Small Changes Save Lives

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Small Changes Save Lives

About five years ago, we learned the cause of our son’s violent rejection of many meals: an egg allergy. Many changes occurred in our home. Everything about the way food was prepared changed. I read every label, sometimes two or three times in the store and again at home. I became brand loyal out of necessity for Dietrich’s safety – not because I enjoy paying a certain price or one brand tastes better than another. I spent almost two years retraining our son on eating, teaching him that food was safe and he would not get sick anymore.

Dietrich’s reactions to food were always immediate, violent, and an outright rejection of the substance (with the exception of fish, he threw up rather than develop hives or respiratory problems. Even with fish, his reaction was immediate once his little body decided to be allergic). Because of Dietrich’s allergies to peanuts, Madilynn hasn’t ever had any peanuts or peanut butter. We are in a new town, attending a new congregation. Since Madilynn doesn’t have the problems Dietrich has, I am much more relaxed about sending her to children’s church. On Sunday after worship, she was happy and playing. She chatted with us from the car to the restaurant. When I turned to look at her after we were seated, this is what I saw:

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Realistically I knew it could be anything, but I also knew the swelling occurred in the two minutes it took to go from the front of the restaurant to our seat. I carry Benadryl with me at all times and gave her some, maybe a little more than a “recommended dose.” The swelling didn’t change and she started coughing, sneezing, and wheezing. The hospital is literally one minute from our house. The downside of me driving there is that we waited hours and in that time she developed hives under her arms and the nape of her neck. The nurses gave her more Benadryl and a Gatorade while we waited for the doctor.

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Sunday afternoon is the time to hang out at the ER in Plainview apparently, not that I want to repeat the experience. About four and a half hours after we arrived, we saw the doctor, who told me what I already knew, gave a dose of steroids and Zantac (because there is histamine in the stomach) and a prescription for both. As soon as I came home, I sent a message to the children’s church teacher to find out what the snack was, just in case anything new or out of the ordinary had been introduced. Nutter Butter Crackers. The reaction took nearly 30 minutes to show up and proceeded to get worse for the next several hours.

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Finally home from the ER!
I think peanut butter is an amazingly tasty treat. After Sunday, this house is a 100% nut free zone (except for the human occupants). It is a small change that will keep my children safe. Church members are amazing and go above and beyond when they know there is a problem – and feel terrible when they find out the problem. Small changes save lives in the world of food allergies.

While one can find evidence and research arguing both for and against introducing allergens early even when a close relative is severely allergic, I think our experience is going to prove that delaying the introduction of peanuts was the right thing to do. We will also be avoiding them from this point forward, at least until we get an allergist referral.

This post was part of the One Word Blog Linkup hosted by, Janine of Confessions of a Mommyholic, Marica of Blogitudes, and Lisa of the Golden Spoons! This week, the word prompt choices were Small and ChangeIf you would like to join the linkup you can find more information HERE, sign up for weekly emails HERE, and/or join our Facebook group HERE. Every Friday, two prompts are emailed. Choose one and write a post using that word as inspiration. Linkup up any time between 6:00am EST on Wednesday-9:00pm EST on Thursdays on any of the host sites.

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44 thoughts on “Small Changes Save Lives

  1. Terri Presser

    Food allergies can be really dangerous and I am glad that your little girl is doing okay now. Our son had terrible eczema as a baby and there were lots of food he couldn’t eat and it was way better for him to not eat them. Thank you for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings
    Terri Presser recently posted…GOOD MORNING MONDAYS #40My Profile

    1. growin49_wp

      Our son has the “trifecta” of (food) allergies, eczema, and asthma. We avoid the food triggers as well. We also avoid pets because he’s very allergic to cats/dogs – swells up even worse than our little girl did with the peanut butter cookies 🙁

  2. Stacey Gannett

    What a totally frightening experience! It is wonderful that it was taken care of and they always say that knowledge is half of the battle! Have a great week!
    Stacey Gannett recently posted…This Momma’s Meandering Mondays 108!My Profile

    1. growin49_wp

      Knowledge is half the battle. In allergies, the right medication at the right time is the other half. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Steph

    What a scary experience. On one hand, I’m glad you were experienced to recognize the problem and handle calmly. On the other, I’m sorry you’ve had so many experiences with food allergies! Thanks for sharing your story!
    Steph recently posted…Life-Saving Bubbles {Part 1}My Profile

    1. growin49_wp

      You are welcome. I hope others can learn from our allergy story – or any allergy story. Awareness is so important because time really does matter in some cases.

  4. Sandra @ Sandra's Ark

    As a mum we hate to see anything have such an effect on our children, you are looking after them and I’m glad that your church friends are supportive and understanding though not everyone understands what a serious effect there can be when they have not experienced it first hand.

    1. growin49_wp

      Very true that some people are less understanding than others. If I run across that, I can quickly mark them off the “trusted to care for my children” list. Other people go above and beyond even if they have no first-hand experience, and those individuals really make the difference in the care of children everywhere (schools, churches, airplanes…)

  5. Marissa

    Thank you for sharing this with your specific experience in order to explain your decision. I know people who have severe food allergies that are not as logical in their explanation. It’s more of the “because I’m allergic everyone should be aware and avoid it too”. I have seen the horrible effects of severe food allergies and have great empathy as I know what allergies feel like. I appreciate that you were efficient in recognizing the symptoms in your daughter and will wait until an allergist has a game plan before re-introducing the peanuts again, if ever. Its clear you love your kids and will do what is best for them, even if you have to give up your treat once in awhile.

    Marissa

    1. growin49_wp

      Education is important, but the way we share the information is equally important. Do I still go a little crazy if someone else gives my child food without checking – you bet! However, in this situation, we had no way of knowing this would happen. Now that we do, we have a whole team to protect our children while they are in the church building. Thank you for the encouragement.

  6. Jodi Spencer

    Crazy! That’s got to stink — I can’t imagine how terrifying!

    1. growin49_wp

      Each time we go through something like this, I pray that others don’t have to – and for the others that do or who have it even worse. It is awful!

  7. Mary Collins

    You are level headed when it comes to emergencies. I would have flipped. I’ve never witnessed a child reacting to a food allergy.

    1. growin49_wp

      Only because we’ve been through it so much… I wasn’t as calm when I didn’t know why Dietrich was sick all the time.

  8. Caroline @ In Due Time

    Oh how scary, but so glad you are now aware!!! Allergies are not something to be taken lightly that is FOR sure!

    1. growin49_wp

      ER follow up is scheduled (amazed at how quickly I’m getting an appointment as a new patient!) – PRAYING and I know all of you will join us that we can get the referral as quickly. Hopefully Peanuts will be her only contender.

  9. Pamela

    Frightening for sure. Thankful you were close to help. Hard on a momma’s heart though. We found out this year our grandson is allergic to bees.

    1. growin49_wp

      Oh, Bees are another difficult one. In some ways easy to avoid, but it’s a fine line teaching safety vs. fear (We have this problem with Dietrich and dogs. He is allergic, but somehow that also became a fear – no matter the size of the dog – when teaching him how to be safe).

  10. Julie Jo Severson

    I admire your resourcefulness and determination. I have a couple nieces with these allergies, and I see how difficult ands Scary it is for their Moms. You are a great Mom.

    1. growin49_wp

      Thank you! I jokingly tell people having a child, well children now, with food allergies, justifies my control freak tendencies. It is scary sometimes, but we have been very fortunate.

  11. Marie

    It’s amazing to me how many kids have so many allergies these days. and scary.

    I know there needs to be epi pens and such but what are people doing to find out what is causing soooo many kids to allergic to sooo many things??

    1. growin49_wp

      Various research is ongoing. The idea that seems to get the most validation (from what I’ve read) has to do with how much more processing food goes through in more recent years. Ingredients or treatments are added even before the food item is killed or picked/harvested. Items that shouldn’t be “mixed” are harvested together, animals are fed foods God never intended them to eat – so the short, Biblical answer is that we (humans) have strayed from God’s design even in our food production. Am I also guilty of enjoying processed and conveniently packaged items – yes! I try to do most things “from scratch” using “real food” though.

  12. Jennifer DeFrates/Heaven Not Harvard

    It has to be terrifying to have children with such severe allergies! We were on a flight in April that was nut-free due to a passenger’s severe allergy. The person behind me was complaining that the rest of us shouldn’t have to go nut-free because of one person. I wasn’t able to speak to him in a way that would have fostered knowledge and understanding through the seats and at least a row or two behind me, but I was seething. I had brought peanut butter bars for our snack on the plane and had no back-up. I had a 4 year old with me who still melts down when she is hungry. And despite this fact, our snack isn’t worth a person’s life! It isn’t a convenience issue, it’s life or death. Would he really stand over a dying child over his bag of 6 airline peanuts?? Sorry, still makes me angry that people are so inconsiderate. I love peanut butter and would find it hard if my child couldn’t take it for lunch ever again, but there HAS to be some protections for kids with allergies that are life threatening, often within minutes.

    1. growin49_wp

      Amazing what people complain about – and amazing how many people still don’t get it! I am thankful for people like you. I know that couldn’t have been easy for you. If I had been on your flight, I always have extra of my “safe” snacks and would’ve shared. I am beyond thankful, that to date, my kids only react to the ingestion of peanuts, not simply being around them. The removal of the PB from my home has everything to do with making the kitchen contaminant free. They should be safe in their own home, if nowhere else.

  13. Roxanne

    Oh MAN! How scary! I’m so sorry that happened to you, but I’m thankful you knew what to do and were prepared!

    1. growin49_wp

      I’ve carried Benadryl around almost as long as I’ve carried a diaper bag. I’m also one of those over packers of the diaper bag most of the time.

  14. Kristen

    Poor kid! I’m thankful that you knew what to do, and that the ER staff were helpful as well!

    1. growin49_wp

      The nurses were amazing! They kept apologizing for the long wait and did everything they could to make it less awful, all things considered.

  15. Jelli

    So happy this story had a happy ending. That must’ve been one scary ER visit.

    1. growin49_wp

      More annoying than scary… I understand “real” traumas and triage, but I knew the problem I just needed confirmation and an RX. Or I was too annoyed to be too scared.

  16. Amy Dowling

    So sorry you are going through this, but it can be dealt with. My 11 year old daughter has a peanut allergy and she is advocates for herself now. I miss peanuts in my home, but it’s not worth the risk.

    1. growin49_wp

      Our son is seven and quite an advocate for himself. He’s amazing really. Nothing tastes good enough to endanger my children. So glad for all the support we have in person and online!

  17. Melanie

    What a scary experience. I’m glad she’s okay, though.

    1. growin49_wp

      Me too! Now comes the really fun part of allergy testing…

  18. Andi

    always be vigilant about what’s in stuff and what’s not in stuff – and also be careful when you buy stuff – if it says that it’s made in a factory that produces nut products or stuff – I avoid that product! (I have bad allergies myself)

    1. growin49_wp

      I’ve been at this for years with our son. He reacts to the “trace amounts” and I go by the “safe lists” published by the different advocate groups. Yes, some things we spend more money on, and some of those things I haven’t found coupons for (help me out there if you can?) and I resort to making most things myself – now I have double the reason to do so.

  19. Jenny @ Unremarkable Files

    My daughter is peanut allergic. It was so weird how we found out. She had an entire half of a PB&J, then we played for a half hour, then she took a nap. When she woke up a few hours later, her face was swollen up like a monster. It took me a while to even make the connection to the peanuts since the reaction was so delayed!

    Peanut allergic reactions are scary, good thing you knew exactly how to handle it.

    1. growin49_wp

      Delayed reactions are scarier and much harder to piece together. Sadly, I have too much practice with the allergy puzzle, Jenny. Hope you are able to keep your daughter safe at all times with the village I know you have!

  20. Julie S

    Oh it sounds absolutely scary to find out about a food allergy that way. Definitely getting rid of the nuts at home is a good idea and being very cautious on what foods she eats outside the home. Hopefully this is an allergy she will outgrow with time.

    1. growin49_wp

      So far, my boy hasn’t outgrown his. He can (and does) tell everyone what he is allergic to and he asks if food is safe for him. It is terrible to add this to the things you teach your children.

  21. Lisa @ The Golden Spoons

    Food allergies can be so scary! Fortunately, none of my girls have them, but we have several friends and a niece who does. Our church has a totally nut-free policy because we had so many kids that have nut allergies. I’m glad she was ok!

    1. growin49_wp

      Terrifying! How wonderful that your congregation has that policy – or sad that you have so many impacted by such a problem. It takes everyone working together to keep our kids safe.

  22. Janine Huldie

    So sorry that this was the reaction your girl had to this, but think you are totally justified and right that you delayed peanuts and are now avoiding them. Just glad your little girl is OK and sending some hugs your way today.

    1. growin49_wp

      Thank you for the hugs and validations! We are very thankful though I really think the ER could have given us the steroids much sooner.

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