As you can tell, my dining out posts have been few and far between. I mean, a whole month has gone by and I’ve not tried anything new! My dining out life is in chaos! But that’s life, and one must just march forward regardless of such a hardship.
I am sure that December will be a better month for me, so stay tuned for that. In the interim, I thought I would post about my experiences with allergic reactions. The whole purpose of this blog is to talk about dining out with allergies, so what about the times when I experienced allergic reactions? I think those are worth a post or two (or three).
The first time I ever experienced an anaphylactic reaction (that I can remember), I must have been about 7 or 8 years old. We were in a shopping mall, and were getting some snacks at the local kiosk. I had chosen Cracker Jacks because I thought it was just caramel corn, and you got a prize in the box! How could you beat that?
Little did I know that Cracker Jacks also included peanuts. I ate a bite, and immediately, my mouth got itchy and I started getting wheezy. I had not swallowed any of the Cracker Jacks, so I spat it out and rinsed out my mouth and went straight for the Benedryl. I am so luck ythat I recovered from that, without it getting worse and resulting in a hospital visit. It took a couple of hours for me to feel better. It really could have ended badly, because we didn’t know any better, so what were we supposed to watch out for?
Back then, we didn’t really know a lot about being anaphylactic. All we knew was that I was allergic to certain foods, and that the reaction could be very serious. There wasn’t the type of knowledge or support for serious allergic reactions that there is today.
When I went to school, there was no such thing as a “no-peanut” rule, or having an Epi-Pen available at all times. There was no protocol in place to deal with kids with allergies. I sat at the same lunch table as all the other kids, as they happily munched on the PBJ sandwiches or other foods with eggs/dairy/peanuts. Their sticky little hands touching everything around them. A total nightmare for a kid with allergies.
I would sit at lunch and snack time, getting stressed out about the possibility of the itchy eyes or the hives that may or may not happen. Not a fun thing for a little kid to deal with. The adult supervision at school wasn’t much help either, not because they didn’t care, but because I don’t think they truly understood the real danger of food allergies.
Sometimes I really wonder how I actually managed to make it through childhood without something going horribly wrong. There were many other times that I had mild reactions that only required the help of Benedryl and Ventolin, and fortunately no hospital visits.
Thankfully, for kids these days, allergy awareness is so much better. There are so many resources out there to help kids and parents navigate all the difficulties of food allergies.
Assuming you want to read more about my experiences with anaphylaxis, in the next installment I’ll tell you about:
Episode 1: The White Spot Incident
Episode 2: The Ice Skating Escort to ER
Episode 3: Pasta and Dr. Carter