Thursday, 10 May 2012

Numb Bum Day - The Follow Up

We'll we had Numb Bum day a couple of days ago and I'm pleased to report we are home and the Wee Man is at school. 

It was a long, hard, anxiety filled day, to put it nicely.  I've learned how much of a performance nurses and doctors go through on a daily basis.  The words "putting on a brave face" seem irrelevant when you realise what they have to do to placate parents and young patients. I think the Wee Man's medical team deserve an Oscar for their acting performance. 

It wasn't until we were finally discharged that the nurses and doctors let on how dangerous Numb Bum day really was.  We knew it was dangerous, otherwise why do it in a hospital.  But there was that bit in my brain that thought it would be ok since we were in a hospital filled with nurses and doctors.  His Consultant was on the ward all day who is an allergy speicailst, his allergy nurse was within ten feet of us all day.  So all was well in my uneducated mind.  But throughout the day we had little indications that what was happening to the Wee Man was pretty much as life threatening as you can get, short of sticking your finger in a socket whilst sitting in a bath of water.

So what made me think all was not as rosy as I had thought?  Well...

1/ The Consultant's instruction to give the Wee Man a good dose of his anti-histamine before anything was done to him was the first indication.  Seemed a sensible idea to me though.

2/ Then we were advised that a cannula was to be put in...just in case.  That was the first real warning that the day wasn't to be as "easy" as I had first thought.

3/ The Wee Man was given the bed directly facing the nursing station, despite there being lots of other available beds, again innocent enough until I realised that all the nurses were keeping a very vigilant eye on us.

4/ The extra, careful scrutiny the nurses and doctors had on what each other were doing whilst they were with the Wee Man.  I'm pretty sure it's not "normal" for nurses to ask, and ask and ask doctors if their gloves are latex free or for them to order doctors to "wash your hands!".

5/ At the end of the day, Nurse K the allergy nurse, revealed to us that she had been carrying Epipens with her all day.  This is a Nurse who on a daily basis performs food challenges on allergic children.  Literally feeding allergic foods to children with proven allergies to the food and who are at a very high risk of anaphylaxis from any contact with the food.  Carrying Epipens on her person is not "normal" for her even in those life threatening situations, so for her to do so on Numb Bum Day made me realise just how much danger the Wee Man had been in. 

And finally the biggest indication that Numb Bum Day was indeed a Big day was when we were finally given the all clear and the whole medical team physically relaxed into themselves.  It was so strange to watch and experience.  I could see the tension ebb away from Nurse K.  She slumped into her chair and her whole body just ..relaxed.  The tension on her face melted away and she was our Nurse K again.  The smile on her face was nothing like the forced grin she was displaying all day.  She was herself again. 

I had a chat with Dr. H., the Wee Man's Consultant, and even she showed physical signs of relief.  This woman is a first class Consultant who's seen and dealt with just about anything you could imagine an allergy Consultant would have to deal with.

I thought maybe I was projecting my own sense of relief onto everyone but thinking back to what was being said, how it was being said and their physical demeanour, I'm pretty sure the relief the medical team felt far outweighed the relief I felt.  They must have been pretty stressed. 

Despite all of that the Wee Man took everything in his stride as usual.  The cannula was dismissed as a nuisance.  Just before Nurse K assisted the doctor in putting the cannula in she looked at the Wee Man and made him promise he'd "still like me after I've done this?".  The Wee Man gave her his "Are you crazy?!" look.  The Play Nurse anxiously advised me to hold a book between his face and his hand so he wouldn't see what was happening.  I told her there was no need and she thought I was insane and looked on anxiously.  The cannula was in and his hand bandaged without so much as a wince or a whimper from him.

He completely ignored the actual injections of the vaccine.  The adventure story I was reading to him was much more exciting.  In fact his only complaint from the day was that the cannula inhibited his ability to play with the toys in the toy room.

The medical staff were full of praise for his "braveness" and they were in awe of his maturity.  I must admit I do think the medical staff were being overly anxious about the procedures being done to the Wee Man.  I do believe that anxiety breeds anxiety.  There were many a time I had to sugar coat whatever the medical team were saying and dismiss them as "crazy".

In all it was an experience I would not wish to go through again.  Unfortunately we're back into the hospital next month for a soya challenge.  I hope, hope, hope the Wee Man passes.  Introducing soya into his diet would open up so much more variety for him.  Not just the yoghurts, cheese and ice cream but all the things with hidden soya in them.

Maybe, just maybe the Wee Man will soon be able to eat some chocolate! 


  1. OMG just reading that made the hairs on my neck stand up. What a day for everyone involved. Am glad it all went ok and that Wee Man is now covered for some of those horrid illnesses that the rest of us vacinate against without a glance!!

    Fingers crossed on the soya front - if that is ok I am guessing that opens up another avenue of 'normalness' for you :)

  2. What a brave little boy, glad to hear all is ok and everything went well on the big day xxx

  3. Glad it all went well. He's such a brave little lad. xx

  4. Wow, what a day and a half. I'm so glad that everything went OK. He is so brave. Lots of chocolates sound good to me!

  5. Numb Bum Day such a great way to make it not so scary for your son! I would much rather the staff were over anxious than under, I know when we take Ethan for any check ups or surgeries they are a little OTT with a bed booked 'just in-case' but I'd rather know that if something goes wrong, he can get treated there and we not have the whole hoha of trying to find him a bed. Last time it took 3 days to find somewhere who felt they could treat him!

    I can't believe there aren't latex free injections, latex allergies aren't the most common thing but they should still be catered for. I really hope the soya test goes well, it would make some things so much easier for you all, fingers crossed x


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