It all started on spring break. We had a lovely family day planned to go to a children’s museum, a bookstore where we had a coupon for a free children’s book, and to Nourish, our favorite food allergy-friendly restaurant. And the day was lovely, right up until we fed our oldest son a piece of absolutely delicious vegan cheesecake. Then his lip swelled up and he started having difficulty breathing. Then the day instantly became absolutely terrifying.
After a trip to the ER, a shot of epinephrine, and intravenous doses of both Benedryl and prednisone, our son was well enough that we could go home – a two-hour drive. Hubby and I did a lot of processing on that drive home. As Hubby says, it’s a major paradigm shift from “food can make you pretty sick” to “food can kill you.”
So it turns out that our boy is anaphylactic to walnuts. And, given the risk of cross-contamination, his allergist recommended that we avoid all tree nuts and peanuts. I’m now the type of mom that has to make sure the boy carries his Epi-Pen Jr. at all times and tries to figure out the best type medic-alert bracelet for a four-year-old. I no longer worry about keeping him healthy, I’m focused on keeping him alive.
So yeah, I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately, and I haven’t exactly been inspired to write about my misadventures in the kitchen as a result. In fact, I’ve been working on how much food can I serve without really having to cook (much). Rice cakes and sunbutter, cans of tuna fish, pasta boiled in broth, cereal, microwaved baked potatoes, dried fruit, avocados – all that kind of stuff. My menu plan has flown out the window, and I’m just trying to survive from one meal to the next.
It’s ok. I know this is a season and just part of dealing with what happened to my four-year-old. But it’s going to take a few weeks to get back on my game in the kitchen, and every small setback seems nearly insurmountable right now. Gooey gluten-free bread? Must mean I’m a failure. Floppy waffles? I just can’t do anything right, can I?
But you know what? The kids and I are still alive. The allergies lost the battle that day in the ER. We live to fight another day. And we will, somehow, win this war. Oh, the allergies may never disappear, but I look forward to the day when I no longer have to fear their terrible power over my family. The day when our food allergies will finally be, truly, on ice.