Dante and Laura and I spent Wednesday morning at the allergist’s office for a FOOD CHALLENGE! I love that name — it sounds like a video game or a reality show on the cooking channel, but in fact it’s an allergy test. When Dante was about a year old, we did a blood test to check for allergies, and came up with three: eggs, peanuts, and cats. The cat isn’t going anywhere — he has about 8 years seniority over Dante — though we do vacuum a lot and try to keep Dante’s stuff hair-free. We have, however, never introduced eggs or peanuts into his diet.
I was sort of skeptical about the blood test, but then they did a skin test about a year later, and sure enough, big welts showed up under the peanut and egg drops. Neither allergy was listed as terribly severe — he isn’t one of those kids whose health is endangered by the slightest skin contact with anything that’s ever been in the same room with a peanut — but we’ve avoided both foods assiduously nonetheless. Actually, that’s not quite true. We’ve found that he can have cakes, muffins, or other such baked goods that contain eggs. However, once we gave him fried rice, without realizing that it contained egg, and were rewarded with a big rash on his belly.
His most recent test indicated that his egg allergy might be lessening — some kids do outgrow their allergies. So what’s indicated in that situation is a FOOD CHALLENGE! What this means is that we give him a little teeny tiny piece of egg, and see how he reacts. If he’s okay, then we give him a little bit larger dose, and so on until and unless he exhibits an adverse reaction. The whole thing is done inside the allergist’s office just so that the appropriate equipment is on hand should the process go terribly awry.
That’s what we did on Wednesday. They’d take his vitals, give him some egg, and then release us for 20 minutes. Then the cycle would start again. We brought a bunch of toys to the office and played with him there. He behaved really well, I’m pleased to say, even though it was a difficult situation in some ways. He was very interested in playing with the medical equipment, and our very kind nurse happily showed him how to use the pulse/oxygen meter and the blood pressure gauge, or as he called them, the biter and the puffer. (Biter because the pulse/ox has a little alligator clip that “bites” down on the finger for a reading.)
He ate the bits of egg (scrambled) without complaint, and without wanting them mixed in with anything. On his final, rather large dose, he started saying that he was too full to eat anymore, though I think ultimately he was just sick of eating eggs.
We kept building the dose, and he kept showing no reaction. In total, he consumed about an egg and a half, and he was totally clear of any symptoms. Allergist’s assessment: he has outgrown his egg allergy! Hooray! That will open up some menu options, and also provide another possible avenue of protein, which we’re always struggling a bit to get into him.
Today, Laura had this conversation with him:
L: Honey, I’m so proud of how well you did at the Egg Challenge, and the great news is now, you can eat lots of new foods, because a lot of foods have egg in them!
D: I don’t know what foods have egg in them.
L: Well, there’s —
D: Peanuts have egg in them! I can have peanuts!
Okay, he doesn’t fully grok the concept yet…