In the weeks following our our appointment with the allergist who told us Lady Bug has potentially life-threatening allergies to many common foods, I had a lot of nightmares. Also, we scheduled an appointment with a doctor at National Jewish, a world-class hospital in Denver considered to be among the best in the nation as far as allergies. With such extreme issues on our hands, Dan and I felt a second opinion would be valuable. Though we hardly ever leave Boulder city limits, we make exceptions for fancy doctors (as well as grandparents and certain restaurants).
The consultation was as valuable as it was confusing, however. The way the first doctor approached things versus the second had me thinking medicine is perhaps more like the finger paintings of a three year-old than the mixture of art and science I had previously believed it to be.
The doctor at National Jewish said that because her eczema was flared up when the skin testing was performed, the readings were likely to have been false positives. He said we should keep the baby away from nuts, but as far as everything else, he basically said, “She’s your second kid? Let her try different foods. See what happens. Give her a little more cream if her eczema worsens.”
We were equal parts elated and puzzled.
We left with so many questions: What did it all mean? Why did the original allergist paint such a dire picture? And also, if after a couple of glasses of wine, despite my best intentions, would I devour the random peanut butter chocolate chip cookie in the pantry, the rest of the chocolate chip cookies in the freezer, and two generous slices of leftover vanilla birthday cake preserved in saran wrap in the freezer, because it has been over four months since I’d had had a legitimate (ie not vegan, gluten-free) dessert?
The answers: We aren’t really sure, we will have to ask her, and yes indeed, I would.
Shortly after the doctor’s appointment/cake binge I had eggs for the first time in six weeks. Within a couple of days, Lady Bug developed a sad, drawn-out case of diarrhea.
The idea that the eggs were the cause of her illness seems obvious. Except any good scientist knows that correlation does not necessarily equal causation.So we can add to the aforementioned mysteries of the universe: Why does my child have diarrhea?
After speaking to experts including but not limited to my mother, my sister, various friends, the phone nurse at National Jewish, the phone nurse at Lady Bug’s doctor’s office, and taking her to the doctor for a sick visit, I have narrowed it down to a mere five possibilities.
1- Teething (aka the reason virtually anything out of the ordinary happens to a baby)
3- Egg allergy
4- Egg sensitivity due to not having been exposed to any eggs at all via my breast milk in over a month
5- Natural result of licking bathroom floor, soles of shoes, toys in doctors’ waiting areas, etc.
The family doctor dismissed it as a GI bug, but I’m suspicious. How come no one else in our family had a GI bug? Why would she have diarrhea for the first time in her life right after I tried eggs for the first time in forever? Then again, why hadn’t she ever had diarrhea when I was eating eggs to rival Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke? (We have chickens and they lay delicious eggs which I was eating constantly). Of course, I could try eating scrambled eggs again and see what happens, except “see what happens” means “prepare to have a fussy baby whose diaper needs to be changed every 60-90 minutes, don’t even think about trying to serve anything more complicated than take-out for dinner, and also don’t be surprised when your three year-old acts like a maniac because, naturally, she’s jealous of all the attention the baby is getting.” Sounds like a fun science experiment, doesn’t it?
I’m not up for data collection right now. Also, I’m pretty sure my science career peaked in 1991 when I won 3rd place in the middle school science fair. While I obviously can’t be trusted around cake, I won’t be eating straight up eggs for the foreseeable future.