August 09, 2006

Sometimes You Feel Like a Bad Parent, Sometimes You Don't

I have to admit that the whole nut allergy thing has failed to pierce my consciousness in any real way. I don't know why. I am aware that a lot of children suffer from allergies...I suffered from allergies. I know that some kids get very sick from eating nuts, some even die. I have seen the patches and stickers that parents put on clothing and backpacks warning people that nuts can make their kids really ill. But I never thought that O might be one of these kids.

I worry about a lot. I worry about how much I have worried since O's birth. If there is a catastrophe to be imagined I have done so. Some of the most heavily rotating bad dreams involve accidentally smashing her pumpkin head into something and driving into a large body of water with her strapped into the carseat. Kidnappings and leaving her to fry in the hot car are also up there. Unlikely? God, I hope. But of all the things that I have thought might pose a danger, I guess I missed one of the most obvious.

O has been eating organic almond and peanut butter for some time now. She loves them both and they are major players in her diet. It didn't occur to me to worry about feeding them to her and she has had no problem with either. Yesterday, I gave her a new granola for breakfast, something gingery that I mixed in with our usual stuff. At noon, when I was changing her diaper, I found a big, raised ring around her belly button and angry red patches under her arms and up and down her back. She had spots on her legs and her ears were turning reddish purple. Marc and I took one look at her and took her to the ER. Hives. The doctor asked two questions: "Any new foods?" and "Were there nuts in it?" Yes and yes. The granola had little pieces of cashews. I noticed this, but gave it no thought. I always mix her granola with yogurt, making it pretty soft and chewy. I hadn't even worried about them as a choking hazard. The doctor didn't say much, but I felt like this was something I should have known better than to have done.

We gave her benadryl at the hospital and at home before bed and today she is fine. I don't know what this means beyond the fact that she is off the granola and needs to be tested for allergies. I guess that I have some research to do. And something else to add to my list of things to worry about.


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3 Comments:

Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

That's really frightening. I'm glad that the Benadryl worked quickly, and hopefully the tests will identify any other foods that are off-limits.

Nut allergies - and food allergies in general - have not been on my radar much. But recently I've been hearing a lot more about them, and hopefully I'm becoming more sensitive to what parents like you must think about every day.

Thanks for visiting me - the comment and the reassurance!

8:46 PM  
Anonymous courtney said...

mamma pdubmmm, please do not beat your self up. in the grand scheme of things, hives are not the end of the world and she is all better today. this is part of the natural expansion of risks. as she gets older her world will continually be getting larger and larger and you will find new things that she takes to like a fish to water and things that don't work out for her at all like cashews. good to find out and now you know not to send her hiking with a big bag of cashews. you are keeping closer watch over her than the republicans are over my unamerican activities. hope you do not try to fly anywhere with O's babyfood on you.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous alish said...

i'm impressed that sometimes you don't feel like a bad parent! sometimes i feel like a bad parent, sometimes a really bad parent. cool link to the stickers and patches- i had no idea they existed. let's make some that say "no chemicals".

2:00 PM  

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