Monday, May 5, 2008

Bella and the RAST: Part 1 (and how a pinwheel saved the day)

Bella had her RAST test this morning. To say it was anything less than stressful would be a lie.

We met with her incredible allergist and had a great chat about how Bella was doing (no reactions the whole year - yay!) and what to do next.

I knew he would want a RAST this year, he had said as much at last year's appointment. So, in the last few weeks, as best I could, I prepared Bella for the blood draw. She seemed ok with what would happen, and although she wasn't too pysched about it, the promises of a visit to her favorite toy store seemed to help her accept it.

So after our appointment (if you need an allergist, btw, email me - I can recommend a GREAT one on the SF Peninsula), we headed down to the lab, which is thankfully located in the same building. I walked through the door and the sign said:


And right about then, my heart sank. She wasn't going to hold on for 60 minutes (I mean, hello? she's 3). But the person checking us in asked "are you here for you, or for her?". Once I told her it was for Bella, she immediately told us to go through the waiting area and take a seat in the two chairs just beyond it (out of sight of everyone else).

And in about 5 minutes, we were in. Thank goodness for all women staff who obviously have kids. And shame on all those adults who gave us the stink eye for cutting in front of them. Whatever!

So we get in and sit down, and Bella, bless her heart is so happy and smiling (she had no CLUE what she was in for) and holding out her arm, telling them her name, and how old she is (THREE FIVE! she says, which means 3.5 or three and a half). So they get the rubber tourniquet around her arm, clean the area and then go in with the needle (mind you, she was in my lap/clutches, there was one phlebotemist doing the draw and another holding Bella's arm, and poor Mark standing there holding my purse).

And could they immediately find a vein? Oh, OF COURSE NOT! They had to dig a while - I mean, why make it easy? And by now, Bella is looking down and she literally says "I do not want that in my arm anymore!" and immediately starts weeping (and with tears, there's drool people) and then - BAM- it's waterworks for dear old mom, and we're both dripping tears, drool and snot everywhere (did I mention I am STILL sick?). And they fill a large vial with her blood, which Bella wouldn't stop looking at, crying the whole while. We must have been quite a sight.

But then, like that, it was over. They put a gauze on it, and wrapped her arm in that rubbery, sticky tape stuff that was orange with little smiley faces all over it.

And then I whipped out the treat. A HUGE lollipop (not one of those weenie dum dums - I called in the reinforcements :->). And the tears were gone. And she SMILED.

I think that getting your blood drawn is alot like labor. You totally forget the pain (well most of it) after it's over.

And as we walked out the door of the lab, guess what they gave her? A pinwheel! Is that the coolest? Whoever is in charge of that decision should be promoted - she LOVED it. She had her lollipop in one hand and the pinwheel in the other and she was just invincible as we walked to the car.

For the rest of the day, she was very proud of herself, telling the folks at my office what happened, and then my folks. And I think the memory of it all faded even more as the day progressed, because tonight she had to ask "Mama, which arm did they take blood from?"

And I wont tell you the story about how a certain 3 year old was waving her pinwheel out the window of the car only to have it drop in the middle of traffic, and how said mom had to drive all the way back to the lab where they were nice enough to give us another? Well, maybe I should because that's how a pinwheel really saved the day today. I think Bella would still be crying if they didn't give us another.

Thank God tomorrow is a new day.

We'll have results by the end of the week. I am trying to stay very positive. I hope, hope, hope that we get a low level, so we can hope for her outgrowing this allergy some day. I would do just about anything to see that day come. I am hoping that the good deeds I've done in my life will come back to me on this front.

And how are you?


ChupieandJ'smama said...

Poor baby! It's so hard to see them go through that. We have our allergist appt (and blood draw) on Thurs. Wish us luck!

Pez said...

Poor Bella! Poor you! Blood draws for kids are so stressful.

Our allergist now applies EMLA cream ("Magic Cream") for the kids which numbs their arm for the blood draws. The downfall is that they have to wrap their arms in Saran Wrap for 20 mins or so until the arm is sufficiently numbed. Makes the world of difference for the kids (and parents!) though. Ask your allergist about it next time!

Keri Fadden said...

I remember my little ones first blood draw at 7 months and I am not looking forward to going back when he is three! Sounds like you both did a great job. It's amazing what a little pin wheel can do. Let us know what the results are.

Amy said...

Are the technicians using the little butterfly catheter? THis makes it much easier. With that said, I do think mom is making the situation SO much worse than it should be. Really, mom, get a grip or Bella will read your fears and anxiety and assume she needs to react in the same way. My son has had multiple serious life threatening health problems since he was young and a blood draw while nerve racking the first time, becomes routine.

He is 21 now, administers his own weekly infusion of gamma globulin as he makes no antibodies of his own. He is getting ready to go to Italy 5 weeks for an archeological dig with his university. Am I worried? Yes, but I need to manage my fear. Please don't cripple your child with the over reaction to a blood draw, even at 3!

Gabs said...

Thanks for the parenting advice, but she was anything but scarred by a few tears of mine. And I didn't say I was hysterical about it.

Crippling, indeed.