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.
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.