There's a theory in the food allergy world that if you can go seven years without encountering the allergen, then your body will "forget" or "out grow" that particular allergy.
Melissa proved today, not so.
Like many schools, our school uses a holiday like Valentine's Day to allow different clubs to raise money by selling "candy-grams": small bags of candy from one friend to another. While watching a movie during first hour, Melissa dug into her candy-gram...and didn't really pay attention to what she was shoveling into her mouth....
...Until she realized that she just bit then swallowed a peanut - or rather half a peanut.
Within a few minutes her mouth "felt funny." That's not what any school nurse or parent of a food allergy child wants to hear. While the school nurse was making her way from the middle school next door, the school secretaries started to get the Epi Pens out. Melissa was like - whao!! I think I'm suppose to take Benadryl first!! She soooo did not want that shot!! (Knowing that after a shot like that involves a call to 911, an ambulance ride, then a four hour ER stay while the doctors make sure her heart wasn't suffering from the epi.)
The nurse called me to say that she had Melissa and she did in fact eat half a peanut, her mouth felt funny, but all her breathing was fine, her blood pressure was fine, and she was given Benadryl. She was going to give her another ten minutes and assess Melissa again.
Oh, my. I had to sit down. I was in the middle of cleaning bathrooms - in my sweats with no bra - not in any sort of way dressed to make a public appearance. I quickly started to change clothes as I called Drew to let him know what was going on. Within three or four minutes, the nurse called back saying Melissa was feeling worse and she was getting ready to give the Epi pen. Yikes! ok! I'll be out the door in five minutes - but I think I was out the door in three.
I really did try to drive the speed limit getting to the school, but seriously, I was shaking by that point! I called a dear friend telling her what was going on and asked her to pray. I parked in a teacher slot - who cares about a parking space label in times like these! I ran into the school, and found Melissa in a small room off the office sitting with the nurse.
Her face did look swollen, but no where near what I excepted. I thought her tongue was swollen as well. But her breathing and swallowing was still normal. I gave her another Benadryl (the nurse can only give her 25 mg as per the doctor orders we have- I, on the other hand, can as her parent can give more).
We just sat and chatted as we gave the medicine time to work. And it did. While her mouth "felt funny", she never had breathing or swallowing problems. What little swelling she had, went down. After about twenty minutes or so, we decided to take Melissa home for the day. I knew that the second Benadryl would catch up with her and she would be in shape to sit in a class, but would need her bed.
And sure enough, within just a little while of being home, she went to her bed and slept the afternoon away.
She woke up feeling groggy, but fine.
I'll take groggy any day over not breathing.
The last time she had ingested a nut of any kind (tree or peanut) was waaaay back in preschool at a church function. Much longer than the seven year point. While the boys had the life-threatening incident in Guam (funny enough, also, at a church function!), she did not eat what they had that night. Nor has she had run-ins with peanuts at buffets like Benjamin has had the last few summers (while yogurt covered peanuts look a lot like a yogurt covered raisin, they, in fact are not.) She has been very, very careful about what she eats.
I think she feels very lucky to have gotten away from getting the Epi Pen! She HATES, HATES needles! I think Benadryl is her new best friend. And Nurse Lisa. We love Nurse Lisa. Especially when she puts the Epi Pen away.
While I was taken by surprise this morning, I knew this day would come. With three children that have food allergies, I knew the odds were in favor of one of them having a reaction again. We can only be so careful for so long. All the kids know what will happen if they eat a nut, and are usually careful, but they are still kids. They are so tired of hearing me talk about food and epi pens as they head out to parties, soccer games, and youth events....They just want to be kids...normal kids. It's so hard NOT to be the helicopter mom when it comes to food. In the end they have to take control and responsibility for their own health. I'm to train them to be responsible adults...when I just want to keep them in a safe bubble. The Lord was very good to us today....even in complacency and carelessness. May all three keep today in mind as we move forward, because, sadly, today will probably not be the last time a nut sneaks by. As we learned in Guam, you can do everything right and STILL have issues. But we can be vigilant by keeping Epi Pens close (lesson learned in Guam) and to look at every single thing they put into their mouths (lesson from today).