Sunday, August 16, 2009

Peanut Allergy - It's for reals, folks

The call didn't come in the middle of the night. This one arrived just after 11 in the morning.

I saw it was David. I figured he was calling to tell me he and the kids were on the way home from his mother's. I was blissfully enjoying a couple rare child-free hours. I was folding laundry. After taking a shower. I was thinking maybe I'd even have time to straighten my hair.

But his words stopped me. Sent my heart racing.

"Sawyer just threw up. And his nose is runny."

Which is when I shrieked "WHAT DID HE EAT?!?!"

The thing with peanut allergy is it's always there, lying in wait like a cold-blooded killer. You can hate it all you want. It's not going away, as much as you really, really wish it would.

Apparently, David's mother gave Sawyer a rice ball that she'd bought. Sawyer took a bite but didn't like it. THANK THE LORD. After Sawyer got sick, she said she had no idea what was in it. Which is not something you can do when you have a kid with a severe nut allergy.

David and I talked on the phone several times on their drive home, just under 40 minutes. Should we just meet at a hospital? Should he pull over and administer the epi pen?

Finally, finally they arrived. I took one look at Sawyer - covered in hives, his face swollen, his voice funny - and yelled to David to stab him with the epi pen.

We then called 911.

I have to say my little rock star was calm when questioned by firemen and paramedics. He actually looked excited when he got into the ambulance, waving to one of the high school girls on our street who'd gathered with a bunch of our neighbors on the yard next door to us. David climbed in with Sawyer and off they went.

At last, my tears came.

Some might say I'm over-the-top cautious about Sawyer's allergy. I will not let him eat anything that I didn't personally make or doesn't come in a wrapper that I can read. I am very lucky that I have a group of friends who take his allergy very seriously and check all labels and even call me to make sure what they're serving or bringing on a playdate is okay for Sawyer.

There are times when it's tough to be the food police. He's had to pass on birthday cake, treats from Starbucks, baked goods at school functions, on trips to ice cream parlors for fear of cross-contamination.

He has always been incredibly understanding when I tell him it's not safe for him. But it still sucks.

Turns out, David's mother made some calls and discovered the rice balls contained crushed peanuts. I keep thinking about what would have happened if he loved them and had eaten a ton. Terrifying.

Episodes like this serve as a stark reminder of why I have to be so protective. My mother-in-law of course feels terrible. But it didn't occur to her that there is, without being overly dramatic, potential danger lurking in every food. You never, ever give him food if you're not 100 percent positive what's in it.

It is a tough lesson to learn.

I am extremely grateful that, by 3 in the afternoon, he was discharged from the hospital. He'd had a shot of benadryl and another IV drug - "I didn't even cry, Mommy!" - and acted completely normal. You would never guess his body had revolted so violently.

Need proof? This was recorded late yesterday afternoon. For your viewing pleasure, please enjoy Sawyer's creative dance to Thriller ("that song by young Michael Jackson. He's dead now."). And pay no attention to the disaster of a garage behind him.


KBthoughtsideas said...

i also have a peanut allergy child and would suggest that your husband should have taken your child immediately to the emergency room. Forty minutes is a long time and the reaction will be worse the next time.
So sorry that your mother in law did not pay more attention but my own mother would not have done any better - she can not understand how serious it can be.

Wendy said...

1.) I can't believe your MIL!
2.) I am SO glad he's okay - trooper!
3.) I'd like to request an encore performance of that dance at our housewarming party on Saturday. ;)

Cheryl said...

KB - Thanks for your post! Yes, in retrospect, I wish we had just gone right to the hospital. His reaction was actually less severe than his first one - we were lucky.

Wendy - You can ask, but he's shy when he has an audience!

I know my MIL feels really bad, so I'm not trying to throw her under the bus. Just trying to point out how easily these things can happen if you're not always extremely careful.

Simply Lovely Gifts said...

Hate hate hate the scare, but LOVE LOVE LOVE the video!!

Kelli/plangirl said...

I can't even imagine the hell you must go through, Cheryl. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the video. I see a sparkly glove and sequined(?) socks in his future....

Shawn said...

Our youngest is airborne allergic to trace amounts of peanuts. The epi pen is never far away.

Glad to hear that everything is ok. On the plus side, both of our parents have gotten much better at reading labels and having us check ingredients of everything they make ever since they each went through a similar episode.

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