Friday, July 8, 2011

In Love with an Allergologist

Once upon a time, Yakee's eyes were always watery and he always seemed to have a shiner around his eyes. Someone referred me to an allergologist at Chinese Gen. She took one look at Yakee and declared my son had asthma, and started giving us all these Cetaphil and Physiogel products to use (charged to us) and told us Yakee would need a skin test. And she uses the latest something that doesn't hurt which costs P25k.

Suffice it to say, we never went back to her. She did not even touch my son!

But for the past three weeks, we have been plagued by allergies. Well, two months, if you count Dr. Mantaring's discovery of exercise-induced asthma in Yakee and my angioedema episode over fried chicken (thank heavens it was a very sluggish allergy attack and it responded to two Benadryl caps because I didn't have any milk for Yamee then!).

At least, Yamee's rhinitis-like episodes are no more... he just gets blistery wounds when bitten by a bug.

But Yakee... haay. The hives annoy me like crazy! So I called our HMO (Intellicare) to ask if the PF of the allergologist at Healthway Robinsons Manila is covered, as well as the tests. We can reimburse up to P1k only for skin tests. Anyway, I decided to try this allergologist and thought that if she still wasn't ok, then we'd go to Dr. Alava at Manila Doctors (who was our main pedia's referral).

But oh, I fell in love with Dr. Arlene Sandejas! She made the trip to an allergologist just the way I want it to be. She asked questions and answered my questions. She was the first to offer a conservative approach to MY allergies and then gave me a list of house dust control measures after ascertaining that we live a generally allergy-free lifestyle (no pets, carpet, no smoking).

Being an allergic person and having written that article above, I like to think I am pretty knowledgeable about allergies. I mean, I know the basics. But Dr. Sandejas made me realize that I must also dust our books and not let them anywhere near the bed. She told me why allergic people sneeze in the morning (because the dust mites eat our dead skin cells at night, so we wake up irritated by them) and how baths usually resolve the issue. She told me about how long after a room is cleaned should kids stay away (3 hours, so dust has really settled! 1 hour for adults), that fabric conditioners are irritants and better avoided, and many other things. I learned more talaga!

Yes, she did tell me I must have my skin test repeated (as my last was 6 years ago, and I lost the list already, and it was done by Dr. Agbayani who has expired already!) but she assured me that she can give me time to save up for it, and that it can be done in batches so I can allot money for it. It's P6k for the 85-full panel test. And no, it's not administered generally to kids below 6 years old. And since I average a trip or two to the ER due to allergy episodes, I know the skin test can be an important tool to manage my allergies.

MABUSISI is the word I have been using to describe her. Thorough. Exhaustive. Without being unnecessary.

Now, for Yakee, she has prescribed Cetaphil lotion for the dryness, instructed me how to properly bath my son (less than 20 minutes, lukewarm water, no scrubbing to dry, just gentle pats, then lotion) and asked me to keep a food diary for him. We're not eliminating anything yet from our diets, just observing. And she also ordered a repeat CBC and urinalysis for Yakee (to which Yakee was so totally against, I cried a little asking him to give more blood) and also a stool exam (haven't yet done this!). She also asked to see Yakee's old X-ray, just to rule out whatever could be triggering my son's hives (infection? food? insect bites?).

And she offered me her cell number should I have questions. I didn't even have to ask (and I actually seldom do, although I know that's a standard for some people, because I also respect how some doctors do not like free consults over the phone, at two in the morning).

And she tells you what you should do, writes it down, and discusses it again with you so you really know what to do. Love it talaga!

So far, Yakee and I are fine and on meds. We're going back to her on the 19th and see where it leads us.


She is a doctor and a human being, I cannot guarantee she will be as thorough with each patient... she could get tired, after all. Plus, it may help that I came armed with a printed timeline of what happened to my son and when, as well as knowledge of our allergy histories and my son's health history. But I really feel good about her. It's seldom that I find a consultation... rewarding... enlightening. I think the euphoria is stemming from that inner sense of having found a perfect fit.


She does not accept health cards at Manila Doctors. And I don't have her clinic sked there so better call the hospital.

Healthway Medical Clinic-Robinson's Manila
Ground Floor, Padre Faura
Robinson's Place
Ermita, Manila
Tel. no. 528-4547
Schedule: Tuesday 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm, Saturday 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Ramos Medical Clinic
5696 Pagulayan Street cor. Ilaya Street
Poblacion Makati City 890-1696
Schedule: Wednesday/Friday/Saturday 10:00 am - 1:00 pm


I Googled her name and believe she is also a pediatrician, she was also referred to as a pedia-allergo at Healthway. Blessing talaga for moms like me :)


Bel said...

Hi, Mec,
I am so happy that you found the allergologist you are looking for in Dr. Sandejas (or Ma'm Arlene, as we would call her). Does she know that you write this blog?
Atopy really runs in our family. Just think of my dismay when I realized that Yanie has atopic dermatitis at 6 months. Having no license to practice here, I was forced to see a dermatologist to get her steroid cream (they're prescription meds here). At that time, there was no allergologist and the Pedia was off the island because of an oncoming hurricane (yep, the downside of living in a small island). To cut the story short, I did not initially introduce myself as a pediatrician. Imagine my shock when she said that she needs to do a biopsy on the lesion on Yanie’s leg. Duh! It was then that I decided to tell her that I am a pediatrician and that I am 100% sure that it is atopic dermatitis, and that I just went to her because I needed a prescription.
I also carry an EpiPen anywhere I go with Yanie. Unfortunately she also has peanut allergy. I don’t know if I told you that when we visited the Philippines last December, she unknowingly ate M&M Peanut and I had to use the epinephrine injection because her reaction was so severe. We brought her to Capitol later. I realized that, too, there is no EpiPen in the Philippines. At least not at PGH, Capitol, or all the drugstores I called. Yikes! Yanie has an extra EpiPen in school, and it’s a school rule that nobody can bring food containing peanuts (like peanut butter sandwich). Yanie will undergo an allergy test before she moves on t Kindergarten (RAST-radioallergosorbent test). It’s a blood exam. 
Jumi started manifesting his eczema symptoms at around 3 months, but his are not as severe. So far, everything is under control.

Anonymous said...

Hi,may i know where you bought your Epipen? and where I can buy? thanks