I was a little shocked this week when I read a story online about a school board member who joked that students with food allergies "should be shot." I believe they were discussing food allergies in schools and how to handle them.
I COULD NOT BELIEVE WHAT I WAS READING.
Anaphylaxis is no joking matter. I have a seafood allergy, and Son #2 has a tree nut allergy. I have actually witnessed a severe allergic reaction - anaphylaxis in Son #1.
I never want to see that again as long as I live. I have shared this story before, but here goes....
Son #2 was in the hospital (one of 8 hospitalizations), thanks to pneumonia. Hubby came down for his turn at the hospital, so I went home to pick up Son #1 and daughter Kitty. Son #1 needed his weekly allergy shots. Our plan was to get shots, grab a pizza, and head back down to the hospital to have dinner and watch a movie as a family.
We ALWAYS wait 20 minutes after allergy shots. You are supposed to stay so just in case you have an allergic reaction. I told Shot Nurse that we weren't going to stay this one time, that we were going to grab a pizza and head back to the hospital. She said, "you'll be fine....what are the odds that anything will happen?"
So, we hopped in the car and were a block a way when Son #1 said, "Mom, I think something's wrong." I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a VERY red-faced son. His neck was bulging, his eyes were glassy and bulging, and he was coughing. I swerved over to the side of the road, flipped a U-turn, and headed back to the office. I called the office to let them know what was going on.
Shot Nurse was ready for us when we RAN from the parking lot. She gave Son #1 a shot of epinephrine (what's normally in an Epi Pen) and started a breathing treatment. Daughter Kitty was wide eyed and clutching her stuffed animal. She knew something was REALLY wrong.
Shot Nurse was calm and talked to Son #1, all the while monitoring his oxygen level and symptoms. She stayed with us for 2 hours after the office closed. (They are located right next to a hospital!)
She also let us know that you can have a rebound effect , meaning that the anaphylaxis can come back after hours or even days later. WHAT??!!
So, she gave us a prescription for an Epi Pen. We stopped at the pharmacy to fill that. Thinking that if he DID have a rebound effect that night....at least we would already be at the hospital!
Meanwhile, Hubby called and said, "Hey, where's the pizza??!!" He was unaware that anything was going on. He had no idea that Shot Nurse was saving our son's life.
I was so scared and shaky that I could barely drive back to the hospital. We ended up just getting pizza delivered to the hospital and watched a movie with the kids. All the while I was thinking how grateful I am for modern medicine and for Shot Nurse who just saved my son's life.
The same thing can happen with food allergies. I have to inspect any food that is not prepared by me - yep, office parties, church parties, family parties, restaurants. I am not afraid to ask, "does this have seafood in it?" I will ask the person who prepared it, and if I can't find them, then Hubby will try to the food first to see if it's safe for me to eat. We do the same thing for Son #2's tree nut allergy. Tree nuts are in soooo many desserts and ice creams, we have to be very careful.
To the school board member who said "just shoot them", I would like her to visit kids in the hospital who have experienced anaphylaxis. Or read any of the stories online about someone who has died from a food allergy.
It is no joking matter.