As most of our readers know, Will is a walking allergy. At nine-months-old he was diagnosed with allergies to wheat, egg, and dairy, though a few months later the wheat allergy resolved itself. At nearly three-years-old, Will was diagnosed with an allergy to peanuts, and over the last four years he has developed various seasonal allergies and a sensitivity to cat. It’s also very likely that Will has asthma. Poor kid.
Our allergist and allergy clinic in Ann Arbor were very well-respected and came highly recommended. And I hated it there. The allergists were condescending, unprofessional, and at times downright disrespectful, and they never once made an effort to actually help our family navigate the extremely confusing, frustrating, and scary terrain that is allergies in children. If I hadn’t known we were moving to Texas I would have found a new allergist last year, but since I knew we were relocating, I decided to wait it out with our Ann Arbor allergist and start anew when we arrived in College Station.
Once we found a pediatrician in College Station, I met with her and asked for an allergist recommendation. She spoke very highly of one particular doctor and his office, so I called and spoke to the receptionist and one of the nurses. They were kind and understanding and flexible (foreign to me, when it came to allergists) and assured me their office could provide for Will the two primary things I was looking for in a new allergist: a complete retesting for all of Will’s already diagnosed allergies as well as testing for other common allergens, and a progressive treatment plan. I was SO frustrated with being bound to four-year-old testing results as well as never being given any options as far as improving Will’s condition was concerned.
Our first appointment was last week, and while the actual test results are still pending (update to come), the visit was a tremendous success. The office was wonderfully equipped for children – allergy testing requires kids to sit and wait for LONG periods of time (while their skin flares up and itches like crazy), and this office had DVD players, books, Legos, and train sets in every patient room. The clinic knew how to test children, both in terms of pain management and engagement/interaction, so while allergy testing isn’t fun, this round of tests was considerably less painful than all rounds Will’s had in the past. The allergist spent 45 minutes talking to me about Will’s history and 15 minutes talking to me about the preliminary results, and when we left we had updated prescriptions and an actual plan of attack (again, update to come).
For those of you who aren’t familiar with allergy testing, here’s what it looks like.
Each of the abbreviations on the left was an allergen stick, and each abbreviation on the right was an allergen shot. By the time we left our appointment Will had endured 43 allergen sticks, 20 allergen shots, and a blood draw. “Trooper” doesn’t even come close.
Stay tuned - hopefully we'll have good (or at least better) news to share soon!