Thursday, June 12, 2014

Red Tape & Regional Kids + A Lego-sectomy

Do you ever have those mornings when you think to yourself "wow. Everything is running smoothly. We're gonna be on time for once..."
I don't have them very often, but last Thursday morning was just like this. Fantastic! 
Then Arthur decided to snort Lego. Yup. Your heard correctly, he got Lego stuck up his snoz. Though Arthur has just turned two, his vocabulary is still somewhat limited. I think he was pretty pleased that 'nose' is one of his few words. Had he not started screaming "nose nose nose" I may not have cottoned onto what was going on. At first  I thought he had just bumped his nose, so I gave it an affectionate rub. He screamed harder. It took me sometime to assess the situation correctly. When I looked up his snout there it was. A shiny red piece of Lego. Arthur was still hysterical. 
George located the tweezers and I had a crack a providing the trapped piece of plastic with freedom. I only pushed it further up. I asked Ingrid to phone Mr TBT to ask just exactly what I should do in such a situation. As with every emergency in this family Mr TBT was 2000 km away. It took some time for Mr TBT to decipher Ingrid's garbled recollection of the mornings events. Once he got all the facts he burst out laughing. Ingrid burst into tears. Not exactly the help I was looking for. He suggested Arthur blow his nose. Arthur sniffed instead of blowing. Up went the Lego a little further. 
It suddenly became clear we were in for a visit to the local emergency room. I'm very grateful for my dear friend who came to the rescue and walked the big 2 kids to school so I only had cart the little 2 with me. 
You may remember from previous posts that we hold VIP rights at the local emergency department. We are on fist name basis with the nurse who called us in. She looked over the top of her glasses at Arthur and used all 4 of his names. To cut a long story short the doctor whipped out his special Lego removing doctor tweezers (made from wire to get into the smallest of spaces), I put Arthur in a headlock and it was all over in a few seconds. The doctor triumphantly held the little red piece of Lego up and Arthur took one look at it and said "wow". I'm sure he was thinking "gosh I've been looking everywhere for that"! Another successful emergency trip. 
On the way home I had time to reflect on the paediatric appointment which we had at the same hospital for our 8 month old a few days earlier. We had requested the appointment 5 months ago. We are a bit short on paediatricians in this part of the world, and a 5 month wait is the norm. Our eldest 3 had allergies to both cows milk and soy, and had to be on a prescription formula. In those days we saw a paediatrician, who listened to the story wrote us a script and our baby returned to full health within a short time and everyone got some sleep. 
Not so now. Some administrative twat living and working in a major metropolitan centre in this great land of ours had decided that now these scripts can only be filled by a specialist allergist or a paediatric gastroenterologist. Sure. No problem.  In theory. Only there aren't any specialist allergists in the whole of Tasmania (ok so one flies in occasionally to Hobart). Nor are there any paediatric gastroenterologists in the state. 
There are a couple of GP's with an interest in allergy and immunology. These  doctors have special allowances enabling them to prescribe things like Epipens. But they too lost the right to prescribe hypoallergenic formula. 
Cows milk allergy (CMA) is the most common food allergy affecting babies and children. It affects 1 in 50 babies. You can even have an anaphylactic reaction to cows milk. The protein in cows, sheep and goat milk are very similar so the chances are if you are allergic to one you are allergic to all of them. 50% of children with CMA are also allergic to soy. There are approximately 6000 babies born in Tassie each year. That's 120 babies born each year who wake screaming every 20 minute. Legs pumping, howling in pain. 120 babies who may have chronic diarrhoea, hives, a chronic wheeze, face swelling, eczema or asthma. 
I understand that the formula is prohibitively expensive, and that there needs to be some form of regulation.   But what I don't understand is why rural and regional families haven't been accounted for. I just don't get it. 

How was your morning?
Know anyone who's had a Lego-sectomy?
Do you have children and live in a regional area? 
Do you have food allergies?


  1. How I managed to have three kids and no lego up noses I'm not sure. But I'm thankful for that and am happy to keep running with it. We have a lot of lego with a lot of little pieces!
    Now tell me, was the little fella wary of the lego afterwards?

    (and that's absolutely crazy about the specialist wait. Crazy.)

    1. Brydie I would love to tell you Arthyr hasn't touched Lego since....but that would be lying... And yes. Crazy about the wait. But sadly unavoidable...