Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Dealing With PTSD From Food Allergies
But I thought of you all two mornings ago. That is, I thought of you all after my heart stopped racing and the nausea and shakes went away.
Monday morning, my daughter (the one we called "Teflon girl" because illness seems to just slide off her) came into the office where I was working. She had just gotten out of bed. She said "Mom, I feel so sick I don't know what to do" and slumped against my shoulder.
I thought she was kidding until I reached out and touched her. Ice cold. Covered in sweat. And losing consciousness.
She got up off the chair and lurched toward her bedroom. I followed her, heart in my mouth, just in time to see her fall full out across her bed, lengthwise. As I ran to her and shook her (no response, eyes wide open), I thought to myself "This cannot be happening. This CANNOT be happening! This is the one who doesn't HAVE medical issues!"
Fifteen seconds of shaking and calling her name - no response. I ran for the office phone and dialed 911. "I need an ambulance!" tumbled out, followed by our address, her symptoms. Yes, she was breathing. No, she wasn't responsive. No, she did not have a history of seizure disorders. More questions I don't remember. Why are they talking to me while my daughter is laying here? Why aren't they on their way?
What I had just been through. My daughter, as it turned out, was probably going to be o.k. The EMTs did come (seemed like forever, probably only took them 5 minutes though) and checked her out. All vitals were fine. She felt fine.
When we went to the doctor later on in the day, he said she probably had a stomach virus and simply fainted. Apparently it happens a lot to teenage girls.
But there were also a series of questions from him. Any history of sudden death in the family? (Turns out cardiac disorders can manifest with fainting episodes.) Any history of familial fainting? I reminded him of her bone marrow disorder when she was a toddler...could this be related? "No," he replied, "although I'll be happy to run a hemoglobin test if it would reassure you. But I can tell from looking at her that her iron and red blood cell count are fine."
I found myself looking at my daughter in a whole new way on the way home. My Teflon girl was all of a sudden...fragile. I couldn't sleep all Monday night. I kept going into her room to make sure she was o.k., as if my presence could magically hold back another episode.
Does all this sound familiar?
Honestly, I don't know how we do it all day, every day. The idea that a seemingly healthy child could just keel over is horrific. Living in the what if it happens again world every day is even worse.
How do you shake the fear, once it's in your house? In your heart?
I don't know. I wish I did. All I can do is write about it.
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