I'm not trying to complain, and really, I'm doing fine. But my point is, there just seems to be a lot going on.
So why not add a FREAKING PEANUT ALLERGY into the mix?
I could have sworn I had given Casey peanuts before. After all, he's 3 years old! But now that I look back, I suppose I didn't. My husband has a mild allergy to nuts, and Braden doesn't like them, so we don't really ever have them in our house. Casey's school, along with most schools and camps now, are nut-free zones. So really, in the absence of me purposefully giving him nuts, he probably never did have them. And I guess I never did.
The fact that he could have an allergy didn't even occur to me. It certainly didn't before we opened up a packet of peanut M&M's last week.
As I divied up the M&M's between Braden and Casey as an after dinner treat, I actually had the thought: Hmmm, this may be Casey's first peanut. I dismissed it, because even if it was, so what? What are the chances?
It started with a gag, and then a cough, almost immediately after ingestion. His face got red. Coincidence, I thought.
A couple of minutes later, he erupted in tears and started complaining about "boo-boo's" in his mouth. At that point, I started to get a little concerned.
Ten minutes later, he was rolling around on the floor moaning. My husband rushed him to the bathroom, where he promptly threw up. Okay, this was something.
He came back out of the bathroom feeling good and rearing to go, but I could see that a rash was forming behind his knees. That's when I brought out the Benadryl and called the doctor.
Casey is fine. We took him to the pediatrician. Then we took him to the allergist. He's gotten multiple blood tests (poor baby). We've been instructed to keep him away from any and all peanuts. And today, I went to CVS to fill a prescription for multiple epipens.
But me? I'm a little shaken up by the fact that the term "epipen" is now part of my vocabulary. And it will be, for a long time. There are certainly worse things in life than a peanut allergy, but having to inspect Casey's Halloween candy, meet with his teacher's to discuss his "condition," and consider the fact that I will need to tell every caregiver or playdate host or after school class about his allergy and potential ramifications... It's overwhelming. It won't change our lives dramatically, but it will be an ever-presence. And an ever concern.
I'll make an embarrassing confession. I have been known to roll my eyes in the past about our peanut-free society. When I couldn't bring in certain cupcakes to school, or when airlines went peanut free... Let me put it out there in the universe right now that I'M SORRY for that. It was really insensitive and selfish and just plain ridiculous of me. Because now, I see potential land mines everywhere I look. Hell yes, schools should be nut free! Hell yes, keep them off of airplanes! And while we're at it, could we please not pass out peanut filled Halloween candy? As a matter of fact, lets just banish them altogether! Because all it takes is one slip, one time...
It's still not clear how severe Casey's allergy is, and given that we haven't really taken any precautions regarding restaurants or cross contamination or any of that other kind of thing in the past three years, it tends to suggest it's not that severe. However, when the doctor tells you that he cannot guarantee that any subsequent reaction will not be bad, that's a bit disheartening.
I'll add it to my list of motherly worries. As my kids get older, the list gets longer and longer. But as I get wiser, I realize there's only so much I can do. We will adjust, we will take precautions, and Casey will be fine.
In the meantime, no peanuts for this little guy.