I appreciate all of the commiseration on yesterday’s post. Misery truly does love company, and slogging through the tween/teen trenches is made a bit easier by knowing that many of you are dealing with similar issues. (Though I must say that my dad’s comment on my behavior at that age was a nice touch. Ahem.)
Thusly bolstered, I was ready to get back to Doing For Her Highness; specifically, I was ready to play another round of Medical Telephone on her behalf.
When we last left off in the rash saga, the New Specialist was leaning heavily towards a nickel allergy, even though Chickadee has already tested negative. New Specialist insisted we could order a nickel test kit for at-home use, for only $15, and we would soon have our answer. “Just put the patch on her and wait three days and tell us what happens!” She even gave us the phone number and item number of said kit. That sounded odd to me, but whatever. We told her we’d order the kit.
I called the number. I ordered the kit. I waited.
The kit arrived. “Put a few drops of substance A on a swab, followed by a few drops of substance B. Swab surface of item to be tested. Swab will turn bright pink in the presence of nickel.”
Uhhhhhhhh. Hey, that doesn’t seem like an allergy test.
I called the company, and politely informed them that they’d sent me the wrong item. No, that was the item I’d ordered. Okay, well, there must be some mistake, then, I explained. Because what we need is the nickel skin patch test, to determine allergy, which this obviously isn’t. At all. Could I order the correct kit?
No, I could not. Do they not sell it? No, they do. It costs $500 and they only sell to licensed physicians because it’s considered a controlled substance.
I called New Specialist’s office and left a message. Her resident called me back the next day and assured me I’d ordered the right thing. I pointed out that this kit was not for determining allergy. “Oh, there are special instructions on how to use it!” she told me. I pointed out that this kit says in large letters AVOID CONTACT WITH HUMAN SKIN. She faltered a bit, then told me she’d check with New Specialist and call me back.
She called back and insisted this was indeed the right kit. She was going to have New Specialist’s nurse call to tell me how to use it. Uhhh. Okay.
I called New Specialist’s nurse the next day. She said “Oh yes, that’s the right kit! Just put a couple of drops of substance A and then a couple of drops of substance B on a swab, then rub the object, and it’ll turn bright pink if it has nickel in it!” I pointed out that we don’t know that Chickadee is allergic to nickel, and the whole point was to test HER for nickel, not random household objects. “Oh,” she said, defeated. “You should order the skin patch test, then.” I explained about the not-selling-to-non-doctors and the $500. She said she’d call me back.
The next day she called back and told me she could have New Specialist order the patch and we could just “swing by” to have it put on Chickadee. I pointed out that going to Emory is an all-day excursion for us and “just swinging by” wasn’t really an option. Besides which, we were now just a few days out from Chickadee leaving town. She said she’d call me back.
She never did.
I called her today and reminded her that we still need to figure out the patch test. She offered to do it at Chickadee’s next appointment (in two weeks). In a rare moment of UTTER BRILLIANCE I said, “Hey, if I get her pediatrician to call you and coordinate, could we get the patch here in town and have it applied three days before her appointment with you, so that we don’t have to leave town to get it and then New Specialist can read it herself when we come in?” The nurse thought this was a fine idea.
I called the pediatrician, who said it was fine with her, provided that the insurance wouldn’t have a problem with it.
I called the insurance, who kept me on hold for thirty minutes. And then listened to my convoluted tale of mayhem and possible allergies and said, “That test is 100% covered so go ahead.” (That may have been the first and only time I felt genuine affection towards my HMO.) I told the nice woman on the phone to have a WONDERFUL day.
I called the pediatrician, and told them to go ahead and order the patch.
I did all of this, even though—remember!—Chickadee has had this test before and it was negative. I think this one will be negative, too. I think this is a lot of time and aggravation and annoyance for no reason. Except maybe so that we can go back to Emory and say, “Okay. This isn’t it, either. What’s the plan, here, people? You’ve had the summer to work on this and we’re no closer to an answer. WHAT NOW?”
In the meantime, Chickadee is covered in rash, head to toe. She has a new ointment to use while she’s not allowed to take the Prednisone (the Prednisone would mess up the patch test, so no Prednisone until that’s done), and we have no idea whether or not it works. Why? Because Chickadee refuses to use it. You know, because it’s goopy. And it “doesn’t help” (this assessment based upon using it once and not immediately being 100% better). On the day I dropped her at the airport with her dad, it was 98 degrees outside and she was wearing jeans and a jacket. Because somehow that is preferable to using the damn ointment and possibly clearing up the rash.
In the meantime, does anyone need to test any common household objects for nickel content. I’m not positive, but I THINK you put a couple drops of substance A and then substance B on a swab, touch the object, and it turns bright pink if there’s nickel. Possibly. I may need to make a few more phone calls, just to be sure.