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The Food Allergy Mom's New 'All Nighter'

It is now just before midnight on a Saturday night and I am wide awake. I'd like to say that I'm channeling my more lighthearted side before children and partying the night away. But I'm not. No. Instead I am about to embark on another all nighter to monitor my son, Aiden. Tonight he went for a walk with his Nana (grandma) and his sister and no sooner reached the entrance to the park when he mysteriously tossed his cookies. The way you hear Nana describe it, he emptied his insides out to the point where she almost caught the cookie tossing bug. He's six years old so you may be thinking 'So What. Kids barf all the time.' Yep. However, in Aiden's case, throwing up is often the first thing he does when having a reaction to food.

Experts tell us that reactions can vary every time and I do believe them. Yet, with Aiden we have seen vomiting almost every single time. He is also one of those few have had biphasic reactions even as late as a day and half later. (It is considered rare but people can have biphasic reactions from 2 to 72 hours after exposure.) With Aiden, we saw one of his worst reactions to date consist of immediate, profuse vomiting followed by around 36 hours of perfectly normal behavior and no other symptoms. The biphasic reaction was actually the whammy with all the common anaphylaxis sysmptoms including swelling of the lips, hoarse voice, "ouchie tummy", and hives. (I would later discover that his sesame and flax seed cracker dipped in hommus was like handing my toddler a death snack. Turns out he is allergic to sesame, flax AND chickpea. I may forgive myself someday...) So having those experiences tends to make us VERY nervous any and every time he vomits. We always assume it is food related and we watch him for several days. 

Parenting, regardless of if your child has any health conditions or not, requires our involvement and awareness. We should know them better than most and sometimes, better than they know themselves. When you have a child who does have health issues you listen to the medical professionals but in turn, they listen to you because you are the one observing your child and sharing information with the doctors until your children can. The more emergency events you have, the more you are on alert and you are often the first person to figure out the patterns. If youve been in the Emergency Department before, you know that there are a ton of questions that will be asked and it isn't just about what insurance you have and when is their birthday. No. You'll be asked about their day. What did they eat? When did they eat last? What symptoms were they having? When did the symptoms first occur? Have they had those symptoms before? Who else lives in the house? Is anyone sick? Did you administer medication or epinephrine on your own? If so, how much and at what time? On and on and on... They have to and because you are the caregiver, they need you to be the one who was paying attention to help them get all of the information gathered to provide the best care for your child.

We keep a dry erase whiteboard in our kitchen. We've had it for several years now. It originated as a way to track meds but it has also come in handy to track the details that will be asked by the doctors, should it come to that. Tonight, my board has a time 8:30pm when we chose to give Aiden Benedryl because he had not eaten anything new nor just before his eruption. What is not on the board is that at 8:30, we also began our three day watch period. I've been watching him sleep for a while now and he is sleeping soundly. Regular breathing. No wheezing. No swelling. No hives. I may have a few tears as I watch him sleep the next few nights but nothing like the tears of relief and joy I will have when he is out of that 72 hour window again. I may just have a little cocktail after my new Food Allergy Mom all nighters. Because why not? Stress relief. That's how I roll these days. 

#foodallergies #anaphylaxis #biphasic #foodallergyfamily #foodallergymom


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