Nurse and Mother: A Food Allergy Story
by Meg _______, SAFE + FAIR Brand Ambassador
As a nurse, I felt knowledgeable about medication allergies, and was always very careful about checking them before administering any medications. I have to admit that food allergies didn’t seem as serious to me, and my experience was limited. I was always vigilant about monitoring patients for drug reactions, but it never crossed my mind that I could encounter a patient in anaphylaxis due to a food allergy.
When I had my first child, Connor, my whole world changed. I never expected that my son would become my most important patient, and that I would be giving an Epi-pen to this tiny person. The tables were suddenly turned, as I was no longer the confident nurse, but the panicking mother. I was second-guessing that I was witnessing anaphylaxis, as my ten-month-old turned red, grabbed at his throat, frantically scratched at his head, and thrashed in his high chair. I cried and apologized to my son, as I injected epinephrine into his chubby, baby thigh. His symptoms disappeared within minutes, but my fears, as an allergy mom, are ever-present.
Connor had three more anaphylactic reactions in the following three years. At seven, he remains allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, legumes, eggs, sunflower, sesame, and soy. My husband and I have settled into our role as allergy parents, and our five-year-old daughter Caroline is one of Connor’s fiercest advocates.
Being the parent of a child with life-threatening food allergies can be daunting, but the food-allergy community is so supportive, and other parents are always willing to share their stories and advice. I love sharing what I’ve learned over the years, and just letting people know that they’re not alone.