I already foresee that I may get some conflict on this post, but that’s quite alright since I’m conflicted myself of what I’m about to write. When it comes to food allergies, the signs and symptoms and even the treatment can be quite simple and easy to comprehend. However, the opinion and view of preventative care can be so broad of a subject that it can cause controversy even between the closest family members and friends. Food allergies, a deadly mistake and forgiveness are not something you see together that often. It’s certainly a statement you NEVER want to see that often. Let’s get into this discussion and see where this leads us.
So what exactly does the title of this post really mean? I suppose you can make your own guess about it and certainly interpret it as you wish, but I’ll tell you what it means to me. When your loved one has a food allergy, and someone made the mistake of feeding them a food they were allergic to and they died, could you eventually forgive that person for that mistake?
Boy, that’s a lot to take in, isn’t it. Having a daughter with food allergies, I myself have never really thought about something like that. Then again, no parent wants to ever think about their child dying. But when you have a child with multiple food allergies, it’s never far from the back of your mind. Let me state this from my opinion. I never want to think about my child dying, but I think about her food allergies every single day! It’s not something that I can avoid. I’m going to think about it simply because I’m going to have to feed her. Can you imagine that? “Oh, let me make sure I’m feeding her the right thing or she could die.” Yes, that’s every parent’s reality when they are raising a food allergic child.
Now we know that a parent is certainly going to maintain a diligent safety routine for their allergic child. My husband and I certainly do for our Nat. Since she was born we have taken every precaution to protect her and educate those who care for her. The minute we found out, I immediately began looking for a medical ID that would suit a toddler. I found one at an online site called uniquemedicalid.com. We then began learning how to read food labels for allergens and all the different names those allergens could be listed under. That’s right. Milk can be listed in about 5 different ways.
Eggs too. I ended up finding these wallet cards at www .foodallergy.org that you can carry that have all this information listed on them. (It certainly makes it a bit easier at the grocery store for that first shopping trip that may take a couple hours since you have to read the label of everything you put in the cart that she might want to eat.) I also bought allergy stickers from www.labelitorloseit.com that listed her name and her allergies that I commenced to stick on everything to include her clothes, backpack, lunch box, etc. I could continue to tell you about quite a few more but I’ll stop there. Just wanted to give you a visual of what we have done and continue to do to protect her. However, if you’d like to learn more and also see a video on all these materials, you can check it out here in my previous post.
Even when it comes to family we have done everything to educate them on her allergies including how to use her Epipen. Nevertheless, even family can make a mistake. WHAT??? Ok, so I said mistake. But my title of this post says Deadly Mistake. That’s right. A simple mistake for a food allergic child is almost never simple. It’s either serious or Deadly! You just can’t make that mistake. But guess what? It happens. People are human and humans make mistakes everyday. My mother kept our Nat after she was born until she began school. We had trained her about her medication, how to read food labels, making sure she had her I.D. bracelet on if they left the house, etc. One morning, she had made breakfast for her and my dad and Nat. She’d fixed grits and eggs (yep, that sentence alone should tell you the region we live in ). Now Nat could have grits but she is allergic to eggs. Can you see where I’m going with this? Ever heard of Cross Contamination? Yep, my mother had made the mistake of dipping the same spoon she had used in the eggs into the grits and cross contaminated Nat’s grits with egg. That mistake sent her to the ER in one of the worst anaphylactic reactions she had ever had. Now, I just stated that my mother had made the mistake? Know what, I can’t remember if we had explained to her about cross contamination. Really? Had we made the mistake instead? Nonetheless, a mistake was made whether it be with my mother or with us, the parents.
So, let me get to the point I’m trying to make. Mistakes will be made. No matter how much you educate, train, remind, supervise,…whatever…we hope it never happens but that possibility is always there. Whether we made the mistake or my mother made the mistake, the mistake was made by family. In saying all that, if family can make a mistake with their food allergic child, how can we fault someone else for making the same mistake? All we can do is to do the best we can in educating them, and give them the resources and visuals to help them remember that they have a special child in their care that needs extra attention. Give them what they need to do the best they can in remembering that they have a food allergic child in their care. Be diligent in the effort to prevent that Deadly Mistake from happening. What if that caregiver has 10 other children to tend to and 5 of them have a medical condition that requires or needs special attention? Lend them as much help as you can in remembering about your child’s allergies.
Regardless, if that mistake does happen, could you forgive them? WHAT??? Ok, so I said forgive. Yep, that’s right. Could you forgive them if that Deadly Mistake was made? Are you going to lay fault on them? At this point, can I say that I could? You know, I don’t know. I can’t say how I would feel if someone made that mistake with our child. And I hope I never have to. However, I do know that I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure that person knows that my child is special and needs special attention. They need to be diligent in protecting her and I’m going to do the best I can to help them make that happen.
I have given you my point of view, my example and my way of doing things. I certainly can’t speak for others and can’t say that what they would do or are doing is wrong. I’m simply trying to show that we are all going to have our opinion on what works best for us and what we believe works best for others when it comes to our children. I feel that we don’t need to place blame or fault on those who made the mistake when they were given almost nothing to prevent it.
I hope this made a little bit of sense in trying to explain how I feel about preparing others for caring for my food allergic child. My advice to you is to stay diligent on educating others and be persistent in reminding them about your child’s allergies. Prevent that Deadly Mistake so we never have to experience that Forgiveness.