Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Explain this to me

After a rather serious allergic reaction, we have been urged by our pediatrician to show DS to an allergist. In addition, a blood test, for which many food items were chosen by us on a whim and in a rush to get out of pediatrician's office, showed to our great shock that DS was allergic to everything tested. We were told to withhold milk and soy and only give him rice milk. I have panicked (What am I going ot feed him? This kid lives on cheese and yogurt!?) and started looking around for an allergist. After several phone calls, we have found a pediatric allergist and made an appointment.

In the mean time, I have done some research on line and among knowledgeable and experienced friends, and they all say one thing and one thing only: the tests are often misleading and wrong. There are a lot of false positives and false negatives in all types of allergy testing. So if we have not seen a reaction to a food, then we could continue giving it to DS. Interesting...

Then we went to the allergist. I will not go on and on about waiting time or the fact the first appointment was a big waste of our time (Consultation, my behind! This is called taking medical history.) On the second visit, after submitting my child to the skin test, we have received even more unexpected results: DS showed allergies to barley, mustard, fish and some other odd items. But not to peaches. All of these unexpected items he had been consuming either extremely rarely or on a regular basis, without any allergic reactions. Peaches, on the other hand, have repeatedly caused him to break out in hives. Milk, to which blood test showed mild allergy, showed up negative on the skin test. Ditto for all the fruits and vegetables that showed strong allergies in blood.

"So what are we to do?" I asked the doc. "Should we avoid these foods, at least the ones he is showing strong allergic reactions?" To which the doctor replied, "If he has been tolerating them, keep giving them to him." Okay, at least the doctor is not trying to make our lives a living dietary restricted hell. But DS was tolerating several foods previously and eating them for months if not years, and then all of a sudden developed strong allergic reactions? "These foods are different," was doc's reply. So basically, if you know that something has caused an allergic reaction, don't give it to your child. And everything else, even if it appeared as allergic on the test, don't avoid. So we are back to square one. I am not gaining anything from this testing. I could have arrived at the same conclusion two 2 hour visits and $70 ago, without a degree in medicine.

So could someone please explain to me why we are doing this? Why the good ole doc scheduled yet another appointment for some additional testing, to figure out exactly what fish DS is allergic to? What will I gain from it? If he is allergic to shrimp or swordfish, I couldn't care less (neither are kosher). And if the test shows tuna, which we had been giving to DS for many months without any problems, then the doc will say to keep giving it to him. What's the point? To satisfy the doctor's natural curiosity? Or to put his proverbial son through medical school? Besides a $35 co-pay for every visit, seeing my poor 2-years old tackled by his dad and screaming from fear until hoarse is just too high a price for not getting anywhere.

I have half the mind to cancel our next appointment. Should I?


  1. Hmm. If you already consulted your knowledgeable and experienced friends some of whom are presumably MDs, one would think that a 3rd appointment by the allergist is hardly necessary. On the other hand, if you do cancel, you'll perseverate on the ' what ifs'.
    Good luck.

  2. I know and that sucks. Well, I haven't consulted MDs on the reasonableness of the third appointment yet. But I surely will.

  3. E-mail me and give me details...something's weird here. What allergic reaction started all this? Was it the only time he's had one? Does he suffer from asthma at all? And had he just finished any medication before the allergic reaction?


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