Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Code RED!

My mom alert has moved from code yellow, which is sort of a normal parent-of-4-kids level, to orange, maybe even red. What would cause such a thing? It all began on Wednesday...

A fairly normal afternoon; I was in a meeting. Sharon agreed to pick up Sophie and Maggie from school. My meeting ended, and after checking in with Sharon, I ran a few errands before heading home.

Several hours later, Sophie told me this: at school, her teacher gave out some candy that someone had given her. Sophie debated about whether or not to eat it, since she hadn't read the label and wasn't familiar with the candy, and decided to go ahead. (This was mistake #1.) Then she started feeling sick--itchy throat and a stomach ache. Here's where mistake #2 came in--she didn't ask to go to the nurse, because it was almost time for school to get out.

This situation is pretty much my worst nightmare. And it's a classic kid situation, right? I remember when I was a kid, I would do one stupid thing, and then because I was feeling panicked about it, I couldn't think clearly and I would follow that right up with a second stupid choice. The problem is, in Sophie's case, this could have been life or death. If that candy had pecans in it, she would have started anaphylaxis. And since she didn't tell the teacher she thought she was having a reaction, even if she had some big symptom, her teacher might not have known what to do. AARGH!!

So what's next? I talked with Sophie about 2 big points:

1. Don't eat anything unless you have read the label. (And this has been our rule for ages, so I was surprised that she ate the candy in the first place.)

2. If you think you might be having a reaction, get to the nurse no matter what. Even disobeying the teacher to go to the nurse would be better than sitting in the classroom waiting to pass out!

I also talked with her teacher to make her aware of the situation. She didn't think Sophie had eaten the candy, because at first she just set it on her desk. Even so...

And I will be having another conversation with Sophie about this later, as will my husband. I don't want to scare her, but she needs to see this as potentially life or death, or she will be in a situation that is life or death sometime down the road.

In the meantime, I think Code Orange (verging on Red) works for me. I'm going to hang on to it for a little while.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Will food allergies limit you?

Reading about Tom Poti, defenseman for the Washington Capitals, and his food allergies has put me in a thoughtful mood. His relaxed attitude about the food around him at a luncheon, and his comments to his interviewer, demonstrate exactly what I hope Sophie can feel as she grows up with food allergies. It is clear from the article that he has a strong support system within his family and in his professional life. The thing that stands out the most, however, is that he is a professional sports player. His food allergies did not prevent him from pursuing what must have been a dream for him. Nor should they! But I have the sense that they could. It seems that the time and energy involved with food allergies could interfere with other pursuits, or that food allergies could affect a child's self-esteem or comfort in social settings to a degree that might limit pursuit of a dream. Congratulations to Poti's mom and other support people for giving him the tools he needed. And most of all, congratulations to Poti for living your life, your way!