9.05.2006

The flu would have been better. . .

On Saturday Megan ate a peanut-butter chip or two as we baked.

A few moments later Megan threw up a peanut-butter chip or two. Then she emptied her stomach some more and sported a nice set of big red splotches all over her stomach and chest.

She got a special ride with Mommy to the doctor's office where they handed down the diagnosis: potential allergic reaction.

Today we got the referral. We called the allergist. We saw the allergist.

It *is* a peanut allergy.

Frankly, I would have preferred she had simply picked up the stomach virus her uncle and grandmother seem to be sharing lately.

I know that *we* can manage this. I know we can read labels and watch what we give her. I'm actually quite ok with that. I'm even ok with managing her non-allergic brother's disappointment in the asbsence of some of his old stand-bys. For the time being, anyway, he seems to understand the severity of it. I have every confidence that her grandparents will cooperate fully with the list of restrictions - the obvious and not so obvious. They've already begun to clear out certain potential threats.

It is, let me be honest, the other people I worry about. It's the relatives and aquaintences that are caviler and don't quite 'get' that "may contain peanuts" is as a bad as "Get your 100% nothing but peanut here." It's the other kids she'll run into when she's entering school. It's the young teacher she'll have beginning this week in Sunday School. It's the meal I didn't prepare.

There is a chance she could outgrow it. I'm not clinging to that possibility since it's a statisically low one. There's also a chance a future reaction from some potential accidental ingestion requires use of the EpiPen that now sits in my purse. There is that chance that we'll be rushing to the ER after I've stabbed her leg with that thing. That doesn't scare me for some reason. What scares me is that she'll have that reaction and someone that doesn't think fast enough to give her the injection will be there not reacting in time.

Shortly after picking Logan up at Grandma's I began to explain to him what Megan had to cope with.

He first said to me, "But pollen bothers me."

"Yes it does Logan, but the worst that happens is you get a runny nose and maybe you get a cold that medicine makes better."

He remembered Megan vomiting all over this weekend. He asked if peanuts made her belly sick. I told him it did but it might also make her throat swell up and make it hard to breathe. He thought a moment and then said very seriously, "But if she can’t breathe she could die."

I agreed with him. "Yes she could, but that's why we're going to get her some very special medicine to help her if she ever reacts that badly." We talked about all the things that could cause her problems. He nodded in earnest as he agreed to give up certain occasional treats and limit particular stables (the boy could LIVE on nothing but PB without the J sandwiches!)

When we walked into the pharmacy to pick up the Epi-pens, he walked a wide berth around the candy aisle. An older woman was at the register as we waited on line. She was buying these store brand bags of candy – buy one get one free. She asked Logan if he was getting any candy. He told her no. She said something about the sale and how he should.

He glared at her and said a bit more polietly that I wanted to at that moment, "I am not getting candy because I want to help my sister. She is allergic to peanuts and so I am helping her not want candy. Please don’t tell her about it."

I love that kid. I really do.

10 comments:

Nicole said...

oh wow. that sucks. a good friend has a son with a severe tree nut allergy. his first taste of hazelnut sent him to the ER in an ambulance.

but you will learn to deal with it. and her big brother totally HAS HER BACK.

Melessa said...

Poor Meg, I've been feeling so badly for all of you since you got the news. Good for Logan! Of course, it was a given he would look out for his little sister.

I looked online a little and found there are places that sell nut-free candy. (I also knew this from watching an episode of Arthur about a kid with peanut allergies.) Of course, the place that sells their version of M&M's charges more for the shipping than the actual product. Still, I thought you would like to know there were options once you've mastered the basics. I mentioned this briefly, but to this day I sniff fruit punch and other fruity desserts for pineapple because of my sister's severe allergies to them (they warrented more than one ER trip in her childhood) and still feel funny eating them or drinking pineapple juice even though she and I haven't shared the same roof in almost 10 years. So Logan really will look out for her, take it from someone who knows.

Wordnerd said...

What an incredible big brother! How sweet. I remember how overwhelmed I was when my son developed a life-threatening allergy to fire ants -- I've never been so frightened. We've carried the epi-pens for 11 years now, if you can imagine, and haven't had to use one yet. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you as well.

moon said...

What a sweet brother!
I am sorry that your daughter developed this alergy. Apart from everyone around her being careful, she will have to be very vigilent herself from now on and learn to always ALWAYS ask what is in anything she eats when in other invirements.
That said...once everyone does that...it becomes very do-able. I cared for a mentally handicapped adult for over 10 yrs. He is high functioning. Even he was taught at a young age to always ask and always not assume anything when it came to nuts. We NEVER had to use the Epipen in the 11 yrs we had him here or when he was out somewhere else. He has a very busy social life so goes to many places and eats out all the time. I say this to you to maybe help reasure u that it is managable and as serious as it is, u will get past the stage of constant panic. I realise she is young now but it will get better. There are also more and more companies coming out now with nut free products. I have even seen commercials on tv for some now. Schools also try hard to have nut free envirements when asked.
Sorry this was so long lol.
Here from Micheles today.

Mark said...

Good luck managing the peanut allergy... that's really not fun, I'm sure.

Here from Michele's btw.

M&Co. said...

Oh that sucks! I'm always worried about what I send to school with the kids but the teachers seemed to be very aware when we had a child in the BoyChild's class with a peanut allergy.

Paige said...

This is scarey. Not that I have to tell you that. My 17 year old has a problem with root beer, yes really. But it is not as bothersome as nuts.
Hope y'all have a happy weekend
Logan is a good brother!

Chaos Mommy said...

He's a good one, that boy of yours!
You are definitely going to be able to handle this. Glad you found out now when she had a small reaction.

Zee said...

I'm glad you found out earlier, and in a setting you were able to handle.

I'm proud of her big brother! WTG! :)

Shannon said...

Oh, gosh, I'm sorry you all have to deal with this. I hope she does outgrow it. I know what you mean about "other people." Many just don't get how serious it can be.

And is your boy always so smart and sweet?