I probably talk to someone new about the food allergy thing at least once a week. Often, someone will note Ryan's bracelet, or we'll be in line at the grocery store and one of us will mention peanuts somehow, or a friend will put me in touch with another parent who is struggling with it.
Living with Ryan's allergy is very integrated into our family life--it's never far from my mind, especially when we're out and about--but it is not the sole focus of our family life.
So here I am, writing about peanut allergy on This Old Blog, effectively shouting, "LOOK AT ME! PAY ATTENTION TO ME! I'M SO PITIFUL THAT I'M USING MY KID AS A WAY TO GET YOU TO LOOK OVER HERE AND PROVIDE ME WITH A FALSE SENSE OF MY OWN IMPORTANCE!"
Not really, of course. :o) But that's what this guy thinks. Apparently, I'm caught up in some kind of "mass hysteria." I'm a Yuppie, who lives in a "rich, lefty community." Yup, he's got me pegged, all right.
Okay. I get that he thinks he's trying to be funny. But he's really not (although I did manage a chuckle about how fishsticks are gross).
He even interviewed an actual doctor who said: "It's anxiety-producing to imagine that having a snack in kindergarten could be deadly."
Truer words were never spoken, even though that remark was included in a paragraph meant to depict parents as unnecessarily terrorizing their poor innocent children. It is not a fun way to live. We'd all be lots happier without this allergy.
Maybe the reason I don't feel like joking about it is that just last night, Ryan uttered words that sent ice through my veins. We were riding home after eating in a restaurant that's not one of our "normal" restaurants--although we've eaten there successfully before, and had a really great conversation about the allergy with our waitress, who has a little boy with PA and really knew the drill. We had had a nice time with our friends and were heading home when Ryan said,
Mom, Dad. I'm itchy all over. Everywhere in my body.
First, so you don't worry--everything was FINE. Not a hive on him, nary a cough--he has incredibly dry skin because he puts up such a stink about lotion and he was just itchy. And you know how, once you start thinking about an itch, other itches start popping up all over? It was one of those kind of things.
Well, when we heard those words . . . I can't really describe my feelings. "Mass hysteria" naturally took over our brains and we tried to find someone to feel sorry for us. (Sorry. Couldn't resist.)
We were on the highway (of course) and Brendan quickly flipped the lights on in the back of the van. I tried to see as best I could from the passenger seat and he looked fine. We asked him all the questions: "Does your throat itch? Does your tongue feel hot? Is it hard to breathe?" Brendan pulled off at the next exit, we pulled over, put the hazards on and I flew back there with Epis in hand. We inspected and interrogated him for a good 5 minutes, decided it was the dry skin thing, and I rode in the back with him for the rest of the way home.
So, I guess that's it--it's not funny at all to know that your kid could die on the way home from a restaurant. Unless I'm actually a freak who is enjoying all of this attention, in which case it's obviously super great fun to ride this wave of Mass Hysteria to Spotlight Island, just to add a little spice to my boring life.
I know these types of articles are written all the time (I've got my Google Search set to "peanut allergy") and usually I choose to ignore the foolishness. But every once in a while, it all really irks me. What an idiot. Sigh.
And now I can go on with our family life in a constructive way, having got that out of my system. Maybe someone who thinks they agree with this guy will see this post and rethink their position on the matter. It's the best I can do for now. Thanks for listening.
Via Louise on the Left (who runs a Facebook group I'm a member of)