After 2 hours of tears last night, which started because I forgot to back something up on my computer, and ended up being about my own long term health problems, I have invested some time in self-examination this morning. Why do I have these meltdowns about my health every so often? After all, it's a couple of pills a day, 2 extra doctor appointments every year, a few blood draws and an MRI. I would guess that my total time spent per year in managing my health issues is in the neighborhood of 15 hours or less. That's less than 0.2% of the hours in a year. It doesn't seem like it would be worth tears.
The thing I tend to overlook is that ongoing health problems cause stress in and of themselves. Simply being less healthy is stressful, and every time I have to do something to address my health issues, such as get a blood draw, or call to adjust a medication, my stress level goes up just a little more. If the average Stay at Home Mom has a stress level of 5 (on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest), I think even minor ongoing health problems would boost that to a 6. When things are more out of control with her health, you could make it a 7 or higher.
Now think of food allergies. For Sophie, her food allergies almost never require special medication. They are under good control. Her skin is clear and happy. But every time she opens a box of cereal, she reads it first (and I've already read it too). Everything that goes in her mouth is a potential hazard, mitigated by knowledge. And every night, she performs her lotion ritual, designed to keep her skin healthy and smooth, designed to keep eczema at bay. Between daily tasks and doctor appointments, Sophie's allergies require at least 100 hours per year, more than 6 times what my health problems require. When we were still learning to manage them, they required significantly more time. So if my stress levels are 1 notch above the average mom, then Sophie's are probably 2 notches higher than the average kid. And every dinner out, every birthday party, every holiday ratchets things up a little more.
Food allergies are not easy. They are manageable. They are not the worst possibility. However, they are still time consuming, and exhausting, and frustrating, and for many people, they are life-long. So if you feel like you need a good cry, go ahead. I know I do.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Has anyone heard about this new test? It is supposed to be able to tell you with greater accuracy how severe your allergy is from a blood test. It looks interesting, although I can't tell from the website if there is much difference between their test and the blood tests we have already had for allergies. And it appears to be only for peanuts, at least for now. Hmmm...