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The Allergy Blogs • Sam's Story

Allergic Test Subject – Not!

Samantha Yaffe’s frank take on motherhood with allergies.

A few years back, we found ourselves between allergists. Our first one died a year after Lucas was diagnosed with peanut, tree nut and egg, and the second one was, well – to put it mildly – not a good fit.

After pulling a few strings, Lucas, Honey and I headed off to meet allergist No. 3 – a very reputable doctor, renowned for his allergy research.

I was feeling confident and partly excited as we waited the requisite 45 minutes in the hallway along with dozens of other allergics of all ages and stages. The wait continued for what seemed like another hour inside the good doctor’s office, a warmish atmosphere, with some kiddie toys on the floor and family photos adorning his desk.

When he finally arrived, the greeting was a bit curt, but I quickly launched into our story, which he seemed keenly interested in for about 40 seconds before the nurse came knocking. “Just a minute,” he interrupted, and left us again waiting in the room.

Ages later he returned and instructed me to resume, but this time he was totally distracted, his eyes affixed to the door. It wasn’t another minute until he excused himself again. After yet another in and out, a nurse finally ushered us back out to the corridor for some more quality waiting time, no explanation.

It wasn’t until the code blue sounded minutes later, and we witnessed what appeared to be every doctor, nurse and orderly in the hospital running down the hall into the room next to the doctor’s office, that we realized there was a real emergency.

At some point during the pandemonium, we and the rest of the allergics were moved to a waiting room around the corner, given few details despite a whirlwind of questions from the anxious lot of us.

Turns out, one of the patients we’d been sitting near in the hallway earlier was there for an oral allergy challenge. She was in her 20s, and I have no idea what she was being challenged with, but whatever it was, was bad, life-threateningly – maybe even terminally – bad.

To this day, I don’t know if she came out alive. I called the hospital the next day and the day after that to find out what happened, but of course nobody was authorized to divulge that information to me.

It was a scarring moment. One I will always remember and be reminded of when I hear the words “oral challenge.”

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