Achoo! Achoo! Achoo!

Now that we have medical insurance I’m slowly getting the kids caught up on various appointments.  I’m holding off on checkups for myself (haven’t had a physical or been to the dentist in 6 years) because the insurance has a high deductible and each visit results in a hefty bill at this point. It’s easy to get behind as we still live paycheck to paycheck for the most part.

My son, adopted at age 3 with a repaired heart defect, has the most medical issues and I am happy to say that he has had his overdue cardiology check up and while he has a leaky valve that is in a wait and check back stage he has been deemed well enough to go out for sports next year by the heart doctor.  His allergist (this month’s appointment) regrettably disagrees!  My poor little boy who has a serious needle phobia underwent a skin test on Wednesday that included 93 pokes and 6 larger needles. His arms were pockmarked and quickly erupted in numerous red itchy welts.IMAG2480

When the reading was over the diagnoses was severely allergic! To nearly everything, some more than others.  He’s mainly allergic to all tree, grass, and weed pollens, mold, and dust mites.  Secondarily he’s allergic to soy (! which seems to be in EVERYTHING), almonds, hazelnuts, white potatoes and paprika. Plus feathers and cockroaches and gerbils.

He now has daily allergy medicine – the generic zyrtek, and a nasal spray at the cost of $50/month and an epi pen- and the doctor recommended that we get AC as dust mites like warm humid environments and we could ditch the fans and keep the windows closed to keep out pollen.  Also a HEPA air purifier, a dehumidifier, protective covers for mattress and pillows and oh by the way consider allergy shots (3 a week at $30 plus the cost of the serum for the next 4 to 5 years).

All of this reminds me of a story I heard on NPR this week about why insured people are skipping care due to high costs.  We can’t afford to do everything the doctor suggested – especially not the shots at thousands of dollars a year but also not the AC (we have a whole house AC that came with the unit but need to pay to have it installed and then running it will raise the utility bills), the dehumidifier, the HEPA air purifier or the allergy vacuum.  I plunked down $76 for an epi-pen, and two prescriptions and bought a pillow protector.  We will try to avoid the foods we can – soy is turning out to be difficult but it’s clearly not a life threatening allergy as almost everything he loves (Asian food, top ramen, cup o noodles, the breakfast burritos he prefers to start the day, soups, even the meatballs he likes on his spaghetti) has soy in it and he’s eaten those things regularly. And there’s no more hugging the chickens! That’s the best we can do for now.

This entry was posted in healthcare, insurance and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Achoo! Achoo! Achoo!

  1. Peg says:

    I am catching up and just read this post and your next, June 19th- wow! When it rains it pours health wise at your house, but it sounds as if you are doing quite well navigating all the changes. I do hope you will slow down long enough to mend and take a much needed break from the “to do ” list. On this posting you mentioned whole house air conditioning is available but needs to be installed ,and using it will increase the energy bills. From what I have read on humidity contributing to the rapid growth of bad organisms causing all kinds of potentially serious complications, I would highly recommend installing and using the air conditioner be in the top 3 on your list. You have an environmental and science background – you know there ares times when the A/C is a very significant tool in maintaining good health and healing. I am not a fan of A/C myself, but when humidity is involved, using A/C certainly could be a positive game changer. If you have to pay money why not put it to energy that will help you feel better and prevent you from having to pay more medical bills? Just a thought. Wishing you and your family well! – Peg

  2. Judith says:

    I’m sorry to hear he has so many things to be weary of. I know the problem of needing to avoid something that seems to be in everything, can be very frustrating.

    My sister was diagnosed with an allergy against dust mites, 20 years ago when there weren’t so many options available regarding covers and such. One low-level thing my dad did regularly was sticking her bedding and stuffed toys into huge plastic bags and then sucking the air out with the vacuum-cleaner and keeping it at that for a few minutes. It does nothing against the adult mites, but he said it pops the new eggs, so cuts down on the general mite population.
    Also, not making the bed after getting up will help (there are actual studies who figured that out, who’d have thought), because then the bed dries out quicker whereas a made bed keeps the moist environment the mites like.

  3. bogart says:

    Ouch (on the allergy test). Poor guy! I’m sorry to hear he has so many allergies, hope that knowing about them and being able to make some changes will help.

    Good luck getting (more) caught up on the exams and treatments you and your family need. You’ve got a big brood, so not just lots of mouths but also lots of health care! Can your oldest get some care/preventive while she’s at school (college), to save $$$?

  4. Lynn says:

    Been there done that (have almost all the same allergies). Doing any of the things suggested will help a bit and it adds up. I found the mattress and pillow covers helped a lot, as did the dehumidifier…you don’t need a huge one if it’s only going to be in his bedroom, and the better you can get the bedroom, that’s a third of his day so is a great start. No carpet, no stuffed toys, no curtains in there really cut down the dust. I did the shots…very expensive and time consuming and did not help at all. This is all overwhelming, to do it all, but just a few things will help a lot.

  5. Kelly Sangree says:

    I know this doesn’t fix all the problems, but you can make a 20″ box fan into a fair air filter. You buy a 20″x 20″x 1″ high quality air filter and duct tape it to the “suck” side of the fan, and switch it on. It’s surprisingly effective at removing particulates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.