Monday, September 16, 2013

Allergy Mom

I'm a mother of a child with severe food allergies.  LO was diagnosed with a laundry list of them when she was 1.5 years old after we gave her peanut butter for the first time and instead of delight on her face, she started screaming and breaking out into hives after just touching it to her tongue.  I think since then, I've been in a bit of denial about the seriousness of all of this while secretly holding my breath every time she tries a new food, eats at a restaurant or even goes to school.  Yes, we have EpiPens in every corner of the house and a set goes with her everywhere.  We've never had to use it but I fear the day that we do.

So we're only an hour into week 2 of preschool and I get the call.  It's her new teacher who very calmly  said LO had ingested a few soybeans at snack time.  It was 10 minutes ago and she seems ok, but she wanted me to know.  10 minutes?!  That's an eternity so I ask politely if next time they can take action immediately.  I tell her the allergist's advice, which is to administer Zantac and Zyrtec and keep a close eye on her.  Soybeans are a 4 out of 5 on the scale for LO and not anaphylactic, but I worry about the doctor's statement that each exposure can bring more severe reactions.

When I was a kid you worried about strangers, now it's everyday foods that can get you, for some kids that is.  The biggest challenge for me so far in this journey of being an allergy mom is keeping my child safe while avoiding being too overprotective.  I'm always the one going early to brief caretakers, teachers, etc. and sizing up anyone who doesn't seem trustworthy, as in unable to deal with LO's needs or handle an emergency properly.  I adore LO's school and her teachers and they do a great job, so I know she's in good hands.  The school is nut free and even though I had a long conversation with the teachers and parent who supplies snacks, I can't be there to read every label or keep quick toddler hands from grabbing food that has been set out.  Today's call was just a reminder that I must always be on my toes.