Today was the long-awaited allergist appointment for N, where I was going to get all my questions answered. And I did, but like all of life, things are just a bit different than you expect them to turn out.
1. Does N have a milk allergy? A: no. He has a milk sensitivity. You've already done the test: he got better on a dairy free diet. Suggest testing with lactose-free milk to determine wether it's lactose or milk once and for all.
That was my big question, and I was really hoping for more information and time spent discussing the topic, but he was patient with me and repeated the same answer in many different word combinations: no milk allergy, lady.
2. Does he have seasonal allergies? A: no...but yes. Huh? I brought him here for a milk allergy, but now you're ordering a skin test that does not test for milk even though I clearly see a "milk" vial in that fancy allergy test box. What's going on? Are you testing for a milk allergy or not? I'm sure he's got seasonal allergies like ragweed or hay fever, that's why I give him Zyrtec! Of course I didn't say all this, just some of it (are you sure you don't want to test for milk??), and allowed the skin test to continue. N was a gem and only wiggled when the nurse scratched his back. She also allowed him to choose the marker to number his skin 1-20, so his back in the photo looks much worse than it was- he chose red.
3. So what are the results? Mold. Outdoor mold allergy season begins in March and increases in severity until November in Minnesota once everything freezes.
That's when I had an "ah-ha" moment, to use a teacher term: when I "got it." 1. He seems allergic to everything (and by that I mean milk and pollen) because mold is ALWAYS present outdoors (fortunately we have no known mold in the house). The only non-mold months are during cold and flu season! Not milk, not pollen but MOLD. Who knew?
2. His hospitalization for asthma/pneumonia occurred last October, in the peak of mold season (think decaying wet leaves). Now I see the connection and am sure it was an asthma attack. I distinctly remember an informal photo shoot in a leaf pile last fall, and I'm wondering if it was the day before that happened. No more leaf piles this year!
3. Because allergies are genetic (Hubs meets Dr. H in 2 weeks) it is possible that N will develop more allergies as he ages. I'm certain that Hubs' allergy test will yield many more positives, so it will be helpful to know what to look for in N in the future.
Today was a crash course in allergies for me. Now I'm going to stock up on Zyrtec and get some lactose free milk (still a bit leery about that experiment). N was rewarded for his excellent cooperation with a McD's breakfast sandwich and juice. What a sweetie