Life is the strangest thing. The other night I laid down on the
couch with the rest of my family after I got home from work. My oldest
daughter wanted to make cookies, I didn't but I couldn't think of a
good reason to deny her request. After finding the simplest sugar
cookie recipe my oldest daughter gathered the ingredients together
while my younger daughter read recipes that she thought would be good.
Listening to your children read can be an enlightening experience,
especially if they have expressive voices. When my daughter read about
adding walnuts to chocolate chip cookies her nose wrinkled up and she
How much people understand about food allergies depends on their
ability to comprehend the potential severity of an anaphylactic reaction. On November 17, we
went out for my niece's birthday, two bites into my pancakes I could
tell that I had ingested something my body did not like. What people
should do (and very often don't) is call 911 and alert the paramedics
that someone has eaten something they are allergic to. During a
conversation with my former allergist he explained that an allergic
reaction can rapidly become life threatening, he asked if I had an
EpiPen and when I told him I had one at home but not in my purse he
told me that was fine as long as I could hold my breath for the six
minutes it took an EMT to arrive.
Making cookies with my girls turned
out much better than I expected it to. The recipe turned out well, we
were able to decorate the cookies and overall it was good, clean,
quality family time. Yesterday I had to work, explaining why I am
frustrated with the people I work with would take multiple daylogs so
I'll skip that for now but by the time I got home I was physically
tired and mentally wired. Fueled by her earlier success and contrary to
her mother's instructions my oldest daughter started a baking project
that had some unintended consequences.
Earlier this summer I ate a peanut butter sandwich over at my
sister's place. I had a severe allergic reaction to a bite of brownie
that I had eaten and after talking with a friend of mine who is a
registered dietician she mentioned that people with nut allergies ought
to avoid chocolate since it frequently comes into contact with nuts.
Radically changing your diet when you're not sure what items you can
safely eat becomes more complicated when you're trying to grocery shop
for others in your family who can eat almost anything. I am allergic to
shellfish, my oldest daughter is allergic to all seafood, my youngest
daughter could probably eat anything and my husband loves walnut
The other night I helped my daughter with her peanut butter
cupcakes. Surprisingly they turned out well despite her not following
the recipe exactly. After supper I made brown sugar frosting for the
cupcakes. It had a nice caramel flavor and since I was leery of eating
a peanut butter cupcake I poured the leftover icing over a small diced
apple. My husband had to go to work, after I got the kids in bed I sat
down, logged on to my computer and started checking my Facebook
messages. A writeup that I've been working on was up on my scratch pad
when I realized that my ears were itching.
Not long after that my mouth started tingling. I felt a peculiar
tightness in my chest and my throat felt as if I would be unable to
swallow. Normally I pop a couple of Benadryl and wait the reaction out.
Last night things progressed so rapidly I went to the bathroom for the
EpiPen. After jabbing it into my outer thigh I called our local
hospital to determine what I should do next. Unfortunately the triage
nurse was unable to give me medical advice over the phone so I started
calling people in my family. I used my cell phone to call my neighbor.
She told me to take some deep breaths, epinepherine racing through
your blood stream makes you jittery which is fine but I felt like I
couldn't breathe which made me really nervous.
I've never thought that I would be afraid to die. I'm afraid of dying of cancer or other long drawn out painful
illnesses. I tend to be melodramatic which means that when there is a
real emergency people tend not to take me seriously. Last night I
wasn't exactly afraid to die. I was afraid I was going to die and maybe
that doesn't sound like two different things but to me there is a
distinction. Since June I've had five or six allergic reactions,
they're different than the kind I've had before, typically they aren't
as intense yet they scare me because I can't always identify the
Cooking as a means of therapeutic escape is no longer fun for me
anymore. Seemingly innocuous ingredients reside next to those that
could potentially kill me. Regardless of how careful I am in the
kitchen other people live in my house. Not all of these people
understand that an improperly cleaned knife which was used to spread
peanut butter could give me a major medical problem. The other night my
husband told the girls that I couldn't eat the cupcakes they were
making. They looked good, they smelled great but I stayed away because
I wasn't sure what effect they would have on my body.
At this point I don't care what kind of dietary changes my family
needs to make because I do not want to risk having another attack like
the one I had last night. The allergist I used to go to is a jerk. I
have never liked him and I made up my mind not to go back. When I was
in college I used to get allergy shots at Children's Hospital. Now that
I work near there I want to go back to one of the doctors I used to
see. Technically he's a pediatrician who specializes in allergy and
immunology but I'm hoping that he'll agree to see me after I explain my
Right now I don't care how much it costs to find out what I'm
allergic to. I don't care that I will have to take cash from my savings
account to pay a nationally ranked specialist. I was planning on using
the money I've saved so I could use it on a place of my own but it
recently occurred to me that if I'm not alive to move saving the money
will not have benefited me regardless. In closing I'd like to remind
people that food allergies are a serious, life threatening condition.
It's not funny, it can happen quickly and people can die from them.
Please take this issue into consideration no matter how annoying it is
to prepare special food for guests that you may be entertaining this holiday season. Cheers.