Food Allergy Week

I wasn't aware that there was a food allergy awareness week, but found this today. My daughter, Megan, has a food allergy. Here is her story:

Easter weekend, 2006, my parents, husband, daughter and I were at our ranch in Breckenridge, TX. Jarrad and I arrived on Friday night with Megan. Meme & Poppy arrived Saturday afternoon. After we helped unload their car, Poppy and Meg decided they wanted a snack. Meme and Poppy had brought some cashews and since Meg had eaten them before, I didn't think she shouldn't.

About 30 or so minutes after Poppy and Meg had finished with their snack, Meg started getting very fussy. She was rubbing her ears and crying...not typical behavior for our sweet little angel. Jarrad and I both thought that she was coming down with another ear infection. We both said "Great, we're going to end up with tubes in Meg's ears"...boy were we wrong.

I tried to lay Meg down for a nap, but she just cried and cried and cried, so I finally went to get her. When I picked her up, she was running a fever. We tried to call a few doctors to see about getting some antibiotics called in for her, but couldn't find anyone. Meme and I decided to head into town and try to talk to a pharmacist at Walmart. Of course, in small town Texas, the pharmacists leave at 6 sharp - we arrived at 6:05. By the time we got into Walmart, we noticed that Meg was starting to break out in hives. She had red splotches all over her torso and thighs. And, her face was so bright red that it was starting to turn purple.

So, off to the ER we went. We spent about an hour in the ER and were diagnosed with an allergic reaction (that would explain Meg rubbing her ears - her throat was probably itchy). At this point, we weren't sure what had caused it. The ER doctor gave Meg and dose of Benadryl and told us to give her more every 4 to 6 hours. He warned me that Meg would probably be groggy and sleepy, but that was to be expected...how wrong was he! Benadryl is like giving my daughter straight sugar. She was bouncing off the walls.

So, back to Walmart we went to stock up on Benadryl and a few other things while we were in town.

On Monday, I got Meg an appt with her pediatrician. He said it sounded like an allergic reaction to the Cashews, prescribed Meg an Epi-pen and sent us to an allergist. We were able to see the allergist that Thursday afternoon. After taking Meg's history and talking about what happened over the weekend, she sent me to a lab to have Meg's blood drawn to test for nut allergies.

It broke my heart to have to hold my daughter down while they stuck that needle in her arm. The woman that was taking her blood was very sweet though. Although, after we had finished, the woman offered Meg a peanut butter cup! I couldn't believe it - we were getting blood drawn for nut allergies and here she was offering Meg a PEANUT BUTTER CUP!

When we left the lab, they said that Meg's doctor office should have the results in 10 days. Well, about 10 days later, Meg's doctor's office called...not with my results, but to ask me to take my daughter back to get more blood work. They forgot to test for Cashews - the nut that set all of this into motion.

So, back to get more blood work for Meg. Bless her heart. I felt horrible for her. They rushed the results and we found out that Meg did have an allergy to Cashews and Pistachios. Her doctor told me that we needed to avoid all nuts (including peanuts) until she was three.

I'm thankful that we haven't had another "episode" and hope that when we go back to test her again, that we will know the limits.

It's hard to explain to a (now) 2.5 year old that she can't have certain candies because they are manufactured in a nut facility. Although, I have taught her to say "I'm allergic to nuts". She doesn't know what it means, but most adults do.

That is our story.

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