medical · slice of life

Back in my day…

After a few years of allergy medicine, this spring’s allergy season defeated Isabelle. One day she declared, “I’m ready for allergy shots!”

I have sung the praises of allergy shots since I finished my second round of allergy shots in 2016. (That’s right! The shots I received from 1990-1996 in the NY Metropolitan Area did nothing to help me when we moved to the Susquehanna Valley in 2009. By 2011, I realized I’d have to try allergy shots again or risk scratching my skin off and rubbing my eyes out. Clearly, I selected the shots!) However, getting a kid to agree to allergy shots takes time since the scratch testing alone is unbearable!

BUT, Isabelle’s allergist informed us we could opt for a blood test, in lieu of pricking her arms multiple times with needles. WHERE THE HECK WAS THIS OPTION IN 2011? (I won’t be bitter about the technology not being present in 1989. After all, dinosaurs were walking the Earth back then.) One stick versus 40-ish pricks on both arms? No itching? Just as accurate? Isabelle agreed to the testing as soon as the blood test option was offered.

Fast-forward to today. Isabelle took her allergy pill and heard my gloom and doom warnings (eg, Your arms may itch afterward. You may have some swelling or achiness after the shots. You might want to apply an ice pack if your arms really hurt.) arrived at the pediatric specialties office. After the nurse asked us the Covid questions, I inquired, “Do you have ice packs in case she’s sore afterwards?”

“I do. I can also use freeze spray to numb the area beforehand and I can give her itch cream if she’s feeling itchy after the shots.”

“You have — what?!!?” I spat.

“Freeze cream and itch spray. And ice packs.”

“You’re kidding me?!!? When I got my shots here a few years ago, all they offered were ice packs! And when I was a kid, they didn’t even have ice packs! All ya got back then was a ‘Don’t scratch too much’ warning from the nurse.”

“They don’t have freeze spray and itch cream in the adult clinic?”

“They didn’t from 2011-2016!” I replied.

She chuckled, but not unkindly. “We have it all in Peds.”

“Lucky you,” I told Isabelle. “Back in my day, we just suffered.”

I’m happy to report that thanks to the freeze spray, Isabelle didn’t need so much as a hand to hold. While she didn’t need the itch cream, I told her to take it when I noticed her scratching. If it’s an option, then why suffer? After all, it ain’t the 90s anymore.

Shot 1 of 2
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9 thoughts on “Back in my day…

  1. I am glad things went so smoothly for Isabelle.

    I got allergy shots in the early 80s…we didn’t even have icepacks! Now, I give my dog his allergy shot in the scruff of his neck and he gets a treat. The times sure have changed!

  2. I hope these allergy shots work for her! Every time I have moved to a new area new allergies have popped up and old allergies have disappeared. Now that I have been here 20 years hardly anything bothers me, but when I first got here I couldn’t bear the pine tree pollen (first time in my life that I knew this even exists!) I hope Isabella enjoys all the comforts being shared with her!

  3. This is amazing news to me as well, Stacey – I took allergy shots for years as a child. I remember the skin test, on my back. I had such reactions to some things – the pricked places swelled and ran together. I showed my friends and they were horrified. And just a couple of weeks ago, after a shrimp dinner, I broke out in rampant hives. I have loved shrimp all my life, and now – BAM! I am willing to do another skin test to be SURE it was the shrimp! Isabelle is so wise to announce her need for the shots, and I am so glad and grateful to know that these extra layers of relief exist.

  4. I shouldn’t laugh at your suffering – after all, I was alive and received medical treatment in the dark ages, too – but you nailed the tone in this post. Bet you had to walk to school, too – 2 miles uphill in the snow both ways!!

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