Many of you know that I am not only any autism mom, I am also an allergy mom. My older son has life threatening food allergies.
Thanksgiving day 2007:
David was four years old. My friend and her family came over to spend the day. We had finished eating dinner. A while later David told me he was hungry. We had granola bars in the cabinet. We always had them. He loved them. I told him he could have one. He unwrapped it and took a bite. Within a minute or two he began to tell me he didn’t feel well. His tummy was hurting. He laid down on the couch. I walked into the kitchen to get him some ginger ale, and while I was in there I heard him start to cough. I ran back to him. His eye was almost swollen shut, he was coughing uncontrollably and starting to vomit now as well.
I HAD NO IDEA WHAT WAS WRONG WITH HIM.
It happened so fast. I racked my brain trying to figure what could have happened. Then it hit me…Could it have been the granola bar? I read the label. PEANUT BUTTER granola bar. He never had peanut butter before. Panicked, I called the pediatrician. Of course it was the on call service because it was Thanksgiving night. We gave him benadryl as we waited for doctor to call back. Now hives were popping out all over his little body. One dose of benadryl down, and it came right back up. I was trying to clean him up and gave him a second dose of benadryl when the doctor called back. I explained what happened, and he told me to get to an emergency room right now.
I drove him there….DROVE HIM. I wasn’t thinking. I just put him in the car, and drove as fast as I could.
When we got to the ER they shuffled us through so fast. They insterted a picc line in his arm just in case he had a “rebound reaction”. A what??? This was all new to me. We spent a few hours there while they monitored him. The ER doctor began to explain that WE WERE LUCKY. Hearing that made me break down. My adrenneline was pumping so much, that when the dust settled, I realized just how bad it really could have been.
WE WERE LUCKY. In the days that followed we saw his pediatrician and we went to the allergist. We learned he is HIGHLY allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, among other things.
I also found out, after his diagnosis, that I am allergic to tree nuts. I was 35 years old. My whole life, I never knew. I just suspected it and just stayed away from tree nuts. I never saw an allergist until that day. My parents never knew. Again the allergist used the word “lucky” to describe MY life experience as well.
We both left that visit armed with Epi-Pens. I left that visit hoping we would never need to use them. To this day, we haven’t. I am hypervigilant. I have to be.
To people that think food allergies are a joke, or are not that serious: Watch your child go through what mine did, after ONE BITE of a peanut butter granola bar.
WE WERE LUCKY.
This is me and David. He is 10 now.