Ammaria Johnson has been on my mind a lot. She's not the first food allergy death that I've heard of since learning of Luke's own life threatening food allergies, but her death has hit me harder than any other. Maybe it's because she was so close to Cody's age. Maybe it's because she died somewhere that every child should be safe. Maybe it's because every time I read or hear that she died of cardiac arrest it makes me think back to Luke's first reaction, and how naive I was at the time that he could have easily gone into cardiac arrest. And how scared she must have been. Or maybe it's because we were going to put Luke into preschool this fall.
Ammaria's tragic death has changed our mind on Luke starting preschool.
I know some people will think we are being too protective.
Some will roll their eyes and say we can't keep him in a bubble.
And that's ok. But to those people I would say, watch your child suffer an anaphylactic reaction. Not just a few hives, but a full blown life threatening allergic reaction.
Watch them turn blue and lose consciousness. Watch their head flop around because they don't have the strength, due to lack of oxygen, to hold it up. Stand in an ER and watch a team of 6 nurses and 2 doctors fight to stabilize your baby while he is staring at you, crying, with eyes pleading with you to help, while you know there's nothing you can do. Whisper to him, promising to never leave him. I can tell you that it's haunting, and something that you would never be able to get out of your mind.
Then imagine your baby having a reaction, away from you, because someone who didn't know better failed your child. Failed to protect them, failed to realize until it was too late how serious the situation is. Know that what happened to Ammaria could happen to your sweet child. All it takes is one slipup.
That is where my decision is coming from. I refuse to put Luke in that situation, hoping that the school has their act together as well as it appears they do. Yes, Ammaria's mom should have left an EpiPen with the school. But based on the fact that the school called the mom before 911 tells me they didn't know how serious the situation was. If the school isn't educated on WHEN an Epi is needed, it doesn't really matter if one is available.
His life isn't worth that risk.
I know that not everyone is able to keep their food allergy kids home, that homeschooling isn't an option for most people. I also think telling parents of kids with severe food allergies to just homeschool is wrong. But for us, at least at this point in our lives, it is an option. And it's an option that I'm more than happy to take advantage of.
So sometime between now and September I will begin formally teaching preschool to Luke. It will probably be closer to September, but I'm looking forward to it.