Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pet Peeves (food allergies)

Today I realized what my biggest pet peeve is when it comes to food allergies.  It's probably not what you'd expect it to be.   It doesn't involve whether or not there should be peanut products in schools.   Or people that insist on bringing peanut butter to the playground, let their kids eat and then climb around on the equipment without wiping their hands off first (although that ranks up there pretty high).

Instead, it's the people that feel they need to convince a food allergy parent that everything is fine.

*It's ok to eat at Chick-Fil-A because peanut oil is refined and doesn't count as an allergen.

*It's ok to eat foods that are cross contaminated with the allergic food.

*It's ok to eat at (fill in the blank), because the food MUST be safe.  It's only mac and cheese/pizza/meatballs/soup, etc.   How could that possibly be a problem?

UGH, because it can be!

First, unless you're an allergist, or an expert on the particular restaurant and the food that they serve (as in you manage or own that restaurant and are 100% sure of the ingredients), please don't try to convince someone that the food is ok.  Because you have no way of knowing.  Let the allergy parent do the research that we've had to become so good at, and make our own decision.

Second, don't tell someone that because your milk allergic child can eat there, your peanut and egg allergic child will be fine.  Being an "expert" in one allergy, doesn't make you an expert in all of them.

Finally, I don't understand why it's so important to someone that's not involved in the child's life.  Why would someone care whether or not a child can eat at Chick-Fil-A?  Why would you go into a five minute spiel on your opinion that a food allergic child would be ok eating at a certain restaurant?  Is it an "I know everything" type of thing?  Is it that they think food allergy parents are paranoid nutcases (no pun intended) that need saving?  Does it offend them that you won't eat at the same restaurants that they do?

Other than the obvious problem that it's annoying to a food allergy parent who's just trying to do the best for their child, it can be dangerous.  A parent who's new to food allergies may feel that you know what you're talking about, and decide to listen.   Being new to food allergies is confusing and overwhelming enough.  Receiving inaccurate information just adds to it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Two Years

Yesterday was a rough day. The weather wasn't the greatest, and Luke had his first occupational therapy visit. The visit was aggravating - I had trouble finding a parking place, and then we had to sit and wait 10 minutes past his appointment time before they called him back. He came out of the room twice with his therapist, and both times he saw that Cody was playing with the iPod Touch. It happens to be one of Luke's obsessions, and both times he threw a fit in the waiting room. I'm talking ear piercing screams, crying and throwing himself on the floor. I was completely, face turned bright red and want to crawl under a chair, embarrassed. Cody was bored out of his mind. The ride home was eventful as Luke had another tantrum, and Cody got a nose bleed.

It pretty much set my mood for the day. We were all tired and cranky, and I made both boys take a nap so that I could too...something that never happens around here.

Today I looked at the date and realized that yesterday marked two years since Luke's first anaphylactic reaction (story can be found under "food allergy" tab above). Two years since that horrible day when I watched my baby lose consciousnesses and begin to turn blue. Two years since I sat in the hospital room with him, praying to God that he wouldn't stop breathing.

I don't think I ever shared this part here, but once they got Luke stabilized that day, someone came in with forms for me to fill out. She asked me if I wanted clergy to come in and pray for Luke. I said no, because at that point I was so exhausted that I just wanted to rest (Luke was sleeping). I didn't feel like talking to anyone else.

Once she left though, I went into a panic. Why did she ask me that? Was he worse off than I thought? Would God punish Luke because I didn't have the clergy come in to pray?

Those are not thoughts that I would normally have. I don't believe that God would ever punish like that. But at the time I was so desperate for Luke to be ok, that the thoughts went through my head.

So here I am, a day after the 2 year mark, upset with myself for how I let such small things get to me yesterday. I was cross with Luke for not cooperating as well as I hoped he would, and I scolded him for it. Those things aren't important though. He's only 3 years old. 3 year olds have tantrums. What's important is remembering how precious his life is, and being thankful that he is here with us.