A Bit of Ink Does Hurt…

12 Mar

This post was written before the tragic news in Japan happened.  I felt that I couldn’t post it without making an acknowledgement.  Especially as I’ve lived in Japan for almost 9 years.

The Japanese people are – unfortunately – forever in fear of earthquakes.  They happen so often, although at a much lower-scale than this recent one.  They would frequently say that the “Big one is overdue”.

Well, this earthquake – it’s devastating beyond words.  Heartbreaking.

I am thinking of and praying hard for my beautiful friends in Tokyo as well as Northern Japan.  My  loving host-family are also in Northern Japan.  The area most hardest hit.

At time of publishing this post, I haven’t been able to reach them.  I’m praying for their safety.


6 weeks ago, an unfortunate incident involving red hives, itchy eyes and a birthday cake prompted us to get the twinlets tested for allergies.

We finally found a paediatrician who specializes in children’s allergies.  The clinic was a good distance away –  over an hour and a half in the car via Sydney’s notorious M7.

But we were desperate.  It was either facing an arduous trip or wait until July (!!!) for the next available appointment in the city.  And I don’t think you can compromise on your little babies’ health.  Especially when it comes to the unknown world of allergies.

Finally , last week, the day arrived for us to head out to our appointment.  We were relieved to finally talk to a specialist who could help give some clarity to our concerns.

But to get to some resolutions there was the process of immense pain for the boys.  If seeing your sons get their 12 month immunisation shots is difficult to bear – skin tests are heartbreaking.

The boys had their arms “stamped” with a matrix of boxes that indicate what will be tested ie ‘egg’, ‘soy’, ‘cat’, ‘dog’.  Then, in the box the doctor dabs a sample of that allergen and administers a prick test in each box.

In total, there are 20 boxes.  10 on each side.  And yes, that means a total of 20 sharp razor slits in their pudgy little arms.

Little N's right arm after the skin test

You learn very quickly how strong your little 13 month old munchkins are.

Hubby had the unfortunate task of holding the boys’ arms still as the doctor was conducting the test.

His face went bright red from keeping the feisty, screaming little twinlet’s arm straight.  It was like he was having an arm wrestle.

And he was on the verge of losing.


Little K's arm and his "ink"

Alongside the pain and the tears, we were made aware of a whole range of the  “Do’s and Don’t’s” to allergy prevention.

For instance, there are  apparently 3 common “mistakes” that parents make:

1. Not reading the labels on food packaging

(Did you know that food manufacturers have no legal obligation to label an ingredient that does not contain more than 25% of a product ???  Pretty scary when studies show that all it takes is 1/200th of a single peanut to cause a reaction…)

2. Implicitly trusting other adults in feeding  your child

(Managing allergies becomes instilled in a family’s lifestyle.  All it takes is for an outsider – a baby-sitter or even a relative to be absent-minded about  your child’s allergies).

3.  As a form of prevention of allergies for a future baby, studies have actually shown that a pregnant woman is best to avoid bingeing – particularly during the second half of her pregnancy and instead, eat a variety of the food groups.

(Makes things a little tricky when trying to deal with those pregnancy cravings for dairy ice cream-filled Magnums or chocolate…)

So, the test outcomes ?

The good news is that Little N is allergy free.  Yay !

The bad news is that poor Little K has an egg allergy and possibly a peanut one as well.  Bugger.

Obviously, not the most ideal situation to be in.  Luckily, we’re not at a stage where we require the Epipen.

From here on until, well…whenever, it’s all about management, being hyper-vigilant with what the boys eat and even preparing a safe, home environment.

Despite Little N’s results were negative, there is no point in allowing him to eat the foods that his twin brother can’t.  Especially in the case of nuts where – in some circumstances – having it on one’s hands, even after washing them, can trigger off a serious reaction.

So, you will find that – for the time being –  our home is a completely nut and egg-free zone.  We have also changed our lounge room rug to further prevent a dust-mite problem.

Are we being paranoid parents ?


I don’t care.

Scarily, there is still so much undiscovered with children’s allergies.

The extreme of allergy reactions – Anaphylactic shocks – are unpredictable and can be fatal.

I ain’t gonna risk a thing.

So, boys as sad as it may be…no Pavlovas or Opung’s Indonesian peanut sauce based gado-gado salad.

On the way home after a very dramatic, long morning


One Response to “A Bit of Ink Does Hurt…”

  1. Christine March 18, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    oh no! allergies suck.. i guess it was the egg in the cake that may have made him sick ? also egg in the frosting as well.. 😦

    don’t worry though – some kids have allergies that they grow out of – i had an intolerence to dairy when i was younger (now i can’t get enough of the stuff).

    i thought twins had everything the same? i’m surprised that one has an allergy and the other doesn’t 😦 poor K! 😦

    i don’t think you’re being paranoid! i’d be exactly the same (whether or not i’m paranoid about everything is another matter.. lol)

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