Saturday, May 16, 2009

It Was 5 Years Ago Today...

...that Mr. Peanut became our enemy.

Sometimes I think of that night, and all of the things that we did right, and all of the things that could have gone wrong (because in our ignorance we didn't realize the medical errors that were being made: he never got epinephrine, not once). Wow. Ryan was still just a baby--only 2. He hugged his Green Bunny all night long at the hospital, lying on Brendan's chest in between breathing treatments, listening to Brendan sing Spider-Man over and over and over, while I tried to sleep on the fold-out bed (a reversal of our hospital stay when he was born and in NICU and Brendan was on the uncomfortable fold-out).

I remember very well how overwhelming it was, those first few months of our initiation into the Food Allergy Club: the purging of the kitchen; how we never went out to eat; how horribly guilty I felt the first time I read that eating peanuts during pregnancy could cause PA (this theory has been pretty well debunked now, but at the time it was prevalent); how sad and angry I was the first time I read a remark from some jerk who suggested that it would be easy to "take care" of this "problem" by feeding PB&Js to all of the PA kids; how nervous we were about carrying the Epi-pen around all the time.

But we got used to it all. Actually, that's the part that makes me a little nervous now--I don't ever want to get too used to it, because that's when we'll let our guard down and it will be easier for a mistake to happen, you know? But a little "used to it" okay--Ryan's PA, like Brendan's diabetes, became our new "normal."

Okay, I didn't start this post to be a downer. Just in a reflective mood.

Our late evening (for me) Twitter party was fun last night. No crashers, although there was a lady there who seemed sympathetic for the most part, but was really there just to promote veganism. I think she went away after someone pointed out that there are lots of nuts and soy in vegan food and those are, of course, allergens. We didn't make the Trending Topics, but that just speaks to the number of people who obviously don't have anything else to do on a Friday night, huh? (And the number of people who are excited about Dollhouse renewing, yipee!)

Even though Mr. Peanut turned against us (we didn't ask for it--he started it!), Ryan is a happy, healthy, talkative, smart, stubborn, irritating, funny 7 year old guy. And I've met lots of nice people in the Food Allergy Club, too (hi!). Ryan has been anaphylaxis-free for 5 years now. That's quite an accomplishment, especially when I think about how many close calls he's had. We done good. :o)

Thank you for stopping by my blog this Food Allergy Awareness Week. I hope you learned something useful.

Here's to another 5 years--and beyond!


kelly said...

beautiful post jenn. i was touched and here's to a special day!!

Jenny said...

It's been 5 years since our last reaction, also. I hate to think that it will ever happen again.

Thanks for telling your story and here's to another healthy 5 years!

P.S.--I get tons of vegans, "natural foods" and the like following me on Twitter. I don't think they get that a lot of what they eat (nuts, people!), we can't touch with a 10-foot pole. I think it's a foul-up with a keywords search.

Karen said...

Vegan foods can be good for those with milk and egg allergies. We just have to be aware that vegan products can share equipment with milk and egg. We use vegan products made in milk free factories or lines.

Rational Jenn said...

Hi Karen! My sister-in-law is vegan, and it really helped me (when it came to thinking about food preparation when she comes to visit) to think of her as milk- and egg-allergic. I've even found recipes in my food allergy cookbooks that she can eat.

But my point about the woman at the Twitter party is that she was there to push a vegan diet, which is many respects--nuts and soy--is very much NOT a solution to people with food allergies. She was nice about it, but it became clear after a while that she was there less as a food allergy supporter and more to try to get people to become vegans. Yes, vegans don't eat milk or eggs, which is compatible with the diets of those who have those particular FAs, but a vegan diet is NOT the solution to FAs, (even if I thought it was a healthy way to eat, which I don't.).