What’s that saying about “the best-laid plans”…?
As an allergy momma, I understand this sentiment intimately.
Vigilance and planning make it so Shaun can have happy, healthy experiences out in the world. But you see sometimes even our best-laid plans (the ones based on trial and error, research and our care plan), fall short and end with some type of reaction.
Last week, we shared some ideas about How to Enjoy a Beach Day with Food Allergies. It seemed like a timely blog post as we were headed to our family cottage to enjoy the beach for a few days.
The day after our post went up, my mom (Shaun’s Mimi) and I began to plan and pack to take Shaun down to the shore for the afternoon.
Shaun safe food …. Check
Medication and care plan … Check
Blue Lizard Sunscreen … Check
Sand chair, sand toys & umbrella … Check
Long sleeve rash guard shirt … Check
Full coverage beach hat … Check
Extra 100% cotton, clean, dry clothes … Check
Finally, we have the car packed up and we head down to the beach.
We Arrive. Unpack the car, off to the sand to scope out a spot that seems open, close enough to the water, but not too far from the bathrooms and that will allow for easy egress should we need to head out in a hurry.
My mom and Shaun headed down to the water’s edge as I set up our little space. I put in the umbrella, got some towels set up and put our medications and food cooler in the shade.
I walked down to the water … and I took a nice deep breath of ocean air! I enjoyed the interaction between Shaun and Mimi as they waded a little deeper into the waves. Feeling grateful and peaceful I returned to our spot on the sand, settled into my chair and grabbed my book.
Not even one page of reading and Shaun was standing in front of me shivering. Bouncing up and down at his knees just a little bit … he was clearly uncomfortable. I suggested he lay in the sun, on the towel, so he could warm up and dry off a bit. But he continued to bounce and tell me “momma I can’t lay down.”
Finally, after a few minutes of frustrating back and forth about laying down to warm up, he asked to go to the potty. Off we went back up the sand toward the bathhouse, used the potty and then back to the sand we marched.
Hopeful that Shaun was now content, I planned on picking my book back up while he spent some time building in the sand!
Unfortunately, as soon as we arrived back at our spot on the beach Shaun started itching. For Shaun itching happens often so there was no need to panic or pack up.
Me: “Hey buddy, what’s going on?’ (I try to keep my questions open-ended so I am not giving him words he will just repeat back to me)
Shaun: “My knee pits itch”
Me: “I see that … any other spots itchy?”
But I could see he had already started scratching around his waistband and his crotch …
I decided we needed to take off his clothes to get a look at all his skin. Mimi and I help him get off his wet shirt and hold up a blanket as we take off his bathing suit (we are trying to teach him he can’t just be naked anywhere he wants … ahhhh parenthood)
The creases of his knees were red and puffy with hives but the rest of his body seemed okay. I wrapped him in the towel, sat in the shade with him lying across me while Mimi got us some ice packs from the cooler in an attempt to calm down his hives.
For the next few minutes, I tried to settle him. He rolled this way and that. He squirmed. He began to itch his ears and eyes. So I stood him back up and opened the towel to look at him again … he had hives on his torso, behind his ears and in the creases of his thighs. So I scooped him up in the towel and quickly made my way to the bathhouse where they have freshwater showers.
As soon as I turned the handle to rinse Shaun off he darted out of the water screaming “its ice-cold!!!”
Yes, it was time to go home …
We had not even been there for 30 minutes.
I knew with the way the hives were spreading that if we didn’t rinse him in freshwater and get his skin covered in clean dry clothes the hives were not going to calm down.
So back to the sand we went to get Mimi and pack up all the stuff. I didn’t want to bring Shaun back onto the sand so I sat him at the entrance (that was in my view 100% of the time), with a lifeguard.
Lugging Shaun and all our stuff back to the car as quickly as possible so we could return to the cottage to get his hives under control.
When we arrived it was straight to the shower, a dose of hydroxyzine, ointment and cotton PJs (long pants / long sleeves) And within about 30 minutes he was finally more comfortable.
Shaun stayed amazingly calm and happy despite the discomfort of the hives.
Was it life-threatening? No, not this time, thank God!
However, it was uncomfortable. It was stressful. It ended our afternoon at the beach before it even really began. It was disappointing and frustrating but it will not stop us from going back!
What caused his hives? Almost impossible to answer. Often with Shaun’s hives, we don’t know the exact trigger: too hot, too cold, something in the ocean, the detergent residue on his bathing suit, the sand, something on the toilet seat that contacted his skin? And yes, this makes me crazy because without knowing the cause we can’t modify our plan to prevent it next time.
See, allergy living can put you into a bubble if you let it. You must be relentless and determined to keep engaging even when, despite your careful, thoughtful preparation, you end up having a reaction.
John and I feel it is critical to teach Shaun how to avoid becoming isolated! How to live a full safe life even though sometimes his beach trip will be cut short due to hives.
Here is to a hive free beach trip next time,
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