We have become a food allergy family almost overnight. I guess that’s how it usually happens. One minute you are all sitting around eating hot dogs and the next minute you are having a panic attack because that hot dog could’ve killed your kid with a class 6 pork allergy.
About a month ago, but maybe a little more, my son started breaking out in hives from head to foot. Sometimes his face would swell and a few times he coughed and had labored breathing. Terrifying. More terrifying in retrospect.
Initial allergy tests revealed that he was extremely allergic to cats. Well awesome. We only have three cats in our house so that should be no problem to deal with. (!!!???**&%^$^*&*(*(*&) !
Yesterday, however, we got back our food panel test results. Ready? Potato, milk, egg, lettuce, rye, barley, chicken, chocolate, corn, oat, peanut, pecan, shrimp, soy, tomato, baker’s yeast, and malt fall into the moderate to high allergy range. Severe allergy to beef and really severe allergy to pork. The phrase, “pork could kill him,” was uttered more than once.
Obviously, I stayed up on the internet about half the night. He is going gluten free, dairy free, and every other kind of free. Except turkey. And he can eat some chicken.
You know how they say to never read the comments? It’s true. I don’t mean the comments on one’s own blog. I mean the comments in general. I was researching pork allergy and people LITERALLY said stuff like this: “There is no such thing as a pork allergy. *&%$^&&ing Jews and Muslims.” So while he is half Jewish, I don’t think his deadly pork allergy is related. In addition to being highly offensive, it’s a pretty good example of how people view food allergies. I also saw a meme which was intended to be funny that said “I have food allergies, food makes my butt swell.” I get that it is supposed to be funny. But I can’t think of anything less funny than food allergies and I have tried for a year to find a way to make PPD funny so I have a pretty liberal sense of humor.
I used to have a student with a moderate peanut allergy. I know and I knew then that peanut allergies are no joke and I got it but I didn’t get it the way I get it now. But that family was a fantastic example of constant vigilance. I’m glad I took it seriously. I learned a lot from them and I’m very grateful that they shared so much knowledge with me then.
So we are over here adjusting to our new reality. He might grow out of these allergies in time. He will probably outgrow the mild ones to chicken and chocolate. In the meantime, we will never go anywhere without two epi-pens and Benadryl and a nebulizer. We will be the food allergy parents. Holidays are going to be difficult. Cook outs will be difficult. Eating out at all will be very difficult.
Maybe somehow, I can find the humor in this situation. I’ll keep you posted.