any day without an anaphylactic reaction is a good day

For years I’ve always told doctors that I’m allergic to penicillin, ceclor, and sulfa drugs. Now, I don’t actually remember ever having an allergic reaction to any of these drugs, but my mother does, so I must have been pretty young.  I know I developed these reactions as a result of all the ear infections I had as a child.

Then once while I was in college, I got infected ear lobes. (It turned out that I can only wear solid gold earrings; anything else makes my lobes get itchy, red, or worse.  Turns out it runs in the family; my aunt is the same way.)  So, the campus doctor prescribed me an antibiotic, and I didn’t pay much attention to what it was. I toook what she gave me, and I had no problems.  However, that weekend, when I called home and told my mom about it, she said, “You can’t take amoxicillin! You’re allergic to it!” I responded to her that I’d been taking it for 3 days and was just fine.  I tucked that away in the back of my mind and never forgot that.

So, fast forward to me being married and living in CA. When I was pregnant with Curious J, I got a double ear infection, a sinus infection, and an inner ear infection, all during my first trimester of pregnancy.  That was not fun, to say the least.  My ENT was pretty perplexed as to what he could give me for an antibiotic.  JJ and I decided that once I was no longer pregnant or nursing, I would get tested by his allergist and find out if I was indeed allergic to penicillin.

So, last week, I see the allergy doctor, I share my history with him, and he says that 95% of people with a childhood allergy to penicillin outgrow it by adulthood.  Hoping that would be true for me, I did an “oral challenge” test today in the allergiy doctor’s office; his nurse gave me small doses of penicillin over a few hours, testing my blood pressure after each dose.  Thankfully, I had no reaction whatsoever.  So, apparently I am now no longer allergic to penicillin. Yay!

The doctor suspects that the same thing probably would happen for me if I were to take ceclor or sulfa drugs.  Allergies to them developed in childhood can be outgrown, too, so depending on how quickly the next pregnancy happens, I may do oral challenge tests for those drugs, too.  It would be nice for my doctors to have more antibiotic options for me if I’m ever in a such a situation again.

I had to sit for almost four hours in the doctor’s office today.  Except for my trips into a room to take more penicillin and get my blood pressure checked, I spent the time in the waiting room.  I knew it was going to be a long afternoon, so I brought work with me — all the receipts and financial papers from the past three months to be gone through.  It’s a job that I want to get done, but a job that I have been absolutely dreading.  However, with no children to interrupt me, and nothing else to do but read magazines (which I did a bit), I was able to focus and get a huge dent made in that project.  There’s still more to do, but I got a lot done.  I was thankful for the afternoon in which I forced myself to get a dreaded job done.

Finally, the nurse was amazed at my low blood pressure.  I had my BP taken six times this afternoon, and by the end we were wondering just how low it could go.  I was:

So, apparently 80/50 is as low as I go.  The nurse couldn’t believe my low blood pressure.  But, that also runs in the family on my dad’s side.  The nurse asked me if I get dizzy when I get up, and I said no.  I remember once when I was pregnant with Curious J, the nurse took my BP three times, because she couldn’t believe how low it was (90/60).  The plus side of that is that I can eat all the salty foods (ie. potato chips – yum) that I want!  Most pregnant women are told to avoid extra salt, but I was actually told to eat a little extra salt just to keep my BP from going too low.  🙂