Our Peanut-free Journey

Life with a peanut allergic son.

Disney World – Take Two — December 2, 2011

Disney World – Take Two

We went to Disney again last month. Even though it was two years ago that we last went, the story is still pretty much the same. The restaurants are very mindful of food allergies. If your only allergy is peanuts it’s super easy. There is hardly anything at all with peanuts in most of the large restaurants. Some places do serve pb&j but it was the Uncrustables so there wasn’t much chance of x-contamination.

The Nestle ice cream bars that are made specifically for Disney and are on literally every corner, in every park, are still safe to eat. Much to the elation of my kids! They had one at every park. Four ice creams in five days. Yum!

The Guest Services has a packet of papers that you can read to see what restaurants have what allergy issues. While this is a great thing to have, it is a little difficult to understand. They have all four parks listed and sometimes things are in different parks and well, it was confusing. However, we told the chefs at each place that we had a peanut allergy and they were very helpful.

The only issue we had was leaving our backpack in the stroller. I tried to keep it with me at all times but sometimes with a certain ride it wasn’t feasible. The problem with this is that it is where we kept the epi-pens. I was worried someone would steal our backpack.  I finally had my husband keep an epi-pen in his jeans so that we would always have one with us. Turns out we did have something stolen from us but it wasn’t the backpack.  Someone stole our newly bought ornaments from under the stroller. We decided to do one last ride and while we were in line or on the ride they stole our ornaments. It happens.

All in all, a wonderful, and practically worry-free vacation. It’s awesome!!

Acting Camp – First non-school experience. — June 27, 2011

Acting Camp – First non-school experience.

Update – Camp went really well and thankfully there were no issues. My boy is growing up. *sniff*

 

Alex is at an acting camp this week. He will be there for 3.5 hours Mon-Thurs and then from 9-4:30pm on Friday. This is the first time Alex is in charge of his epi-pens on his own. The first time he is in charge of giving himself an injection if the situation warrants. This is scary stuff for him and for his momma. We went over the use of  his epi-pen yesterday and today using the trainer. He already knew the basics but we wanted to be sure he was ok with the actual action. He did well. This morning I went over the things he needed to look out for in case of a reaction. Things like his tongue feeling larger, his mouth/tongue tingling, difficulty breathing and feeling as though his throat was constricting. This all scared him but I told him he had to be prepared for anything.

At first he was a little too nonchalant for my taste. “I never had a problem in school” he told me. I explained that he had to be prepared in case he touched someone who had peanut butter residue on their hands. It is acting camp so who knows what kinds of things they’ll be doing. Shaking hands is very possible. Now that I think of it I probably should have sent some baby wipes with him. Mental note for tomorrow.

So, this is a first for us. I am hoping that 8-years-old isn’t too young for this. I know he has to get used to it at some point but he’s still my baby and I worry. A lot.

Pennsylvania Epi-Pen Law — June 18, 2011

Pennsylvania Epi-Pen Law

When we visited the allergist last month, she mentioned that Pennsylvania is working on getting a law passed that will allow students to carry their epi-on their person. As of now schools can make the decision for us as to where our children’s epi-pens are stored. While I get that kids in kindergarten, first-grade, maybe even second-grade should not be allowed to carry their epi-pens I believe the children in the upper grades should be allowed. If you are able to do the epi-pen yourself, you should be allowed to carry it. My son is going into 3rd grade next fall. I don’t know if the law will be passed by then or not. If not, he will be fairly far away from the nurse’s office and that makes me very uncomfortable. Up until now he was right down the hall from the office. Granted, this year it was as far down the hall as he could be, but close enough that I felt comfortable with it.

My hope is that even if the law isn’t passed, the new principal (yes, I have to start over with a new principal this year) will call our allergist and find out what this new law entails. If our kids can’t outgrow this allergy then we need to do our best to advocate for their safety.

Age of Maturity? — January 7, 2011

Age of Maturity?

At what age can we expect that our children can self-administer their Epi-pen? My son will be 8 on February 2. He understands that the Epi-pen goes into his leg and that it must be held there for 10 seconds. But does he truly understand what is going on? Do I need him to truly understand? In November his class had to do a picture and description of what they were thankful for. My son, sweet boy that he is, said he was thankful for his family because if he has a reaction to peanuts they will “save” him. Something to that effect. He then drew a picture of me giving him the Epi-pen in his leg. It actually chokes me up to think about it. My poor boy, having to think that his family may some day have to save him.

When he sees the allergist in April I’m going to see what her opinions are on maturity level. I’m sure it depends on the child but there must be some ballpark age that kids “get it”.  What do you think?