Family Magazine

Miserable Little Pricks

By Chase

Slim and I made a trip to visit his allergist last week.

It was a highly successful appointment. We gained valuable new information we’re sure will help us better manage his allergies.

And manage is what you do with allergies like Slim’s.

But gaining that information came with a price. Not in the form of medical expenses; the cost of a hotel room; the corn dog and Kraft macaroni and cheese lovingly prepared by the culinary artisans at Applebee’s (yes, Kraft macaroni and cheese); the elusive Skylander’s Giants character Chop Chop Slim scored at the Toys “R” Us conveniently located directly across the parking lot from Applebee’s; or the sweet lenticular 3D Star Wars playing cards we picked up at Barnes and Noble to support the 9-year-old’s burgeoning cribbage habit.

No, the real price for that information came at the expense of Slim’s back — and his physical comfort — in the form of a prick test.

Actually, two prick tests (which are actually more of scratch tests). A few of the allergens reacted so strongly on the initial panel that the administering nurse worried the results may have been compromised, so we left for a few hours and returned to have a second panel conducted excluding those allergens that were definite positives from the initial test. Which was followed up with a blood draw because they were still having trouble sorting out what was actually causing positives and what wasn’t.

And Slim’s reaction to all of this?

Nothing. It’s all old hat for this allergy kid.

He played Plants vs. Zombies on the iPad while the thirtysome scratches were administered (twice) and during the accompanying 15-minute wait for the allergens to do their thing.

He joked with the nurse that if he ever met this guy Pistachio (#29), he was going to rip his arms off and beat him silly with them. We all had a good laugh at that.

A couple of times he said his back was itchy, but that was the extent of his complaints. And that’s consistent with how Slim’s handled his condition all along.

His allergy journey began at age two (technically, I suppose, it actually started a few years prior when a different sort of prick test came back positive, if you know what I mean) after he ingested a fraction of an Oreo with peanut butter filling. Things immediately went awry.

Let me tell ya, if you’re looking to get people hopping in an ER, walk in holding a wheezing, hive-covered toddler with his eyes swollen shut and say, “We think he might have a peanut allergy.” Your wait time becomes exactly zero minutes.

Thankfully, Slim’s never had another scare like that.

He had his first prick test at age five — for environmental allergens — and the results suggested he’s basically allergic to Earth. His doctor said she’d seen tests with more severe reactions, but never one with as many.

Allergies affect Slim’s health to some degree every second of every day. Feeling “good” is a relative term for him, and it entails a strict, inflexible regiment of medication, diet, and a whole lot of lotion (he’s got severe eczema to boot).

But he doesn’t complain. It’s just what life is for him.

I realize many parents have children who face challenges far more severe than Slim’s, but he’s our kid, so I’d rather he didn’t have to deal with any of it. But he does, and the way he does — with such courage and strength – is both humbling and inspirational to me.

As he lay on the examining bed — for the second time — distractedly planting his assorted flora in an effort to eradicate the slowly-marauding legion of undeads while waiting for the legion of allergens on his back to wage its own attack, I leaned down and whispered, “You’re a brave kid.”

Then I corrected myself. “No, scratch that: you’re a brave person.”

“Thanks, Dad.”

I don’t think he caught the pun, but that’s okay.

He was too busy ignoring those miserable little pricks.


Miserable Little Pricks

“Back, vegetable, back! I’m allergic!”

In related news, I’m trying to convince Slim he may be able to occasionally play this whole allergy thing in his favor by claiming he’s allergic to certain things even if he isn’t. For example:

  • Foods he just doesn’t want to eat (“I’d love some of that lime Jello mold with shredded carrots and cottage cheese, but I’m allergic.”)
  • Clothes he doesn’t want to wear (An argyle allergy is very, very rare, but it could happen.)
  • Shows his younger siblings want to watch (The entire world should be allergic to Max and Ruby.)
  • Math homework (“Sorry, Mr. Teacher. I couldn’t complete that worksheet. I’m severely allergic to long division.”)
  • Girls (He’ll outgrow this one eventually.)

Heck, I’d claim allergies every now and then if I could get away with it. Some things I wish I was allergic to:

  • Vegetables in general (Bleh. I only eat them because I feel obligated as a semi-adult.)
  • Reality television (Celebrity diving? Really?)
  • Going to Walmart (This one really flares up when I’ve got the kids with me.)
  • Anything claiming “SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED” (Lying bastards.)
  • Arguing children (If only my ears would swell shut.)


Anything you are (or wish you were) allergic to?

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog