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I took Tre into the

I took Tre into the doctor’s office today. He’s not sick again, but his allergies are acting up. Tre has allergies. That sentence calls to my mind the image of a band of evil little rodents that follow him around, nipping at him, causing him varying amounts of discomfort. Oh yes, we hoped they would fall away as he aged, but they’ve held on. He has allergies.
Most of the time he’s not all that bothered by them. This is the source of some contention between his doctor and me. Dr. S feels that Tre should be on a varied cocktail of pharmaceuticals year round. I, on the other hand, can’t bring myself to dose him up during the winter, when all the worst allergens are frozen, or the middle of the summer, when he lives in the pool and the air is fairly clear. During these times he’s fine. He gets a touch stuffy at times, but for the most part he’s normal. His band of tormenters falls behind, appearing small and squeaky and insignificant.
But then spring or fall arrives and with it the allergies. They swarm on him with surprising ferociousness, and I relent on the drugs. This spring was the worst ever. Tre started sneezing and snorting. His clear brown eyes, normally luminous as two dark marbles, turned dull and puffy. Worst of all, this time around he coughed and wheezed. He’s never wheezed before and although I didn’t want to think about it I knew it sounded like asthma.
So I took him in, thinking Dr. S would prescribe the magic nasal spray. It really is magic, one squirt per nostril a day and allergies flee for their dark hiding places. No side effects. Except it’s a steroid and part of me trembles a bit every time I spray it in my wee boy’s head. I mean, a steroid. Up his nose.
Ah well. I may not like it, but Tre hasn’t been sleeping well, or learning well, or behaving all that great. The whole of him is overwhelmed by this attack, and it had to stop.
Dr. S prescribed a bit more than the nasal spray. Tre now has two inhalers, an oral steroid, an ointment for his tormentingly itchy legs, and the magic nose stuff.
When he gave me the stack of prescriptions I stared at them, then asked him, “Is all this necessary? Really?”
He gave me a little lecture on allergies. How one reaction triggers another and another.
“This cascading response in the body is what we have to deal with. Once we stop that we can asses where he is, in terms of asthma and ongoing medication.”
Once again I pictured this swarm of creatures, pouring over my son, pulling him down.
So I filled the prescriptions, even though most of them seem a bit like poison to me. I suppose this is war.
This afternoon as I was getting supper ready Tre was playing in the back yard. I was glad to have him home, rather than at a friend’s house, because he’d just taken one of his new medications and I wanted to keep an eye on him for a reaction. He was using his pocket knife to cut some tape off a stick. When I heard him scream I just knew he’d cut himself. He came running in, holding out his hand. Blood ran between his fingers and dripped on his grubby bare feet.
I applied pressure and comfort where necessary. He’d taken a chunk out of the skin over the knuckle of his left index finger. It stopped bleeding pretty soon, so we washed and bandaged it and applied a finger brace to help it heal without breaking open every time he used his hand. (It is, by the way, a fine thing to have a nurse in the family. If Mom hadn’t come home to calmly look at it I would have taken him to the emergency room for sure.)
Now he’s in bed, sleeping peacefully. His finger will be fine, and I’m sure his medications won’t kill him. Somehow I’m feeling guilt for the fact that he wasn’t on allergy drugs all along and that he’s on them now. That I allowed him to have a pocket knife and that I’ve quietly tucked it away on a high shelf.
I just wish tonight, sitting here with the limp feeling that follows adrenaline, that the risks in life were fewer or that my sons were not so very mortal.

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