On Friday, I took my kids to a local church event. I heard about it from some friends and it was sold to me as: “Drop your kids off. Take a date night.” Some may call it “free babysitting” but I really do like when my kids get to hear about how much God loves them so I was excited for both of those reasons. My only hesitation was my daughter’s food allergies. It’s the same reason I hesitate with just about everything.
I spent a few minutes talking with the program’s director about my daughter both before we went and when we arrived. I was assured they would make sure she had her own dinner (they serve both dinner and a snack) and everyone would know about the allergy. I was hesitant at drop-off and had to force myself to walk away. But I got in the car and headed to a dinner out with two of my favorite boys: my husband and the cutest little boy in a sweater with a tie on it.
But, like all control freaks, I didn’t prepare for every possibility. We enjoyed our dinner. We ran to J. Crew and perused the sale rack. We split ways as my husband took the boy home for bed and I walked into a store to find a sweet ninja sword for my oldest.
I had just started looking in the Halloween aisles for the sword when I got the phone call: “I’m so sorry. She ate a cupcake.” A what? A cupcake? Like with eggs and milk and death in it? “I’m so sorry. I stepped out for a minute and when I came back she had eaten the whole thing.” Is she in anaphylactic shock? Is she breathing? Did you need to use the epinephrine I left you? “We gave her Benadryl and she is sitting with a nurse volunteer now. We are monitoring her and will keep you updated.”
I was speechless. This was unknown territory to me. The last time she had even a taste of a real baked good she was a baby and threw it all up in her crib. I saw a trip to the ER in my new future. I prayed and tried not to cry the whole way I drove to the church – fast.
When I walked in the building, she was sitting calmly on the nurse’s lap. She yelled “Mommy!” and ran to hug me. We sat and my first question was “How are you feeling?” Her answer… “Great!” What? “I’m having so much fun.” What? Don’t you feel like you are going to throw up? Isn’t it getting harder to breathe? Aren’t you at least all itchy? Ok, food allergies are confusing.
I saw the hives. Or the slight tinge of red to her cheeks, especially around her mouth. But that was it. And so we waited.
By the time I arrived it had been twenty minutes. We sat for another twenty as we waited for her brother to finish with his class. Then about twenty more before we actually left the building.
I kept asking her questions about the night on our way home. I needed to make sure she was breathing, but between the Benadryl and it being two hours past her bedtime, she was exhausted. I put her in my bed and kept an eye on her until about midnight when my husband carried her to her bed.
Since that night, I only feel confused. I’m not angry about it happening. I’m a little frustrated and know I have a lot of educating to do with her and others. But, mostly I’m confused. If her numbers aren’t going down, why didn’t she have a bigger reaction? What am I missing? Is she outgrowing some of her allergens? Am I being overprotective unnecessarily? I just don’t know what to think. And I have six more months until we’ll have her numbers checked again.
This child is going to take 15 years off of my life.