Monday, December 7, 2009

Tender Mercy

Conor as a pirate on Halloween

I carry an Epi-pen in my purse.


Thankfully, I've never had to use it, but when Conor was very small, we discovered, quite by accident, that he has a very serious allergy to walnuts. So much so, that the first time he had a reaction, it was only because while he was napping I had been eating raw walnuts as a snack, and two hours later, when he woke up, I kissed him on the cheek. The oil residue that remained on my lips was enough to swell his whole body to blimplike proportions and cover him in raised, itchy hives. It was terrifying.

Since then, there have been two or three times that he has somehow gotten a hold of walnuts, and we have had many scary hours trying to get his little body to stop reacting. So, Benadryl and an Epi-pen stay with me.

Two weekends ago, on a Saturday morning, I got up when I woke up (a novel idea!) and thought to make Luisa's Cranberry Upside-down Tart for breakfast. Because I love it. So much. It involves buttering a pie plate, dumping in a cup of cranberries, and sprinkling that with some pecans, brown sugar, and covering it all with a batter. I've made it before. As I slid it into the oven and set the time for 45 minutes, I had the distinct impression to use that 45 minutes to take my collected recycling down to the return center for cash for gas in my car. I knew the car was bone dry. I had been driving on fumes and prayer for the last several days in my short little neighborhood jaunts. It was the end of the month, and I was out of money. But I did have several large bags of recycling sitting on my back patio--milk jugs, soda cans, juice bottles. I tried to talk myself out of it, only because I didn't particularly feel like getting dressed, loading it all up and driving down the road, but then the "just get it done" part of my brain kicked in, and it seemed like a great use of time that would have been otherwise spent waiting.
Off I went. The nice man at the recycling center helped me sort it all and weigh it all, and he gave me a ten dollar bill. I immediately went to the gas station across the street and spent it. Then I drove home feeling all sorts of multi-tasking success as the timer for the tart went off moments after walking through the door.

Each person got a slice, and though Conor is prone to eat and run, so to speak, taking bites and then fleeing from the table for his Batman cape or some boots, or a quick fling onto the sofa, I made particular effort to keep him sitting and eating. "Eat every bite." I must have said that fifteen times. But he did.

Then, the boys left for the Scouting for Food pick-ups, and I got into bed to read, while Conor watched a movie next to me.
He started coughing. A lot. I looked over at him a few times and thought, "Why is he coughing? He's not sick." Finally, when it wouldn't stop, I got him a drink of water. But still he coughed. I looked at his face and noticed familiar redness creeping around the skin of his eyes and the corners of his lips were swelling. Then it hit me: PECANS!
I didn't know he was allergic to pecans. Yes, I know that they belong to the same family as walnuts, but I could swear he's had pecans before--I've made that tart before--and so I wasn't worried about it. But this? This was worrisome. He ate his whole serving, and that means he had actually ingested--not been kissed, not licked, not touched--a large quantity of something very dangerous for him. His voice started to sound funny, and I could tell that his throat was swelling. The hives started breaking out and the lining in his eyes was swelling over his eyeballs.

"Oh no!" I thought. What to do? I gave him a hefty dose of Benadryl right away, and then did a quick Google search. He was having an anaphylactic reaction, and in children as allergic as he is, that can lead to death within hours. I grabbed some clothes for him and as I lifted his shirt saw that his tummy and back were bright red and hot to the touch. He was scratching like a madman, his tummy, his back, his head, his cheeks, and he kept complaining about his mouth being so itchy. I swept him up under my arms and ran to the car, telling Lyndsay that I was going to the emergency room.

That was a scary drive. He continued to cough, and breathed with labor through his mouth. The hives and swelling seemed to get worse by the second, and I seemed to hit every red light. Finally, I sped onto the freeway and pulled into the hospital parking lot. One look at him, and I was taken right back with nurses nodding and whispering as we hustled past them. "Oh, yeah," I heard one say. "Wow. Look at that," whispered another with worry.
He was given even more Benadryl and Prednisone, and within three hours the swelling subsided. He was thoroughly enchanting with the doctors and nurses, asking them questions, like "Are you going to talk to me?" and when asked how he felt he replied in his scratchy voice, "Pree good. Itchy." Poor sweet Conor.

After several hours, he fell asleep in the "Itchy Boy Bed", while watching Happy Feet. I sat next to him and smoothed his curls and tucked his 'cozy blanket' around him. And then I realized, I put gas in the car while the tart was baking. It impressed me as being a tender mercy of the Lord, described by David A. Bednar as being, "the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ."

Heavenly Father knew what was about to happen, and He was lovingly intervening so that I might be prepared to rescue Conor. We would not have had the time to take the recycling down to get cash, and I did not have enough gas to get us to the hospital. I was so grateful that I had listened, and so grateful that once again my baby was spared.

And now that all is well again, please no jokes about how my cooking is killing people. I've heard them all.

19 comments:

dcr said...

you are seriously inspirational and i look forward to each and every post! have a fabulous week.

Hannah said...

We serve a good God, that's for sure!

Jeri said...

wow - how scary! so glad you are in tune and the Connor is going to be okay!

Annette Lyon said...

Way to listen to the prompting--or it wouldn't have BEEN a tender mercy.

(On the up side, my son outgrew his peanut allergy--so there's hope!)

Abby said...

Oh, sweet sweet Conor! I'm so glad he's okay!

Kimberly said...

Oh hun, that just brought tears to my eyes. What a sweet and poignant reminder of how our Father loves us!

Luisa Perkins said...

Oh, my sweet girl. Thank you for following your promptings. How scary, but what a tender mercy indeed.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Thank you for sharing. You always inspire me and I needed this today.

Turley fam said...

Wow, so glad you listened to that still small voice. Definately a tender mercy.

isshou ni said...

soooo glad that he is okay!

Andrea said...

Wow!

Jenn -- said...

So glad he is okay, he has a very inspired mom.

Thanks for your email. I sent you one back.

Lara said...

What an amazing testimony building experience. I'm thankful you listened to the impression. I was waiting for when that impression would come into play and why, and I didn't even get it until you said it.

Wonderful.

Destinee said...

That brought tears to my eyes. What a tender mercy indeed. And what a blessing to recognize that and be willing to share. So glad he's okay.

Olga Tolbert said...

Thank you for your story. And thank you for being mindful of all the Lord does for us. You reminded me that everyday the Lord is mindful of us and loves us so much.

Don said...

I usually get upset when things like this happen, wondering how the Lord could allow it. And then once I've calmed down I can almost always see how He allowed us to dodge the full force of the blow, and only take what we could realistically handle.

So glad everything worked out for you!

Rachel Sue said...

That is so scary! We have never had such a scary allergic reaction, but even about half of that is still so scary. I'm so glad that it all worked out and that he is fine.

Tristi Pinkston said...

This is a precious story. Thank you for sharing.

Kara said...

Wonderful post Jenna. Thank goodness for the Lord and the Holy Ghost. He truly looks out for us.

If you would like info on a way to possibly rid your son of these reactions so he doesn't have to be worried about them his whole life long, please leave a note on our blog. It works, is non-invasive, easy, etc.

Hugs, Kara