Helping Your Child Through an Anaphylactic Food Experience (Day 15)

“Should I call 911?”  My husband was at work, I called him.  William and I were dancing–having a good time right before bed.  Getting excess energy out.  He stopped–moving, all of a sudden.  A minute passed and I thought he was playing and then he did not move.  He must have been about three and a half years old maybe younger.

Earlier in the day my husband made cookies–normal thing to do.  We knew William was allergic–or newly diagnosed/confirmed allergic–so we were not as cautious as we should have been.  Leaving the room for a minute–I put the cookies to the back of the stove where William could not reach them. I should have sealed them in a container and hid them.  Smelling them, I am sure, William went looking for them.  Ten seconds later, I came back to chocolate chip hands.  Except–those chocolate chips had all the allergens or most of the allergens William would respond negatively to.

Our dancing stopped.  William stopped. Sitting on the couch–I asked, “William can you open your eyes?” His eyes were closed.  He answered, “No.”  On the phone with Dicky–my husband, “call 911” was his response.  Almost immediately firefighters and EMT first responders were at our door.  Epi-Pen had already been administered and Benadryl in William’s little system.  Anaphylactic shock had consumed his body.  “You saved his life tonight” one of the firefighters confirmed.

Scared, Unsure, Helpless were all the things I felt in the moment I was alone with William. So new to this reaction–I was unsure of what to do or of my overreaction.

As in any traumatic circumstance–reflecting later–I found some things that helped William and myself through this trauma.

Staying Calm.  This is the last thing I wanted to do. Crying was almost an instinct, though I had to be strong for William at that moment.  My reactions needed to be on hold for the time, I could come back to those later.

Medicine.  Benadryl, then Epi-Pen Jr. (at the time).  Later in reading, I found and research has found, when anaphylactic shock occurs–skip the Benadryl, administer epi-pen immediately. The epi-pen hurts but it saves lives.

Reassure and talk to them.  Whether 911 has been called or you are headed to the ER, make sure your kiddo knows you are there and they will be helped soon.

If ever in doubt–administer the Epi-pen.

William recovered from this experience physically–though each time he has encountered an anaphylactic episode–it stays with him.  Some probably not so good memories and hopefully a couple of strengthening memories.

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Log: “Your Sister–She is So Sensitive about William” Day 13

Not anything too drastic about today–I was a bit hungrier and it was hard not having food ready to eat.  I still reach out for food that I usually just grab–bread, peanut butter, etc.

Going throughout this day–an experience kept returning to my mind.  In finding out that William had food allergies, I was in disbelief.  I felt like they-food allergies–were not a real thing and somehow that there was an immediate solution–it could be like a bacterial infection–a medicine could relieve the discomfort.  Nope.  This was not the case.  I wanted so bad for something to cure these food allergies.  Everything was so new to me and those who supported me.  Family, friends did their best to be understanding and supportive.  Helping to find possible solutions.  One of those were vitamins. Willing to give mostly anything within safety a shot–a neighbor had some vitamins.  She had a lot of them.  My sister and I went to the neighbor’s house–my sister knew her a little better than I did. We spent time together, she shared her knowledge.  Perhaps at one point or another I might have said something regarding William to where this neighbor felt the need to tell my sister, “Your Sister–She is So Sensitive about William.” Years later this comment continues to pop into my head here and there. I am not sure what I said, or what body language I expressed–though it must have been pretty strong.

Thinking back on that day and those words–I have now noticed over the several years of William having food allergies–that I am more sensitive with him–my sensitivity is perhaps a defense mechanism, a protection for him and for me, for our family.

Over the years I have learned that I needed to be his voice–his advocate. When confirmed with food allergies, I had no idea what to expect. I thought we would just need to be cautious and that he might encounter itchiness or bothersome things here and there.  As time proceeded forward–there were a few times to come where I watched him close to a very short life.  So, yes, in that instance (of help from a neighbor) and from then on, I have been sensitive with William.  Overprotective when it comes to food, a little, though also helping him learn how to be strong.  In the process, a strength also building for myself as well as our family.

Top 3 Views on a New Reality: Food Allergies

When William was confirmed to have food allergies–it still wasn’t our norm.  We had to learn a new way of looking at food and the way we handled food.

Washing hands was important before.  Now we needed to wash our hands and make sure not to touch anything that William was allergic to before getting him his food.

Cross Contamination can cause an allergic reaction.  Before food allergies, I never thought about setting a piece of food on a bread plate.  With allergies, if this is done, an allergic reaction occurs.

Food Allergies aren’t real.  In fact, they are really real. For the longest time, I wanted to believe that food allergies were a made up thing. Unfortunately, I think there is a great misunderstanding of food allergies.  There are many that believe that they are not real or made up.  I would confirm this, though I have seen my child in an anaphylactic response five times.  Some because we didn’t understand the severity and some because they were accidents.  Food Allergies are real, to me, I view them as a cell abnormality or an immune deficiency.  Any which way, they are real,

 

Log: Social Settings, Day 12

Today as part of my church service I asked that I be able to use a chex cereal piece as panotebook logrt of our sacrament, instead of a piece of wheat bread.  For the first time, I felt a reality in the social separation when it comes to conformity.  It was a personal feeling and I could sympathize with the way William might feel in social settings.

Log: The Cake Looked Good, Day 11

Saturday–Chex Cereal (corn) for breakfast before heading off to see my husband finish hnotebook logis half marathon.  Celebrating–we went out for ice cream.  Typically I love the fancy waffle cone from Baskin Robbins.  Today, I chose chocolate chip ice cream-William can indulge in that–though he chose three scoops of chocolate ice cream with sprinkles.  Good choice.  Later that day at one of my good friend’s home, she offered me cake that was egg free. I needed to ask what kind of flour was used.  Darn–it had wheat.  The cake looked delicious and I am sure that it tasted just as good.  I passed.  The cautions William must take–the cautions all kids with food allergies must take.  It is hard to make sense out of food that should be good for a body–can also be fatal to the body.  Later that day, I was super hungry. I ate beans/rice and ham.  It satisfied. Pizza was for dinner.  I guaranteed William I would not be eating it.  Some might ask–well why do I bring wheat into the house?  We minimize it–though at the same time wheat is such a huge product and it is found in almost everything.  We work to minimize the amount of foods we have with allergens-though William is allergic to almost all of the top allergens.  Everyone in the house takes extra precaution to keep William’s food environment safe.

Log: Thinking About the Things He Would Like to Eat, Days 8 & 9

notebook logDays 8 & 9 were pretty normal with eating as if I were the one with food allergies.  I did get to ask William–how many times a day he thinks about the things he would like to eat–but is not able to.  “Haha–I think about it all the time…it is hard when I see my brother or sister eating what I would like to eat.”  These were his words.  Without submerging myself into this challenge–I am not sure I would have ever thought to ask that question–to him.

Log: Day 4

notebook logToday was a little more challenging–it has been long and there were a lot of food that really looked good–cookies, cupcakes, donuts. I din’t eat them.  There was one thing that I just went after out of habit–a salad–looking at the ingredients, William possibly could eat it, but might’ve ended up needing to take Benadryl.  My body does not react the same as William’s would.  Mine is a challenge, becoming more aware of how he feels–his is reality, his life.

Log Days 2&3

notebook logDay 2–I woke up thinking about bread foods and was pretty hungry for them.  I also felt pretty hungry as well. I went through the day consciously thinking about the foods I am not able to eat and how they could affect William.

Day 3-Much like day 1&2.  Except today, pizza was involved. Usually I will tell myself if pizza is around that I will not eat it, though, I do end up eating it.  Today, no. Focused on the effects of food allergies to someone who is anaphylactic–it is not a choice.  They cannot have it. I did not have it.  I got really hungry in the middle of they day.  I really felt irritable and ravenous.  This is probably how William feels much of the time.  It is important to have foods on hand and ready to eat.

Food Allergy Diagnosis

WDiagnosise experienced a whole new world when it came to food allergies.  Before I was married and had kids, I knew a lady whose child was severely allergic to food.  My mind could not process the possibility that someone could be deathly allergic to food.  It mostly sounded like a cruel joke.  Time passed, I had my child, he was confirmed with fatal food allergies.

Wheat, Oat, Rye, Soy, Tree Nut, Peanuts,  Egg, Shellfish.  His most fatal allergy Wheat.