. I was told he had been coughing, had difficulty breathing, his throat was inflamed... but they had given him medication and he was no longer having difficulty.

"What medicine did you give him?" I asked, still probing. Epinephrine, Benadryl, and a nebulizer. I know enough about allergies to know that this was not a minor allergic reaction. Still, he hadn't had to go to the Emergency Room, so... well, that was good.

The doctor asked us to send someone to pick up Big Guy, since he might be a bit woozy from the meds. Andrew went, and returned with my son and a prescription for EpiPens. The latter aren't exactly magic wands, but they will do nicely in a pinch.

I can be thankful for EpiPens, instead of wistful for a magic wand. At another point in my life I might not have been able to look at the situation that way.


  1. Hi Julia. I don't usually comment, just root for you from afar, but I'm a little puzzled about why your son didn't need to go to the ER. Normally, *any* reaction severe enough to warrant epinephrine also needs to be monitored at the ER for at least 4 hours, because anaphylaxis can be biphasic and a second wave - often more severe than the first - will follow. (My son had one of these, and ever since then I've been very happy to waste 4-8 hours at the ER while aaaaabsolutely nothing happens.) This is standard protocol.

    If your allergist's office has access to the same equipment the ER does (our allergist does, for instance, because he's based at a hospital), and they kept him there long enough to make sure a second wave wasn't coming, that's one thing. I know this is a blog post, not a play-by-play, and I may be worrying for nothing! But if they let him go home right after the reaction, without at least a few hours of monitoring...that suggests to me that they are not adequately trained in how to treat a generalized reaction. I am always reluctant to put doubt into another mother's mind, but that would be a good aspect to probe further, as well.

    This was not actually what I meant to comment on! What I came here to say was that in case you don't know, both Epipen and its competitor Auvi-Q have "zero copay" programs - if your insurance doesn't cover the full cost, the manufacturer generally will. It has saved us in more ways than one.

    1. Thanks for the tips; I'll ask for more info from the doctor. The allergy clinic is located at the hospital, so they're well equipped (and they did keep him quite a while, though not four hours).
      , .

  2. Oh good. Being located at a hospital makes me less worried already - they probably have experience with reactions that ended up escalating. Good luck, with this and with everything.

  3. Hi Julia, I've enjoyed reading your devotionals for year in Daily Guidepost and I'm so excited to have found your blog. Your writing really hits home with me ! Your insights into faith and parenting are most helpful. I have been praying for you and your family most esp. John. I am blessed to work with great kids like him and look forward to reading about all the wonderful things he will accomplish in his life.