Monday, August 20, 2012


Hello Everyone,

Greetings from allergyland. As long time readers know, I've been allergic to tree nuts my entire life, and Danny is allergic to some tree nuts and peanuts. As far as we're concerned, that's the easy part-I bake everything at home and buy little in the way of processed food. I can control for allergens of the food-borne variety. Unfortunately, I can't do much about what's in the air beyond air filters, regular allergy medications, and showers when we come inside. That was working fine-until it wasn't. It still isn't.

Moulds are everywhere. I'm not talking about the sort that can be removed from a house-everything is fine at home. Instead, the moulds in the outside environment are settling in causing havoc. For the past year, we've managed the reactions with medication taken around the clock, all seasons. Friday, it stopped working, and we were looking at terrifying hives that evolved into horrific stomach pain, sneezing, coughing etc. If we didn't know it was allergic, it would look viral. It took a while (and a good allergist) to figure it out. Now...I don't know, I guess we keep the liquid Benadryl and Eppi -pens handy and see the allergist next week to start over.

So much of dealing with life threatening allergies is a matter of avoidance-but how do you avoid what can't be seen? The reactions come on so quickly, it can go from what seems like run-of-the-mill sneezing to a full-blown attack in seconds. I can help others to learn about nut allergies to keep my child safe away from home, but it would be expecting quite a bit of even the most attentive caregiver to recognise what we've been experiencing. Until he is older, and can manage the injections on his own, dropping him off at a sitter, or a class is out of the question. We homeschool. Last week, I let him go buy a newspaper by himself as I stood away and watched from a distance-a small bit of independence, but really sad when I think about it. At his age I was on my bike all across the neighbourhood-we came home at dinner. I don't helicopter, but I have to stick around in the event of a reaction. I don't micro-manage, but I have two fully loaded eppi-pens in my handbag, a bottle of liquid antihistamine, a home-packed lunch, and wet-wipes. Mum's Pharmacy and catering service.

And now we start over. Everything was fine, and now it is not. We thought we had this thing managed, and now we're checking in shifts through the night with flashlights like we did when we were new parents. Life had settled into a routine, and now it is not. Danny's grown a lot this year, so the answer might be as simple as increasing the daily medication dose-until the next time he grows and we're rushing him to urgent care with hives to deal with a reaction to something we can't see or defend against.

So yes, I'm feeling sad that I can't drop my child at the park to play with friends unsupervised. I'm sorry that he's stuck with me for a teacher until he's old enough to advocate for himself away from home (they won't let children carry their own eppi pens, inhalers, etc. here which is in my opinion, quite dangerous. By the time a teacher lets a sick child go to the nurse it might be too late). I'm OK as a primary school teacher, though linear algebra ain't my strong point. Personally, if they can read Lattimore's translation of Homer, do linear algebra, and remember most of the sea battles of the Napoleonic Wars, they can probably handle an eppi-pen and some Benadryl, but I'm not a school administrator. Well, I take that back-I suppose I am now, but I can't very well sack myself.

I'm going to spend some time getting caught-up on sleep before we start the new school year next week. Posting will be sporadic, and I apologise as I know so many of you come here regularly looking for something interesting, not complaints at the unfairness of life. We really do keep things in perspective (mostly). Anyway, my presence here may be scarce for a while.

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