Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Practice Your Epi Pen

Just a quick post to report on practicing the Epi Pen.  I'm embarrassed to admit it but in the 4 years since Alexa had her first anaphylactic reaction I've never ever used an Epi Pen.  I thank God she hasn't needed it and now I'm thankful that my first time using one wasn't on her!  We have some expired Epi Pens in our medicine cabinet.  My husband and I have been saving them to practice but just never got around to it.  I was cleaning out the refrigerator the other day and noticed a grapefruit I was going to chuck and thought "I should use that to practice on".  I got out the Epi Pens and went through the entire procedure.  I'm so glad that I did!  That "click" that you are supposed to listen for is more of a loud "THUD" and you can clearly tell that the pen has engaged.  I always worried I wouldn't know if it had truly worked or not since some people have said "you won't hear the click" and others have said "listen for the click".  There is no denying that loud "THUD" noise the pens make.  I even did a second one to be sure that was normal and what to expect.   My expired pens were the old Epi Pen Jr. design but I'm assuming the ones will work in a similar manner.  My lesson learned? PRACTICE! Get comfortable with them if you've never used one.  I have a higher level of confidence now that I have and I will be encouraging my husband to practice too.  

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Another successful meal out!

Last Saturday we had tickets to Rabbit Sense at the TaDa Theater.  We thought it would be nice to have dinner with friends and the kids afterwards.  For most families this simply entails finding a decent kid friendly place near the theater.   Not so for us. While I easily could have packed a meal for Alexa, she's getting older and 3 of her friends would be with us.  If we were going to eat out, I really wanted her to feel like a one of the group and not "special" but I also wanted her to be safe and to not have to stress about the food.  So my husband and I spent over an hour scouring the internet on separate laptops. The goal was to find a decent restaurant-not too pricey that would be safe for Alexa and great for the kids and grownups alike.  Now THAT is a tall order!  We looked at websites like http://www.allerdine.com, http://www.foodallergiestogo.com and finally http://allergicgirl.com.  On http://allergicgirl.com we found a note from a allergy Mom which talked about their great experience at Blue Smoke http://www.jazzstandard.net/blue/index.html.  Both of her children have nut allergies.  After looking at the location and food options we noticed they are kid friendly AND have a nut free menu! Fabulous! While Alexa has more allergies than just nuts, peanut and tree nuts are her most dangerous so I was please to find the nut free option.  We called ahead and talked to a manager who assured us they could accommodate our needs.  Bravo!!  After the show we headed down to Blue Smoke and Alexa was able to order off of the children's menu.  She had elbows with butter and mashed potatoes.  A bit of a carbo load but I'll take it!! Unfortunately, she wasn't able to eat their ice cream or any of the desserts because they all contain eggs but she took the news like a trooper and didn't cry or make a scene.  I promised her a cookie when she got home but she was so tired from all the excitement, she completely forgot.  All in all it was a very, very nice meal out and the first time we have eaten out as a family with friends and not brought a meal for her.  We really enjoyed it.  A big thank you our friends, AllergicGirl and Blue Smoke for a lovely evening out we will remember fondly for a very long time.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Even careful Allergy Moms can slip up....

It was my son Nicholas' 3rd birthday on Saturday.   Happy Birthday Nick!  On Friday I baked cupcakes for his school party.  I made a safe mix(well it had eggs but Alexa would not be eating them) and bought what I thought was safe frosting from Fresh Direct.   When my delivery arrived, I noticed that the frosting containers stated "made on the same equipment as tree nuts".  I called the school to see if this was ok for the nut allergic children in my son's class and it was.  So, I made the cupcakes and put the left over vanilla frosting in the fridge.  On Saturday morning-as I was racing around to prepare for Nick's party,  I asked Alexa if she wanted vanilla or chocolate frosting on her cupcake.  She asked for vanilla with sprinkles.  I frosted it and set it aside for the party then ran off to decorate and set up.  The party went great.  The kids enjoyed the clown/puppet guy and then we sang Happy Birthday and blew out the candles.  As I was cutting the cake and handing it out, I looked over at Alexa licking the frosting off her cupcake and first thought "oh, Lexi don't eat it like that" and then I FROZE and thought "oh NO! That's the WRONG frosting!"  For a moment I could not remember if it was "may contain" or "same equipment" as tree nuts.  I excused myself, whispered to my husband and ran upstairs to check.  Thankfully it was "same equipment" and I relaxed a little but had to watch her for the rest of the afternoon.  I was really kicking myself for making such a stupid mistake.  What if it was a "may contain" frosting?  I broke my own rules about having these items in the house and put her at risk.  Thankfully, it was a very small risk.  I now have my black sharpy pen on my counter and anytime anything comes in with "same equipment" or "may contain" it's marked with big black X so everyone, including a rushed Mommy,  remembers not to feed it to Alexa.  I made an exception to my own rules and learned a good lesson in the process.  CHECK YOUR LABLES every time, follow your rules and slow down.  I'm very thankful Alexa didn't get sick Saturday since she had a friend sleeping over and that would have really ruined it.   Perhaps after reading this post people will now understand why it is difficult to trust others with our allergic kids.  Even Allergy Mom's can slip up.....