I never thought I would check the forecast hoping for a rainy day, but that is what the mother of an asthmatic with seasonal allergies hopes for in Spring.
My six-year-old AD is only in kindergarten, but he has already been sent home by the nurse six times this year. This week I was called to pick him up twice. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the care she is giving, or the genuine concern in her voice, but every time she calls my heart skips a beat and I fear that he is going into anaphylactic shock because some kid offered him a cookie with peanuts (did I forget to mention he is also allergic to peanuts and tree nuts?).
As you can imagine, the school health aide (aka clinic nurse) and I are on a first-name basis. Thankfully, it wasn’t anything life threatening or even contagious. He wasn’t vomiting or spiking a fever. She called because of his allergy to pollen. It was making him itch and a rash was forming on the back of the neck and on his arms. I took him home, gave him Benadryl, showered him, and slathered his rash with Caladryl. The rash subsided and I sent him to school the next day.
I decided to walk him into school to explain in-person that his rash was a reaction to the extreme amount of pollen outside – everything is coated in a greenish-yellowish film. I thought that was the end of it, but in the afternoon I was called again (surprise, surprise he started itching after recess). So, this time I went to the doctor to get an official letter stating what I told the school verbally - it’s just a reaction to the pollen (the doctor and I are pretty tight too).
The truth is there is not much that can be done, except showering him every time he plays outside, slathering on some hydrocortisone cream, and hoping for rain and a fast end to spring. The poor baby is already taking Zyrtec, Singulair, Flovent, Albuterol, and Patonal for his asthma/allergy issues.
The next day, I walked him into school again and spoke to the nurse. She had me fill out two forms and sign my life away about five times, so I could leave the tube of hydrocortisone cream with her. I left hoping he would complete an entire day at school.
I also left feeling annoyed by the entire situation. What does the school expect me to do? Home-school him during allergy season? Lock him indoors? I was cursing the nurse, his teacher, the school, his allergies, and the damn lack of rain the entire ride home. I think I even muttered to myself some vague and ridiculously weak threat that went like this, “She better not call me to pick him up again, or else.”
Later that day after naptime, I picked up one of the babies in my daycare and realized he had a fever. It was a 102 fever, so I immediately called his parents and asked them to pick him up. As I rocked this little boy until his Mommy arrived from her office, which is at least 30 minutes away, I started to feel bad for cursing the nurse and his teacher.
I am a mother, but I am also the person who sometimes has to make another parent race from work to pick-up a sick child. I have had to make that phone call many times to parents who probably had to skip a meeting, lose leave time, ask their boss permission to leave unexpectedly, and stress about care. I run my daycare from my home, which is less than five minutes from the school. I also have two amazing assistants that allow me to drop everything and pick-up my son from school on a moment’s notice, or walk him into school to chat with the nurse.
I was so upset at the school for having me pick AD up for his allergies that I didn’t see the bigger picture - at least I was able to pick him up without any repercussions. At least he could come home and be with me and I didn’t have to scramble to find other care arrangements.
I still hate that my son is plagued every spring with breathing issues, a runny nose, itchy skin, and red puffy eyes, but I decided to be a little more patient with the school and their policies. I get it. It’s their job, just as it’s sometimes mine. The rules are in place to protect the children, not to annoy the parents.
So, instead, I’m going to do a rain dance and redirect my anger at the weather person every time I’m teased with the hope of a real rain shower and it only sprinkles. That weather guy better not get it wrong, or else.
Does your child suffer from allergies? Are you called out of work to pick-up your child frequently? Are you tired of the weather person getting it wrong? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TinyStepsCare.