From the start my oldest son has given me gray hairs. At first, the doctors thought he might be twins. Then I was told I had some health issues related to the pregnancy. From there, we quickly learned he got one of my traits – stubbornness – when he waited five days after his due date before arriving via emergency c – section and needing oxygen. His projectile vomiting (sorry for those who aren’t moms…it’s a fact of life once you have kids!) led us to several different formulas until we found one that fit his little body. Because of all those issues and the fact that he had eczema from a young age, we got Corbin tested for allergies at three years old. This was the soonest our pediatrician would test him and because he was so small, it had to be a blood test. We learned that Corbin had a few allergies with only one major one we should be worried about – peanuts. Thankfully the amazing woman who watched Corbin (and later Carter) was very careful and we never really had any problems. Then we moved across the country…
We had been told it was a good idea once a year to get Corbin retested to see how his allergies were changing because he was so young. When we moved to South Carolina, we found an allergist here who did a great job with Corbin. He was finally able to get a “normal” prick test where basically you lay flat on a table and they put a bunch of different allergens just under your skin to see how you react. Poor Corbin’s back looked like he’d been attacked by mosquitoes when he had this test done. His list of allergies grew quickly, mainly because there are a different range of things to test for here in the South that they didn’t test for in MI because it wasn’t as relevant. Corbin’s list grew from a couple of things to a very long list including peanuts, shellfish, cats, dogs, horses, garlic, potatoes, carrots, weeds, grass, trees, cockroaches, mold, dust, whole eggs and soy. We now carry an epi pen for the peanuts and shellfish allergies.
Since we discovered these things at such a young age, Corbin doesn’t really know life with any of those things so he doesn’t miss any of them. It does impact all of our lives. I used to live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches…not any more. Peeling Easter eggs after they’re colored? Not Corbin. Playing football or rolling around outside with his friends? Not too long for Corbin. We’re blessed that Benadryl usually takes away hives if he has a reaction and that we’ve never (*knock on wood*) needed the epi pen. Corbin’s gotten very good at asking friends what’s in something if they offer him a treat or he attends a party. We’re blessed to have good friends who know about Corbin’s allergies and try to keep him in mind when having different events to make sure he’s got something to eat. I always have some kind of snack with me in case there’s not something for him which has happened before.
The thing that bothers me most is people and places who are not considerate of allergies. Many times when we go to a new restaurant we’re met with blank stares when we ask if they cook with peanut oil (a common practice here in the South) or if something has peanuts in it. It would be great to have a server who knew the answer without having to go check or look at labels. I understand that’s probably never going to happen but I can dream right?? We went to a baseball game over the weekend and they sold peanuts. Generally not a problem. Until the people who were sitting next to us got some and threw the shells all over the floor in front of us. When I politely asked them to not throw them near us because of Corbin’s allergy, I was met with attitude. Really?? Your snacking in more important than my child’s life?? I don’t think so! It would be great to see a “peanut free” section at baseball games for everyone to be able to go and enjoy the fun of watching a game. Again, I realize the world cannot change for my son or his allergies, but I’m dreaming here.
One of the most ironic things is that our younger son Carter has very few allergies. It was suggested that we have him tested due to his brother’s issues and we were surprised by the lack of things he’s allergic to (just mild seasonal allergies). Carter does well dealing with his brother’s allergies and knows Corbin can’t have some things because “he’ll get dead”. Corbin’s also got great friends who make sure everyone washes their hands after eating or playing with a pet so we don’t get Corbin dead. 🙂
I often worry about how these allergies will affect Corbin and all the things he’s missing out on because of them. He can’t have play dates or sleepovers because just about everyone we know has pets. Friends are welcome (and visit often) at our house but he’s missing out on the freedom of going and doing things on his own. He also doesn’t have the fun and responsibility of having a pet (something his little brother wants desperately). We’re looking into fish right now as that’s just about our only safe option. He can’t just walk into a restaurant and order whatever he wants. We’ve always got to find out what’s in everything to make sure it’s safe. I worry that he’s stuck eating the same few things over and over again and he’ll be a picky eater like his mommy. He had to leave the baseball game this weekend to take Benadryl. I know he’s going to grow up and be an awesome person some day, I just want him to have a “normal” childhood too.
How do you deal with allergies? Do you try to be considerate of others, especially if you’re aware of a health problem?