The Time I Almost Killed My Child

peanut-free-cookies

I had been waiting on eggshells for this day to come. I’d been waiting since our son, Rory, was 6 months old and diagnosed with a peanut allergy. He was now 3, and I was still waiting. Until… I almost killed my child.

It was a Monday after work and I was shopping at Whole Foods in the gluten-free cookie area.  My husband and I were due to go out of town that Friday and my mom was flying in to take care of the kids.  I remember that I was exhausted.  I remember picking up a box of vanilla gluten-free cookies, flipping it over, and reading the ingredients.  The front of the box screamed “gluten-free!” and “soy-free!” and it appeared to be a company that cared about allergens in food.  The cookies had cream inside, which Rory had never had before and I thought would be a special treat for his grandmother to give him.  As I was walking away I noticed that the same cookies came in chocolate.  I grabbed a second box and threw them in the cart.

I did not read the ingredients in the chocolate.

Fast forward two days, 8 p.m. My two-year-old was up past her bedtime when Rory saw the box of cookies in the pantry.  He asked if he could have one and I said yes.  They came in a two-pack.  He said he wanted two because they came as two and I said, “So do my babies.  One for you, one for Moo.”  Emily was in a bad mood, took a tiny nibble and didn’t want it.  Rory snatched up the extra, so excited about eating a cookie with cream.  I took Emily to bed almost immediately so I was not in the room when Rory told his father, “This cream is spicy.”

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Forty minutes later Rory was watching cartoons on a computer in our bed.  He came to the top of the stairs to call down to us that he was itchy.  I took one look at him and nearly fainted.  The back of one knee looked like it had been attacked by fire ants.  I said to Andy, “Think.  Help me think.  What is new?  What did we just introduce to him?” and I remembered: the cookies.

I ran to the pantry, grabbed the box, and looked at the back.  There were 12 ingredients and hazelnuts were the 10th one. I knew in that moment that I’d never seen this list of ingredients.  I hadn’t even read the box.

We quickly double-dosed him with Benadryl and coated the hives in Benadryl cream.  Residue from the cookies must have been on his hands and he touched the back of his knee.  We threw him in the shower and washed his hair and skin.  I sat with him bundled up in a towel on my lap and apologized over and over; telling him Mommy fed him a bad cookie on accident. I was so sorry and it would never happen again.

My son breaks my heart into a thousand pieces sometimes. He said, “Mommy, I think I’m going to be OK with that cookie.”

His eyes were bloodshot so I put an antihistamine drop in them.  I asked if he could breathe and he said yes.  I asked him to take a deep breath and he did.  I asked him to show me his tongue and he did.  It looked fine.  My dinner was waiting downstairs, so Andy stayed in our bed to keep an eye on him as he watched cartoons.

I was downstairs eating when he started to cough. The hair on the back of my neck stood up as I listened.  Cough.  Cough.  Cough cough.  Cough cough.  Cough cough cough.  Cough cough cough cough cough–

“ANDY!”

“What?  I’m here with him.”

“But he’s coughing!”

“I know!”

I ran up the stairs.  They were sitting in the dark.  I flipped the lights on.  His eyes were swelling.  He was still coughing.

“We have to call 911,″ I said.  “Let’s find an EpiPen and call 911.  Bring him downstairs.”

Backstory:  We got an EpiPen prescription for Rory in 2011 when he was skin tested at an allergist.  The allergist had sent us home without the prescription despite his maximum allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, and cats, and serious allergies to egg, wheat, melon, grass, ragweed, and mold.  The mothers on the allergy board of BabyCenter insisted that I call the doctor’s office the next day.  When I did, I was told that it was the doctor’s policy to not prescribe anything of any kind for a patient unless that patient was going to sign up for a treatment plan.  I shouted, “Exactly what treatment plan does this doctor want a 16-month-old baby with a nut allergy to sign up for?”  Many threats later, the prescription was called into our pharmacy, which we then renewed through another doctor every year since.

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Rory was naked under a towel but Andy snatched him up and we went downstairs. I found the EpiPen.  I found Andy’s phone.

“Let’s put him the car,” Andy said.

“No.  We don’t have time for that.”  I didn’t even know how to get to a hospital; we had only lived there two months.  I dialed 911.

“911, What’s your emergency?”

My voice went shaky as the gravity of the moment hit me.  “I need to know whether I have to use an EpiPen on my child,” I told the operator.  She wanted my address, wanted my phone number, wanted to know how old he is and whether we needed an ambulance.  “YES I NEED AN AMBULANCE BUT DO I NEED TO USE THIS EPIPEN ON MY CHILD?” I pleaded.

“Ma’am, I can’t tell you that.  You need to calm down.  You need to do what your doctor would want you to do in this situation.”

Rory was now coughing to the point he was going to vomit.

“She would want me to use the EpiPen.”

“Then you need to do that, ma’am.  Stay on the phone with me.  Do not hang up.”

I told Andy, “She says we need to do it.  Do we really need to do this?  What if he’s going to be OK without it?”  I was afraid of the side effects of epinephrine.  I was afraid of the pain.  I was afraid of being the one to cause the pain.

Three firefighters came running up my stairs into the living room as we were getting clothes on Rory.

One firefighter pulled out a stethoscope and listened to his lungs.  He was wheezing.

“You’ve got to use the EpiPen,” he said.

Two paramedics ran up the stairs to my living room.  One was a female.  She was so warm, so caring.

She took my hands in hers.  “Mama, you’ve got to use this EpiPen,” she said.  “It has to be you.  You are scared and you need to do this because there will be a next time and next time you might not be where we could reach you. You have to learn to do this tonight.”

A police officer ran up the stairs into my living room.  There were now nine people in my tiny living room.

Rory was gagging.  I read the directions on the EpiPen for the 10th time.

A firefighter reached out his huge hands on Rory’s tiny thighs.  The paramedic held his torso.

I said, “One, two, three”  and tried to inject the EpiPen into his thigh.  I didn’t work.  I tried again.  It didn’t work.  I looked at the woman helplessly.  She took it from me, looked at it, and handed it to another paramedic.  He retracted the tip to reveal the needle and said there was no ejection; it would eject with the force of me hitting him with it.

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Jesus.  I knew that.  The pharmacist just told me about the redesign in January.  Thank God all of these people were here to help me think.

Now I was on autopilot.  “One.  Two.  Three.”  Slam.

Rory howled like I’d stabbed him with a knife.

“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.”  I pulled it out, threw it, and he leapt into my arms.  I was crushed.  I wrapped my arms around his skinny body and said I was sorry a dozen times.  This was worse than the time he tumbled out of his stroller onto the sidewalk when he was two weeks old.  This was worse than when he saw me give the dog away.  I was the worst mother of all time.

“Mommy, I don’t want another one of those!” he begged.  I promised him there would be no more of those, ever.

Andy came into his line of sight and Rory leapt from my arms to his.  The paramedics asked which hospital we wanted him taken to.  They asked if I could tell that his cough was not as tight now.  No, I could not tell.  The swelling was going down in his eyes, they said.  I could not tell.  He looked like he’d been in a fight.

“Do you like teddy bears, little guy?” they asked.  He nodded.  My sweet child.

They packed up the EpiPen and the box of cookies.  They packed Rory up into the ambulance.  They strapped him into a seat and handed him a bear, which he took and hugged.  Andy got in beside him.  I stood at the back of the truck peering in the windows on my tiptoes, crying.  No one knew I was there.  They drove away and I came back in the house, sat on the stairs and cried.  I called my mom.

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What if, what if, what if?  What if we were gone to California and Rory asked my mom for those cookies and this whole thing happened on her watch, alone?  What would she have done?  How far would it have gone?  What if he’d fallen asleep before it set in?  What if he wasn’t coughing?  What if she didn’t hear him?  What if he suffocated from anaphylaxis in his sleep?

Andy texted at midnight to say that they were staying until morning. I finally fell asleep and woke at 4 a.m., then relived the entire thing all over again.

Emily and I picked them up at seven in the morning.  I called to let Andy know that we were outside of the emergency room.  A moment later the double doors opened and out walked my husband with my tiny, beat-up child beside him.  I drove them home.

Andy said that the cookies were on a shelf in their hospital room and that as they were getting ready to leave Rory asked, “Hey Daddy, can I have those cookies?”

As I got Rory out of the car he said, “Mommy, I want to go to the spiral slide.”

“Sure Bub, anything you want.  Daddy will take you to the spiral slide.”

He gave me a stern look and said, “Mommy, you hurt me with that EpiPen.”  A knife to my heart; I can’t believe he even knew the name “EpiPen” now.

Three hours later they went to the spiral slide and Rory wanted to go to school.  Andy didn’t ask me what I thought–   I would have voted against it.  The kid was just in the ER for crying out loud.  Ultimately, due to the remaining events of the day, I was glad that I did not get a vote.

I spent the entire morning holed up in my office, trying not to cry, talking to the moms on the BabyCenter food allergy board.  Two of them pointed me to the same website, Kids With Food Allergies.  One of them said, “You have to read the After The EpiPen section.”

I try, these days, to listen to the universe speak to me.  I knew I needed to follow up on what they were saying.  I loaded the site and saw the anaphylaxis section.  I clicked, but the site wanted me to register to use it.  Forget that, I closed it out.  I’m not going to register to use a website.  A minute later I remembered the universe, went back again and registered.

I read the section.  There were hundreds of stories over the last several years about EpiPen experiences but the one my eye went right to said, “Every time the medicine wore off the allergic reaction came back.”

What the what?  The reaction can come back when the steroid and epinephrine wear off.  It can be worse or it can be different, and the doctor didn’t tell Andy that.  I picked up the phone to call him.

“The reaction can come back.  He can relapse when the meds wear off.”

“Tell the school,” he said.  “You have to warn them.”

I composed an email to the director explaining what I’d just read.  I assured her it was not the norm.  I told her the signs of anaphylaxis that we’d observed the night before so she would be on high alert.  I explained that the EpiPen had been redesigned.  It was intuitive to try to eject it but it doesn’t work that way anymore.  Andy had already given him a dose of Benadryl but I asked her to dose him again right then.  She said she couldn’t give Benadryl without doctor orders if symptoms were not present–  it was state law.  I had Andy fax the doctor orders over.  She called me to say that they were not signed.  She could not allow it.  Rory was about to go down for a nap.  She assured me he was acting normally and that she would keep an eye on him.

At 2:30 the school called to say that Rory was awfully itchy.  Andy took off immediately to go get him.

Minutes later I was in the ladies room washing my hands, reaching for a paper towel.  The assistant burst through the bathroom door and said, “Robyn, your son had another episode.  His school is on the phone.”  I ran.  The receptionist transferred the call up to the closest desk.

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They had EpiPen’d him again.  The paramedic got on the phone.  They wanted to know where to take him.  “Take him right back to Children’s Hospital,” I said.  His tongue was swollen.

I ran to the car.  I called Andy to change directions.  “Go to Children’s,” I said.  “He’s in an ambulance.”

We raced.

I called the school again.  Was he stable?  Was he speaking?  Did he seem like he was going to be ok?

A wreck on the highway held me up 10 minutes, of all the days.  I called my brother and wailed.  I was going to kill my child.  This was entirely my fault.  He was going to die from this.  For a second I pictured our family without my son in it.  My heart.

I pulled up to the ER and parked.  The ER doors were at 2 o’clock.  An ambulance pulled up to the emergency entrance at 10 o’clock.  I looked back and forth between the doors as I approached the building.

My child is in that ambulance, I thought.  Nonsense.  He had to be here already with how long it took me to get here.  My child is in that ambulance.  No, that’s not possible.  Regardless, I began to sprint across the parking lot in high heels toward the ambulance as a paramedic walked around its corner with Rory in his arms, hugging another bear.

“That must be your mommy,” he said.

Rory recoiled.  “I want Daddy.”

I laughed through my tears.  “Well, Bub, you’re going to have to settle for chopped liver right now.”

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The paramedics told the ER nurse that Rory was exposed to a food allergen for a second time.  I had to interrupt and assure them that was impossible.  It seems that on the ambulance ride Rory told the paramedics he “…found a bad cookie in Daddy’s car and ate it,” and they believed him.

Andy arrived and the school director was in the lobby waiting to hear that Rory was going to be okay.  I went to speak with her and what she said has me firmly convinced that she saved his life.  He’d woken from his nap with itchy ankles, at which time they called me and I said Andy was on his way.  She dosed him with Benadryl and watched him.  He asked for help in putting away his nap mat because other children were still sleeping on the floor.  He then began to tell her about how he flew around outside, and how much he loved paper clips.

She knows my child.  He doesn’t speak nonsense.  This was not like him.  She grabbed the list of anaphylactic symptoms.  Euphoria and confusion were at the top–  I didn’t even know this.  Andy would not have known this.  She pulled him into her office with the EpiPen and asked if he was alright.  He began to cough.  His eyes immediately swelled out and blackened.  She pulled him into a hug and slammed the pen into his thigh.

Within seconds the swelling was gone.  He was normal.  He was able to speak to her.

What if he’d been at home?  How far would it have gone?  What if he’d been asleep?  What if he died?

Rory was admitted for 24 hours.  The next morning I dropped off my mother to relieve Andy.  I was telling Rory that I had to go to work and he held up two wrists with a most serious little face, flashed his hospital bands and sang out, “Power to the rescue rings!”

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After a very rough weekend, it was Monday evening before Rory was off the steroids and back to his semi-sweet self.  He was back in our bed, watching cartoons, when I went up to fetch a blanket.  He said, “Hey, come here. I’m gonna give you a kiss.”  I leaned in for a smooch and he said, “I wuv you.”

I melted.  He couldn’t have known how much his mother needed to hear those words.

It’s going to be a long time before I’m over this, if ever, really.  I spent the next week feeling like I had post traumatic stress disorder and I was the one that caused the trauma.  Don’t tell me I saved his life.  Don’t tell me I did the right thing at the right time with the EpiPen and the ambulance.  I can’t even hear those words.  The truth is that I was tired and I didn’t read the ingredients on a box of cookies and I damn near killed my child.  That’s a fact.  This is going to take a while.

About the writer

Robyn divides her time between wondering where those 30 points of IQ snuck off to after the birth of her first child and silently judging parents who let their kids eat red dye #40.

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Jessica 4 months ago

I know that feeling that guilt, your mistake your actions almost cost you your child, you almost paid the highest price for human error, But if you haven’t now is the time to let go of the guilt forgive yourself, look at your lil child and know you done everything you could after to right your mistake and more if you included the many nights you replayed it an relived it an beat yourself up for it, for me my faith was a massive factor an I only started to get over my mistake when someone reminded me that the whole time the whole situation was always in gods safe hands xx

Stacy Steward 5 months ago

Just last week I had a similar experience. Unfortunately for us, we had been through serious reactions before. Over a year ago, my then 2 year old almost died after drinking milk from someone else’s sippy cup. At that time, I was strong, even headed and knew exactly what to do. Last week, I simply didn’t read the ingredients. While it was a milder reaction, it was still anaphylaxis. While the ER doctors and nurses were getting him hooked up to an IV and he was crying from the shots, I was a blubbering mess because I knew that it was all my fault….

Alicia 6 months ago

Robyn every parent gets tired by lord I do I’ve two of the most beautiful children a mother could have, but you made a honest mistake. I would have done exactly the same thing in the food store if one has nothing in then the other would be fine. Your a good mum/ mom sorry I’m a Brit, anyway my point is if your were a bad mum you wouldn’t feel your heart break through his pain. You wouldn’t give a damn hurting him for the greater good I cryed giving my boy eyedrops. As we say time heals and in time the pain of the event subsides, if you hadn’t done what you did and call the school…..well don’t even imagine it. All I see is a success story, yes the circumstances were life and death but you prevented him a early death and your world can keep going round. Honestly there should be more mums like you XXX.

Kristi 7 months ago

Food allergies are scary, emotional things. I’m thankful everyday that it’s myself and not my child that has severe nut allergies. It causes such anxiety just being out in public sometimes. Ten times longer shopping, no eating out, leaving places because someone takes out a random peanut butter sandwich in a waiting room. Give yourself credit for all the hard work you do do to keep him safe. It is far from easy.

Two’s Mom 7 months ago

I had tears in my eyes reading this story.

What an awesome mama you are………YOU ARE!! Please believe it.

I pray that you have no more moments as terrifying as those sounded.

Andrea 7 months ago

Thank you for writing this. Growing up I had all types of food allergies. So Benadryl was always with me. Since my allergies to a while before becoming life threatening I was never prescribed anything for them, but have been in the ER a few times. Then when I had my son, he had an allergic reaction to the hepB vaccine. I almost lost it. So far he’s allergic to certain preservatives in foods so everything has to be home cooked. But I still watch everything he touches and tries. He’s going on 3 and have postponed his vaccines until I get him tested again to see what else he may be allergic to.

You’re also braver than I am. When my son was only a 5 months old he was partially choking on something. The only thing I was able to do was yell for help and watch. And this was after I had taken a infant, teen and adult CPR course.

Jennifer 9 months ago

As I read this, I tried to imagine if this had happened to my little one, and if I would have done the same things. As I put myself in your shoes, I literally bawled my eyes out. Hopefully some day you can forgive yourself, as I can assure you Rory has already. It just makes sense to me to assume that if one of their flavors of cookies is allergen-free, then they all would be. That’s a mistake I’ve made in buying things for my own food allergies.

Jenn 9 months ago

WOW!!! How scary. By the grace of God my children are not allergic to anything but my daughter who is now 18 had tracheaomylaysha (still can not spell it right).Basically an extra flap of skin in her trachea. I remember the first time she couldn’t breathe. I was so scared, it was like a freight train of thoughts was running through my head, I couldn’t complete a sentence let alone a thought. So I know that split second moment when it hits you This might be the last time I hold my baby in my ARMS. Finally she started to breath as she had her breathing treatment and what seemed like an eternity later 911 finally got to our home. Over her first five years she used all her energy to breathe so she was always so tiny. Eventually she got sick less and less and was able to live a basically normal life. She learned her symptoms and what she could and couldn’t do. I know that soon your little man will be able to do the same but you ass I did will still worry every second he is out of your sight. Like I said she is now 18 but is still so tiny she weighs less than 100 pounds like 95 and is 5 foot 3 at the tallest. When I read about you little man I woke my daughter up and said Did I tell you today how much I loved you? She looked at the clock which read 1;30 am and said nope not yet and laughed as I reached down and hugged her tight. I told her about your story and mentioned that I was going to tell you about how strong she was. She looked up at me and said. ” I was strong because you were always right by my side showing me how to be.” No matter how old she gets her sweet comments will always make me cry. Sorry I rambled on…Your story touched my heart and helped me learn that even though I had to be the “bad guy” like you did when you gave the Epi pen shot it is not what they will remember it is you being right by his side that he will carry with him. GOD BLESS YOU!!!

Brittany 9 months ago

This made me cry!! I’ve had a near death experience with my son just last year, he got into something while I was using the bathroom. He lost consciousness, an ambulance was called ride to the hospital the whole shabang….Still to this day, I cannot tell that story without crying, your post made me cry because it brought back memories….I understand accidents (no reading the cookie box) happen, they do and they do, in time you can except that. I’m not going to tell you your going to “feel better” or “get over it” you may never will, I still haven’t and I don’t know if I ever will. Next time your son smiles at you or tells you he loves you, remind yourself that he’s still here BECAUSE of you and your husband…. God bless, your post pulled at my heart strings more than I even could have imagine. (This is my first time commenting on someone’s blog btw)

Tanya 10 months ago

My child doesn’t even have allergies, but I’m sitting here at 7:46 crying in complete sympathy for you. Thank you for sharing. One can only hope that you never go through this again. Maybe the fact that you shared this weekend of suffering with the world will keep another child safe. With best wishes and thoughts for you and that baby boy!

stef 10 months ago

I’m not a mom, but I stumbled upon this and thought I’d tell you another side of the story to make you feel better. I had severe allergies and allergy related asthma as a small child I’ve (mostly) outgrown at the age of 22. There have been 2 occasions in which I’ve had to be hospitalized due to an attack. Once I was 3, and I don’t really remember it well, but the other time I was 8 and that I do remember. We had repainted the bathroom early that day, and my mother had sent me to take a bath before bed, as the instructions said she could do. The steam from the bath brought out the vapors, and I then went to bed. I stopped breathing in my sleep. I shared a room with my older sister Jessica and when she got out of the bath she turned the light on to get dressed and noticed my lips were blue. My mother never forgot that and was constantly asking me about any coughing, rashes, anything. I never blamed her for anything except not letting me leave the hospital to go on a field trip the next day. I survived just fine and so did your son. He’s not gonna be mentally or emotionally scarred by this. It will be ok, and you’ll be more careful from now on.

Teresa 10 months ago

You are a superhero Mama, I hope I can be as strong as you if I ever need to be. Hugs to all of us we are the only ones that truly know how it feels. I wish that we weren’t part of this club.

Eileen Atkinson 11 months ago

First, I learned several things I did not know about shock symptoms and epipens. Thank you. I can go into anaphylactic shock from sulfur in supplements, drugs, etc. and I had a severe reaction when I was stung by [at least] 21 yellow jackets when I stepped on their nest in the ground. What saved me at that time was I had taken an antibiotic and an antihistamine about an hour before the stings I had symptoms bad enough even so that I went to the doctor and now carry an epipen. I can relate with the tired and making a mistake, not reading labels closely and having things happen. It was a mistake, repeat mistake and you handled it all better than I think I could have. Like the Kristen May whose child fell into the pool and she just stood there …. I would not know what to do and likely would freeze. I’m happy for you and your family that all tuned out so well. How precious is the time we have with our family.

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Noel Lucas 11 months ago

I think it’s the anonymity factor. A regular reader feels like a part of a community, and therefore, even if they disagree, they’d be more inclined to do so civilly.

Gigi 12 months ago

Don’t sweat it! I know it’s horrible now but I am 36, multiple, horrible food allergies and you know the leader board in poisoning me? 1. Me 2. My Mom 3. My Dad. Just be prepared and you’ll be fine. I’m helped multiple friends with kids with allergies come up with plans on how to deal with it at all ages. Seriously, I could write a book on how to survive it. I know parents want to just try to do it all themselves but as soon as your son can read, get him involved. My 8 year old buddy Jim is allergic to peanuts and is amazing. He never eats anything at school that doesn’t come from his “special stash” and I don’t think there is one kid in that classroom with him that even realizes he’s allergic. He won’t eat baked goods or treats that come in for birthdays so he offers to help pass stuff out and then pulls something from his stash. If anyone asks him, he just says he can’t eat “That stuff” and changes the topic. He’s my best student. No bullying, nothing. Seriously, if you need tips, let me know. I’ve been doing this for 30 some odd years and I’m still alive to tell the tale. I travel, I eat recklessly, I have friends who have called “dibs” on injecting me with epi-pens. I really do think I owe it all to my parents for always just treating it like a mild inconvenience and making me responsible for it at a very young age.

chill 12 months ago

OMG, what an incredible story. Thank you for sharing and I’m glad it all turned out okay. My daughter has an allergy to tree nuts (mostly cashews). This is my first experience with any serious allergy and it really makes me nervous, especially now that we live in a different country where allergies are not typical.

Amber 12 months ago

You’re story hit close to home for me. My son, whose 12, has had allergies to milk and egg all his life. This past year he was given more tests for allergies and we were cleared to introduce milk back into his diet. Fast forward to a month ago. He ate pizza and then went swimming. 15 minutes into swimming he started to cough, gag, swell, itch. I was frightened because he hadn’t had an episode this bad in a decade. Rushed him to the doctor. My son now has a new diagnosis. Exercise induced anaphylaxis. It’s a real thing and kinda rare. My son is fine now. We know he has to watch what he eats before and after exercising. But I had never heard of such a thing and now it’s my mission to educated others on the danger.

The Madness of Mommyhood 12 months ago

It is difficult to be the parent of a child who has a special diet. My child has a gluten allergy. I am so thankful that she won’t die from coming into contact with it like a child with a peanut allergy. I can’t imagine how scary it would be to send your child to school not knowing if someone packed a PBJ in their child’s class and by some freak accident – that child comes into contact with it.

Elizabeth Fritz M. Tucker 12 months ago

Thank you for sharing your story, I personally know how terrifying anaphylaxis can be. There are many educational resources available to help you be prepared to recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis and to treat anaphylaxis. There are also coupons available that can help tremendously with the out of pocket cost of EpiPen. This link will help point you in the right direction.
https://www.epipen.com/copay-offer/

nikki 12 months ago

I can’t imagine having my kiddos have that type of allergy :( what you have to do daily to keep your kids safe is exhausting just thinking about it. I take it for granted that I don’t have to do that. Bless you and take all the time you need to move on. Thank you for sharing and opening my eyes!

Diana 12 months ago

I can’t imagine how scared you were. My kids have no known allergies, but I became suddenly allergic to tree nuts six years ago. In the car. An hour from home. With my 8-week old son in the back seat. Thankfully, we made it home ok & I was able to control the reaction with Benadryl, but I was scared by the time I got there with my throat itchy, my gums swelling, & hives from my ears to my boobs. I knew I was loopy but I couldn’t help it & I just kept talking myself through the motions of getting home. It never occurred to me til after that I should’ve pulled over & had someone come get us. Now I have to watch EVERYTHING. I had a bad reaction at Thanksgiving that scared me because I was pregnant & it required more Benadryl than I usually take. Accidents happen, momma. You will probably never make this same mistake again. You will never unlearn what you’ve learned to watch for. You had support there to help you so that if you are alone, you’ll know what to do. Hugs to you!

Amelia 12 months ago

I am a food allergy mom. One day I gave my son a taffy without even thinking about the fact that it has egg whites. Thank G-d, he did not react (we think he’s outgrowing his egg allergy), but I was crying that entire night, horrified at what I’d done. We are not perfect parents. We make mistakes, but as moms we don’t forgive ourselves. I pray that the done comes soon when we can find a true cure for food allergies so our children will be safe.

Donna Van Leusden Riguidel 12 months ago

I have had an anaphylactic reaction and I say this as someone that felt my throat closing and struggling to breathe – there is no side-effect to the EpiPen that is worse than that feeling. Don’t question it. Do it as soon as you need to. They’ll get over the pinch of the needle and the weird feels that follow, but anything is better than the panic of realizing you are going to suffocate.

Whitney 12 months ago

Hi Robyn,
You need to be kinder to yourself, my dear. I should say up front that I don’t have kids of my own and do have an anaphylactic soy allergy (developed on 6/809). The key phrase in all this is “almost”. You did NOT kill your child and I guarantee you will never make the same mistake again. I did this to myself, when I was away from home on business. I took all the proper precautions in regard to the boxed lunch, except someone tried to be nice and packaged my “me safe” sandwich with a cookie. I didn’t ask for the ingredients on the cookie, I just ate it (good cookie, btw, but not THAT good). Half an hour later, I started losing my voice. My brain froze and I kept saying I would be fine; didn’t need the EpiPen or ER. Fortunately, calmer heads prevailed and I was stuck with my EpiPen for the very fist time in my life while racing to the hospital. There I was, in the ER, couldn’t talk, having trouble breathing and all I could think about was not getting to say goodbye to my beloved hubby or family. The story had a happy ending, and I take steroids for the five days following an attack because I rebounded after allergy testing. I understand why you’re beating yourself up, but you need to stop. You made a mistake. We all do. Now we both know to use the EpiPen at the beginning of the reaction and not wait. And I will tell you, the shot, while not pleasant, is less painful than getting an ear pierced. Hurts for a few minutes, then is fine. Rubbing the site longer than required seems to help. Hang in there!!

bug 12 months ago

Do you have a link you could post to the anaphylactic symptoms in your original post? I haven’t seen “nonsense talk” on the list before — that’s really good to know.

Amanda ‘Madi’ Ryder 12 months ago

I have three children, my son is the only one who has food allergies. Peanuts, corn and eggs are the worst. I am terrified that they can get worse at any time. I am very thankful for our schools being peanut free! These allergies are no joke!

Samantha Dyvig-Rothschell 12 months ago

Considering that I myself am allergic, no. I’m not annoyed in the least. I would NEVER wish anaphylactic shock on anyone — especially a child, and it floors me that anyone could be annoyed by someone else’s disability! It is the most terrifying experience of my life alongside hypothermia. I mean, imagine your entire face swelling up like a balloon and not being able to breathe. That is exactly what happens, and this is what being in the ER about to be injected with an IV looks like (oh, and by the way, that’s not even to actually eating peanuts; it’s to eating a cookie from a bakery that touched another cookie that had peanut butter in it):

Erin 12 months ago

Why the pill form? Liquids are much faster acting.

Erin 12 months ago

Yeah, you got to love it when people with set of special needs are completely ignorant of other special needs.

Erin 12 months ago

Tricia Loomis Oostema, let’s be clear about something — really clear. It is NOT almost like having PTSD. Nothing is “like” having PTSD. I may not know what it’s like to have a child with a life-threatening allergy, but you don’t know what PTSD is like. You might be terrified at what happened, you might play it over in your mind, you might even have nightmares about it. But a couple of symptoms is NOT PTSD. Please let’s not make it sound as if they are. I’m sure you wouldn’t appreciate me comparing your chil’s life-threatening food allergy to that time when my ice cream didn’t agree with my stomach and I got the runs. It’s not the same. It’s not even in the same universe. Neither is your comparison to PTSD.

Erin 12 months ago

I am so sorry for what you and your son went through. And while I’m blessed tjat my daughter has no food allergies, I do have a life-threatening allergy. Fortunately, it’s to a medication, so I don’t have to check food labels and watch what food I bring into the house or avoid eating food at parties. So, the truth is, I don’t *get* it. I’ll never really understand.

Just like you will never understand what PTSD is like. I’m sure you run into people all the time who make off-the-cuff comments that they don’t mean anything by, but because of your son’s health issues, you find insensitive, patronizing or otherwise offensive. Unfortunately, your comment about feeling like you had PTSD for a week comes off thst way as well. I’d LOVE to just have had a week of PTSD (just like I imagine you’d LOVE to only have to deal with your son’s allergy issues for a single week).

But it doesn’t work that way. The insomnia, the night terrors, the hyper-vigilance, the flash backs, the unbridled agression towards people I love, the paranoia, the NINE different medications I have to take every day to function innthis world, the inability to work or drive a car, the loss of friends and loved ones, the loss of sense of self, the guilt, the shame, the visits to psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, ERs. Being constantly afraid and on high alert. Being unable to sleep in one’s own bed for over a year. Spilling coffee on myself because a car backfired. Cowering in my seat at a baseball game because i hadnt known there were going to be fireworks. Wondering which is worse: the flashback or the embarassment of freezing on the sidewalk, shazing and crying, and habing everyone stsre at you like you’re a freak.

This is what PTSD looks like EVERY DAY for me, and for others who suffer from it. It’s not going away in a week or a month or a year. (Heck, it’s not even PTSD until after a month; until then it’s acute stress disorder.) You worry what it’s like to have accidentally killed your child. I had a pedestrian (who couldn’t be seen because he was crouched in front of an obstruction) step in front of my car while I was doing 55 mph on a highway. I KNOW what it’s like to accidentally kill someone.

I do inderstand how serious food allergies are. But in your attempt to convey that, you’ve managed to severely diminish the hell that is PTSD.

Debora 12 months ago

Sadly, sometimes PB&J is the ONLY option in the cupboard when money is tight. I’ve been there. You cannot let your child go to school hungry. However, if there isn’t an alternative, you CAN send a note so that the teacher is aware that this lunchbox is not nut-free and precautions can be taken so that a child with allergies is not endangered by it.

Debora 12 months ago

Thank you for posting this. I do not have a child with severe food allergies. I needed to see this.

Lindsey Ann Karl 12 months ago

Made me cry

Heidi Yost-Marquardt 12 months ago

Yep. Pray, pray, pray we can avoid this. Why I’m so pushy, obnoxious, and obsessed.

Kelly M. Biagioli 12 months ago

This is my worst nightmare. I remember when I got the epipen for James when he was 5 months old and I asked the pharmacist how to use it. He explained and then noticed the birthday. How old? He said. 5 months I say. Try not to EVER need to use this was his best advice. I’m terrified of someone not noticing symptoms when I’m not around. Oh and sobbing from the article!!!!

Lori Kellar 12 months ago

I always tell parents who think I’m being dramatic (I see the eye rolling) or a little ‘over the top’ when I ask them if there’s nuts in the treat they are providing for the class (or similar situation)that maybe we should let their child run around with knives. It’s the same thing. You don’t want to put your child’s life at risk? Neither do I!!

Lori Kellar 12 months ago

I also am a mom of a child with peanut/cashew allergies. We also had a close call when he was four years old. Same situation. I bought a bag of Dads oatmeal cookies, didn’t read right to the bottom of the ingredients (and I’m always very careful). But the honest truth is, in that moment, chasing three kids around, I got careless. He had half of one cookie and said the very same thing. That the cookie tasted spicy. Within minutes, (no hives, no itching) he was doubled over in severe pain. We live minutes from a hospital so I whipped him over there and within 15 minutes he was foaming at the mouth and lungs were filling with fluid. Thank The Lord for their quick action that day or my son wouldn’t be here today. He is 10yrs old now but still remembers the pain from that day and even he reads labels now. As a mother we have to be so diligent about every tiny detail. Not just reading labels but questioning every single menu, classroom treats brought in by other parents or staff, birthday parties and sleepovers, etc. one really important thing I’ve have learned is that the current epi-pen you have now is good until it’s best before date. Last years epi-pen will also have some life saving value in it if it was stored properly for the year. (Look at the colour, if it’s not completely yellow it still has some value). But I even save the epi-pens from the third year and when they are yellow (we get two for each year), we practice with them on an orange. That way we know what to expect when and if we have to use it. Something else a lot of people don’t know is that an epi-pen will only sustain them for 15 minutes. If there’s not a paramedic there by then administering epinephrine another epi-pen will have to be injected.

Michelle Cool Beans Alicki 12 months ago

My daughter is in a nut and peanut free pre school. I am definitely double checking labels and watching what I put in her lunch.

Alicia Gray 12 months ago

I can’t even imagine having a child with a life-threatening allergy. I worry enough about head bumps, coughs and fevers. This article made me cry. How terrifying. I sympathize with anyone who has to worry about this on a daily basis, but know, I’m a second grade teacher, I’ve had kids like yours in my class; and I’m trained and ready to use an Epipen if needed.

Megan Bullock Jenkins 12 months ago

I will never complain about accomodating another child’s specific needs again…I can’t even imagine!

Keely Roden Lockhart 12 months ago

Terrifying! My heart goes out to you and your family. What an awful ordeal. I hope over time you forgive yourself and can let it go, you are clearly a wonderful mother.

Terrie Elizabeth 12 months ago

Jordan Baker, im a real live honest to god scientist. When I asked that question, it was not to shake the mentally ill antivaxxers out of the trees. Something is causing the rise, but it isn’t vaccines, which dont cause autism either. If you knew anything about H. Influenzae B, the bacteria this vac protects against, you would be more scared of it than a vaccination.

Melissa Joyce 12 months ago

yeah my autistic kid is somewhat picky and thank god our schools are not nut free because i would go insane

Jordan Baker 12 months ago

The Hib vaccine, introduced to the 2-month vaccination schedule in 1990.

Jordan Baker 12 months ago

From the start of the cough to the point my living room was filled with paramedics and he was given the EpiPen was about 4 minutes.

Believe me, I kick myself too. I would never wait even a second now.

Adina 12 months ago

I know a little of what you feel. My 2 year old fell off of a kitchen stool after I told him to get down. He ended up breaking his arm catostrophically and will have to have at least one more surgery to fix it because it healed wrong the first time. :(. I was a mess for months. If only I had physically removed him myself, if only I had been a little meaner about him getting off the stool before he could fall. His arm is still crooked and I blame myself ALL the time. I’m not sure I’ll ever be right.

Nashay Robinson 12 months ago

This article brought tears to my eyes.

Stephanie Fuhrmann 12 months ago

This is kind of a side comment, but I think has it’s own relevance. Has anyone heard of alternatives for the EpiPen? My friends got an Auvi-Q for their daughter, and love it. It’s an ephinedrine injector, and they love it because it’s supposed to be easier to use and less painful. It has a testing one in the box so you can practice before hand and literally talks you through it. Hearing that mom describe reading the instructions over and over (which takes precious time), and then describe having to slam it into her son’s leg made me wince, so I thought I’d bring it up. (And no I’m not a salesperson LOL). It just seems like if there’s something out there that could make that horrible situation a little less confusing or painful, would be worth looking into. My friends did, and are grateful.

sarah Smith 12 months ago

You are incredibly strong. I had to administer an epipen to a 4yr old girl in my class. She’d never had an anaphylactic reaction before, so was totally unprepared. She took a week to speak to me in class, but recovered physically overnight x

Heather Carr 12 months ago

My 6 yr old son has a buddy that has a nut allergy. They have a NON PEANUT table in the lunch room for all the children who share the nut allergy. One afternoon he asked me “Mom, what would happen to him if he did eat one?” Now, I don’t lie to my kids. I am very point blank, and I told him. I received a call from his school the next day stating that he went around and took the food from the other kids that could possibly have peanuts in it just so his buddy wouldn’t go through that. Yes, I offered to pay any parent for the food he pitched. No, I did not punish my child for this. I simply explained that he shouldn’t throw away food, but maybe sit next to his buddy and keep an eye on who has what around him. Lets try and teach our children to care for one another instead of giving them our skewed views on the world. Please also note that my 10 yr old daughter punched a bully and I didn’t punish her either 😉 yeah….I’m THAT mom.

Tricia Hagerty DiSandro 12 months ago

There needs to be some sort of change in FDA regulations for food packaging that CLEARLY marks food items that contain allergens.

Cigarettes have clear warnings. Why not food we feed our children??

I am so glad your son is okay. Please be good to yourself. We are with our children more than anyone else. We hurt them accidentally once in a while and we feel terrible about it. We’ve all done it.

Tsu Dho Nimh 12 months ago

April write: “I was frustrated with how hesitant and scared she was to use the epipen. It is not that big of a deal.”

The allergist should have had her practice with the dummy pens and walk through the scenarios where it would be used when she was calm, when it was just theoretical. And do it with her child so he isn’t blind-sided by it.

Jen 12 months ago

Thank you for posting. I know it had to been tough. Thank you for the info on the epipen redesign. My nephew is allergic to tree nuts and even with my recent first aid training i ddn’t know so having the info i can let my sister know.

Tsu Dho Nimh 12 months ago

I accidentally injected myself with an Epi-Pen while trying to inject a flailing, convulsing child with inadequate help. The mom couldn’t bring herself to do it, and was alternately panic-stricken and trying to help or interfere. We took her incoherent shrieks to be verbal consent. I missed the kid’s thigh and got the muscle at the base of my thumb.

Dang, those things HURT! It’s right up there with a wasp sting, although it doesn’t last as long.

But … if your child has this severe a reaction – especially any signs of breathing being affected and tongue swelling, don’t wimp out! Just DO IT and do it fast. I think there are practice injectors now, so you can get a feel for what it takes.

As a first aid measure – what you do as soon as you see the anaphylaxis starting – it’s priceless. It buys you time until the EMTs get there with O2 and IV antihistamines and stuff. Without the Epi-Pen, the child will continue to get worse until it takes three or four doses to deal with it, or hospitalization and IV antihistamines and such.

Part of Rory’s shock and indignation was that he had no warning. BEFORE THIS HAPPENS: Be honest with your child about the Epi-Pen as soon as they are old enough to understand allergies and “bad food”. Tell them “If I ever have to do this, yes, it will hurt like a bee sting for a little bit, but it’s what stops the allergy from stopping you from breathing.”

I have seen one older child (9 or 10) inject himself … He muttered “oh shit, I don’t want to do this” and just did it.

Sue Pletka Crain 12 months ago

This story was heart wrenching and although I do not know you, I’m so thankful and praise God your son survived! My son has a minor peanut allergy – I say minor because at this point, it does not seem to be a life threatening allergy like most peanut allergies. My confusion at our new school is that although my children’s classrooms are allergy free – one is peanut only, the other is tree nuts and peanuts, but the lunch room serves PB&J sandwiches every day of the week. Every class table has an end that has 4 chairs of that state peanut free, but if some kids are eating peanut butter and it gets on their hands and they touch another child’s desk, person, or pencil, couldn’t that cause a hue problem for a child with a severe allergy? Also, I was eating lunch with my child one day and noticed one of his classmates sitting in the peanut free area eating peanut butter – I made him move and then found a worker to clean the table area before the next class came in. It scared me for another child. I used to say my daughter would starve without peanut butter, but seeing another parent struggle with the possibility of losing their child would break my heart!

Melissa 12 months ago

I held my breath the entire time reading that…. I found myself FINALLY breathing a sigh of relief after I was done. ALL moms feel this kind of guilt (maybe not to this extreme). You’re a good mom!!! Never forget that.

Dawn 12 months ago

I know this cough all too well. I had it happen to my daughter when she was 1.5 – she is 3 now. Your story brought back so many memories and just broke my heart into pieces. God Bless you for sharing your pain! I am giving you a great big hug right now. Never second guess your actions that day. Each and every step of our journey is for a purpose. <3 <3

“ANDY!”
“What? I’m here with him.”
“But he’s coughing!”
“I know!”

Chris Masiello 12 months ago

I am a lunch lady. We pay attention to all allergies, not just nuts. Our biggest allergy now is soy. Parents do not realize that soy is in so many products. I feel bad telling a child they cannot have the chicken nuggets bc of their soy allergy. Or making them change to juice bc they are allergic to milk. I do feel for the children, but parents need to review menus and teach their children what they can have from the lunchline if they are not taking a home packed meal. All allergy information is only a phone call or computer click away.

Carrie Ingramm 12 months ago

Also curious what is a safe alternative to pb&j. IS sunflower butter OKAY?? My kids eat pb&j daily but we are heading into a nut free co-op. Thanks!!

Toni Sawyers 12 months ago

There’s no allergies in our house but I keep them in mind as I never would want my child to feel responsible for their friend to have such an experience.

Erika Hranicky 12 months ago

This made me cry! You did absolutely everything you could do, and should not beat yourself up. All we can do is our best, and sometimes things still happen. There will always be what-ifs in life, but you can’t focus on them. You can learn from them, you can make a plan from them, but you cannot focus on them and cause even more self-blame. Your baby knows you love him, and now you know that in that situation, you know what to do, what to watch for, and are capable of doing it again. That’s what you need to take away from this.
Sweet mama, just keep,doing your best and loving on those babies of yours!

Alicia Holz 12 months ago

With the only protein my daughter eats being peanut butter the principal said it was ok for her to bring it as a mom who’s son has epilepsy I’m dreading him going to school I can’t imagine how peanut mom’s feel..

Aviva Comet Hoback 12 months ago

And I used an epi-pen when she was a year.

April Sumner 12 months ago

I was frustrated with how hesitant and scared she was to use the epipen. It is not that big of a deal. I could care less if the shot hurts him, if he needs it to save his life I am doing it in a heartbeat. I feel for this mom, but man up. Big time.

Stacy Johnson Henry 12 months ago

I teach in an autism classroom and understand completely about the struggle with children who are pathologically stubborn about food choice. It is REALLY hard if peanut butter is all they eat. I totally understand. But it simply isn’t a choice. People with peanut allergies can DIE. Your child won’t die from not eating much lunch, and you can eventually train them to eat other things. It is tough but you HAVE to do it and you really need to not complain about it. If the allergic child was your child, you would expect the same. You expect people to understand and accommodate for your special needs child…..consider the allergic child the and way. (and i don’t believe we can argue that a child has a RIGHT a peanut butter sandwich…rights do where they infringe on the rights of others)

Danielle 12 months ago

When my daughter was two, my husband and I were going away for a long weekend for our anniversary and I was getting things ready for my parents who were spending the weekend with the kids. I set my son’s Ritalin as well as the kids vitamins and other meds that may be needed on the table next to my daughter who was sitting on a chair while I went to the restroom. I came back and the bottle was open (still not sure how) and there was residue and a partial pill in her mouth. I had no idea exactly how many pills she had eaten. I washed her mouth out, counted the pills and prayed it was only the partial pill. About 20 minutes later she started smacking her face and was very distraught. I took her to the ER where she had to have a Valium to calm down. I left the ER at 5 am and my plane was scheduled to leave at 9. Despite my parents reassurance, I was a nervous wreck the whole time we were gone. I learned that child safety caps mean nothing. Always keep meds OUT OF REACH!

Terrie Elizabeth 12 months ago

I took pbj to school all the time. I still like them. Where did all the fatal nut allergies come from? I went to big schools in a major metropolitan area and never saw, heard or knew of a single reaction from my first day of kindergarten to the day I graduated. My daughter starts kindergarten next year and I’m more terrified of the paranoud surreal experience school has become rather than my baby being old enough to go.

Katie 12 months ago

Robyn,
Don’t be so hard on yourself. I grew up with an allergy to pecans. No other tree nuts, just pecans. We’ve all made mistakes and even as an adult I’ve been guilty of being tired and not reading the list of ingredients. I’ve had to have epi a total of 3 times. You had a scary situation that was handled appropriately and your son will soon enough forget about it. Having to get an epi injection stinks but it did save his life. Yes, you made a mistake, haven’t we all made mistakes? It’s a mistake you won’t soon forget but he is healthy and bad to his normal self. Cuddle him a little tighter, and remember that accidents happen but he’s safe now.

Kristi Ruffalo 12 months ago

I can’t imagine what you all go through! I would be terrified every day my son walked out the door!

Misti 12 months ago

Oh Mama! Don’t do this to yourself. We have all gotten a little lax. Once I didn’t double check a chocolate croissant and it had Nutella. What’s worse, I scolded him because I thought he was continuing to be difficult when he came to tell me he was having a reaction. Thank God he didn’t swallow it because he’s 11 and it didn’t feel right(spicy?). As I write this I have 4 expired epipens because they are expensive, expire every 6 months, and in 11 years I have never had to use one. But guess what, your story gave me a wake up call. Forgive yourself and do better next time.

Lisa Jolly 12 months ago

Blimey, scary stuff….I didn’t know about the secondary reaction possibility!

Hotsy Totsy 12 months ago

BT, I’m sorry for such a tragedy! You are a good mom – it was a MISTAKE. Please forgive yourself! Brain damage or no, you are gifted with a wonderful child. Prayers for your peace and courage.

Sarah Thomas 12 months ago

Terrifying story, opened my eyes about how awful it can be.

Shab Tay 12 months ago

Honestly, peanuts aren’t exactly nutritious. I prefer almonds but my daughters school doesn’t allow for any nuts. I give them to her after school and on weekends. That is plenty, it does not bother me one bit to deny her nuts on weekdays.

Robyn 12 months ago

My heart goes out to you and your family. What a brave little man you have and I’m beyond happy that he is well. Remember accidents happen. I’ve had a few myself with my baby boy. I just keep telling myself “I’m new at this.. It will get easier. It will get better!” Don’t beat yourself up. Be glad in a way that it has happened and you can be assured you’ll know what to do next time. Because there will absolutely be a next time. And be glad that you little man is as brave as he is.

Danielle 12 months ago

I still remember the worst night my daughter has ever had in years of medical conditions. She’d been released from the hospital 24 hours earlier after treatment for RSV. We’d gone to our pulmonologist 2 hours away. He’d even cleared her. We went home. She was fine and would be back to normal in a few days to a week.

And then she had an absent seizure. It was as though my child left her body and what was left had the muscle tone of a wet spaghetti noodle. Nothing evoked a response. She was grey and her oxygen levels teetered between suck and “oh my god”.

We threw her into her car seat, not even thinking to buckle it. My husband carried her sister to the car. We drove to a friend’s house on the way to the ER after calling to say “walk outside NOW, we’re leaving our two year old in your driveway” in the middle of the night.

Waiting for an ambulance wasn’t even an option. That ride was terrifying as I alternated between giving CPR and literally beating my seven month old child to get her body to take even just ONE breath. It was less than five minutes and it may as well have been a year.

We walked into the ER and shouted “we have a non-responsive baby!” Everything turned in an instant as though a pin had dropped. Nurses stopped triaging other patients. They kicked a patient out of the trauma room and she practically flew out onto the tiny little bed. I watched down by her feet as they shoved a tube into her throat, not the first or the last she’d receive, before they hooked her up to a machine to breathe for her.

I remember so little of that night. The conversation with her nurse (Aaron) as I told him there would probably be bruises because I beat her to keep her breathing and when he told me he’d probably have done the same thing. The 8 tries to get the breathing tube in. Handing her to Life Flight and starting my two hour drive to catch up, not knowing if me child was even still alive.

She got better. We never figured out why she had that seizure and she’s never had another. That was 3 1/2 years ago and I still think often about the fact that if she’d still been in the hospital, the whole thing would have been so much less terrifying.

You never forget the night your child almost dies. It might get easier to live with, but it never goes away.

I’m sorry that you know this horror.

Kristi Woolum Nelson 12 months ago

Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like a terrifying experience and I will never (again) complain about peanut-free lunches. Thank you for the perspective.

Rebecca Della Valle 12 months ago

To those who question the ethics of forbidding certain allergens to protect a single student, here is a lesson in American education law: it requires that every child have free and equal access to public education. We can’t exclude an autistic child because they need special assistance, or a child in a wheelchair that can’t climb the stairs, and we can’t exclude a child that requires a specific allergen-free environment. That child’s right to life and safety and a free education legally trumps your child’s right to a PB&J (or a latex balloon or Nutella). That’s the gist of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

(Specifically, the ADA only requires that schools provide “reasonable accommodation”. It also states that students with special needs must be placed in the least restricted environment possible- that is, the environment most like a normal classroom. So no, a tutor at home would not be sufficient to adhere to the law. And no, this is not a slippery slope where children who are violently psychotic or chronically contagious or who require unreasonable accommodations such as a completely sterile environment or an oxygen tent get put into your child’s classroom. The law knew you would be concerned about these issues and took them into account.)

So, taking this law into consideration, if you state that children with severe allergies should not be accommodated by schools then you are basically suggesting that the ADA should be invalidated, so that schools would not be obligated to accommodate the severely allergic child or children with any other disability: cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, autism, ADHD, athsma, prosthetic limbs, and any other mental or physical disability.

Surely this is not the argument you want to make. However, it doesn’t make legal sense to suggest that children with severe allergies, and ONLY children with severe allergies, be denied protection under the ADA.

Schools can, within reason, legally make any arbitrary rules they want in terms of what sorts of things are and aren’t allowed inside the building. So because they CAN legally prohibit allergens, and because the ADA says that they MUST accommodate severely allergic children, the school has no legal choice but to ban (or at least severely limit the probability of exposure to) specific allergens, and if you want your non-allergic child to attend said school, you must adhere to their rules regarding prohibited substances.

How you “feel” about this legal fact is irrelevant. Sorry.

Michelle Anderson 12 months ago

Alaina Carrico- i did not say it was annoying to protect allergic children, i said the annoying part was my schools inconsistent rules.

Johanna Klein 12 months ago

I only wish more parents would read this. As a mom of a child with severe peanut allergy I get tired of the looks of judgment as if I’m paranoid instead of trying to prevent another hospital visit.

Rebecca Della Valle 12 months ago

The problem with your argument is, quite simply, that it is in violation of the laws in the USA. The law requires that every child have free and equal access to public education. We can’t exclude an autistic child because they need special assistance, or a child in a wheelchair that can’t climb the stairs, and we can’t exclude a child that requires a specific allergen-free environment. That child’s right to life and safety and a free education legally trumps your child’s right to a PB&J (or a latex balloon or Nutella). That’s the gist of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and it’s the law. So how you feel about it, and your somewhat rude judgements about parental irresponsibility, don’t matter in the least.

Alaina Carrico 12 months ago

Michelle – if you were on the other side you would find that protecting your child from insensitive people is way more annoying than following guidelines to protect allergic children.

Melissa Krauss 12 months ago

WOW Butter….. It’s awesome!

Alaina Carrico 12 months ago

As a mom to a peanut allergic 3 year old, I’m sure it’s a pain to follow allergy rules and I’m sure I’d be inconvenienced if I were on the other side. But allergic kids being around peanut butter can be life threatening. Not getting to eating peanut butter at school is not life threatening. This story is so heartbreaking and I can see how easy it is to miss reading the ingredients since they can often change.

Clarissa 12 months ago

This article terrified me… My daughter is severely allergic to cashews and pistachios and so this is something that could easily happen to us. Luckily aside from the ER trip that alerted us to her allergies (which thank the Lord happened next to my brother-in-law, the army medic) we have yet to use the Epi-pen and me and everyone around her are very careful.

Sharla Lee Thompson 12 months ago

You’re so right Joeyandkatie – we spent a lot of time last year hunting for latex-free band-aids – time for Johnson&Johnson to step up!!

Joeyandkatie Graham 12 months ago

I’m glad you mentioned latex. Johnson&Johnson’s really needs to get on board with the latex-free band-aids.

Joeyandkatie Graham 12 months ago

Wow butter is great! Tastes about like peanut butter!

Joeyandkatie Graham 12 months ago

I was a “non allergy mom” once…..who complained about these peanut-allergic pansy kids…..then out of the blue one day, my son developed a peanut allergy. His allergy isn’t severe. He’s lucky. The only thing that happens to him is he vomits violently and gets explosive diarrhea for 24 hours after ingestion. Then I gave birth to another son. When he was 18 months old, I decided to introduce peanuts to him so see how he’d react….he nearly died. He can’t even come in contact with peanuts. We never go anywhere without both epipens for him. My point is, you end up eating your words one day. Your judgement will come back to haunt you.

Marcia Ireland Rosenfeld 12 months ago

Lisa Plunkett, it’s called Auvi-q I believe. They are more expensive, but worth it, imo, to help through those panic moments.

Pamela Wilson Snowberger 12 months ago

So what do you suggest Amanda Lee? That we remove our children from society all together? Or ship them off to a remote island to live amongst their food allergy friends? Because that’s a great lesson to teach them. They should be shut out from the rest of the world because selfish people like you won’t make a very small sacrifice to help others. And “the needs of the many”??? I’m sorry, does your child NEED that PB&J? Is there not an alternative that you can pack for their lunch? I mean come on. Seriously if you are going to bitch about how inconvenient it is for you as a mom to help another fellow mom out and keep nuts off the table while your kids are at school, you are such a sad excuse for a person. Wow.

Lauren Agricola Meyers 12 months ago

^^^why I don’t send my kids lunches with nuts. Don’t wanna hurt another kid inadvertently. It’s really not a sacrifice.

Bernadette Harding Priest 12 months ago

There are plenty of non peanut/nut options avialible. I have a child with a SPD, we manage. You realize a child with nut allergies can go into anaphylactic shock from doing something like wiping their hand on their face/mouth after touching a surface that has trace amounts of nut oils from a child who may have not washed their hands after lunch? Death is much more serious than food preference.

Amanda Lee 12 months ago

Well, seeing how much work you went to to even try to understand an opposing view than your own I can totally see you bending over backwards to respect other peoples needs / opinions if it didn’t directly affect you and yours.
I knew most of the commenters would be in complete lock step on this topic that is ok. My point again is that kids with no immune systems don’t expect the schools to empty out of all the other kids , sometimes they have if separate themselves off if it’s so dangerous. Extreme example I know , but I just am not sure it’s a great lesson for kids with allergies to tell them the whole world should and will change for you. In real life , you have to be the one who adjusts is all I am trying to say but whatever.

Melanie Coke Kemp 12 months ago

It’s not hard for you. It is hard for some parents of special needs kids who eat very few items and will reject things that in your opinion are just as good but, to them, tastes or feels different. Please don’t shrug off the difficulty some parents have simply because you’re fortunate enough to be without that struggle. Many of us are happy to try, but it’s not always easy, and it’s hurtful when people (not necessarily you, but people in general) imply we aren’t trying, our kids are just spoiled, or our kids are less deserving of consideration than allergic kids.

Prianka K. Gerrish 12 months ago

epi epi epi. don’t be afraid to give it. it’s life saving! it prevents fatality from food allergy no matter the source. antihistamines take tooooo long to work and are ineffective in a serious allergic cascade. USE EPI EARLY AND MULTIPLE TIMES IF YOU HAVE TO. I preach it at my allergy practice – to my patients, to my nurses, even to my other doctors. get over the fear of epinephrine. the alternative is much worse.

Melanie Larson 12 months ago

Genuinely curious, as this is new to me: if a child has a peanut allergy so severe that a door knob or peanut air could hurt her, is it wise to send her to school, especially in the preschool/pre-k years? And how would you live life (grocery shopping, eating out, going to church, any place where there’s an even more uncontrolled environment)? I had no idea such severe allergies existed.

Amy Anderko Bunch 12 months ago

This is exactly how our school is and it’s worked great for years now

Brandy Lopez Barbee 12 months ago

It is a First World problem.

Melanie Coke Kemp 12 months ago

I’m happy to read these responses because I’m in a similar situation. We have no food allergies in our house, but my son’s diet is very limited by sensory issues. His school is not nut free; peanut butter & jelly sandwiches are actually a choice (out of 4 entree choices) every day. And that’s what he eats. It’s his new obsession. PB&J for breakfast, lunch…and snack. He’s in kindergarten, and because their lunch is so early (10:30am), they have an afternoon snack time. Every day, he wants a PB&J and a juice box, and I send it because it’s the only thing I can come up with that he can/will eat AND complies with the school’s healthy snack policy. But I feel bad about it. Why? There’s a little girl with a nut allergy in his class. The class parents haven’t been notified, but I happened to overhear her mom mention it to the teacher during open house, and my son told me about it. From what the mother said, i know it’s not a severe (like can’t even breathe around it) allergy, but I’ve still felt HORRIBLE introducing nuts to the classroom. Now I have a couple of alternatives to try.

Brandy Lopez Barbee 12 months ago

Yes, once anaphylaxis hits there is no guarantee. My son has had 4 shots during one episode.

Brandy Lopez Barbee 12 months ago

But He accidentally ate a peanut butter candy on the freeway near the hospital. Jackass nurse assistant wouldn’t listen- a few choice words and I was holding down sitting on my screaming son so they could get an IV in. I flat out told him – sorry, better hurt than dead. My poor baby

Brandy Lopez Barbee 12 months ago

My son has a reaction at 2. Severe hives. Eyes swollen shut. ER visit. Pretty much blew off my thoughts if peanut allergy..”it could be anything” Our. family Dr. Told me to bring in peanut better to test it out. My son ate the tiniest amount. The Dr. Left and advised the nurses. I was sure I was in good hands. My son started reacting, next thing I know a maniacal Peds Dr. Was screaming and called paramedics. We were at a Kaiser clinic with no emergency services. I had zero clue what was happening. My son was swelling inside his mouth and lungs. Several shots of epi, an ambulance ride and another episode 7 hours later it was finally under control. Fast forward to an allergist who apparently did not really value my sons case -instructed us to Give Benadryl and epi only if there is wheezing… 5 years old going to school- find out Epi needs to be given immediately and Benadryl is useless= one pissed off Mama. Kaiser Permanente……..

Dani Osenbaugh 12 months ago

Thank you for being brave enough to share your story. My daughter has a peanut allergy & we have an epipen. Your experience is obviously a living nightmare no one ever wants to live through. I did not know that the reaction can come back!! My Dr didn’t say anything about that. If you hadn’t shared this, I don’t think I would’ve known. Thank God your precious baby is ok. Many prayers, blessings & love to you & your family as you heal from this. And thank you again for sharing.

Beth Miano 12 months ago

Wow, I had no idea an epipen could wear off. I also need a primer in the use of one – I don’t want to freak or mess up on the girls.

Sharla Lee Thompson 12 months ago

THIS. This is why every single allergy-free family (like mine) needs to take allergies seriously at school. Peanut, Tree nut, Latex … they can all *kill* someone’s baby. It’s just not worth it. Not worth it.

Kasey ‘Maddick’ Boling 12 months ago

Before I had a kid I wouldn’t have cried reading this article… Picturing myself and my son in this situation – tears were rolling down my face.

Brandy Lopez Barbee 12 months ago

Also…. Did you read it? This child was not in school nor was he school aged.

Aubrie McDaniel 12 months ago

I was honestly afraid to start reading the comments on this post and am pleasantly surprised to see that MOST of what I have read (and I have not read them all because a few made me too angry) is people being supportive. As the mother of a child with a severe allergy this is my nightmare. 5 years and never having to use an epi pen is something I am proud of. I am over cautious when it comes to her allergies but now she is in school where peanut butter and jelly is served in the cafeteria and I fear daily that she will come in contact with it. Hearing this account of actually giving her child the epi pen is heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing this article and making a few more people more aware of the devastating effects peanuts and tree nuts can have on some kiddos.

Brandy Lopez Barbee 12 months ago

Because you trust your doctor. My Sons allergist was a Royal Moron and have inaccurate instructions for epi pen use. I thought I was doing the right thing until Kindergarten. When I asked for a plan that in no way matched previous instructions I was pissed. Thank God nothing ever happened.

Vanessa Brown 12 months ago

Amanda Lee – even if my child didn’t have the allergies I would respect and be concerned about the students that did.. Calling a parent irresponsible for having their child go to a normal school and try to live a normal life which eventually they will have to go out do at some point you are irresponsible for not using your brain. Aww so kids these days might have to learn how to actually care about each. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience. Majority verses few, ok if we are going to think like that than why are so many parents choosing to have children with downs syndrome? Just an example. Yes you are free to think only of yourself your children… But the reality is that more and more children are born with food allergies. So suck it up life changes and the people who resist change usually don’t do so well in the long run. I’m only terrified of sending my child to a regular school because of people like you and Brandy. The type of people who can’t imagine opening their minds and caring about other people. And I am one of those moms who doesn’t have a choice but to have my child in school. So maybe the schools should start segregating the smart caring children from the ones who choose care about anyone but themselves. You shouldn’t be scared to speak unless what you have to say you truly feel is shallow and wrong. So sorry you’re scared to speak… I’m scared that your kid could accidentally harm another. Education and an open mind are keys to becoming a better society. I’m sad to say that this society is filled with narcissistic people. I’m a minority in that area too I guess.

Tari 12 months ago

I can’t even imagine being in your situation. Thank you for sharing your story. I have never, in all my first aid courses or the EMT course I took several years ago, heard that the reaction can come back once the meds wear off. I will definitely be filing that tidbit away.

Kathy Helfrey Speelman 12 months ago

My brother has a severe peanut allergy (can’t even walk into a Chinese restaurant from the cooking oils in the air)….but I still remember 35 years ago when my mom gave him a peanut butter cup. I was just a toddler myself, but the reaction he had and her freaking out still stay in my memory. I gave my daughter her first PB cup in the waiting room of the hospital. I must’ve looked crazy but I didn’t care! LOL

Tricia Loomis Oostema 12 months ago

I have a child with 5 severe food allergies (peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, dairy, oats). I’ll never ever forget when he only TOUCHED an egg at 20 months old and experienced anaphylaxis. He’s 7 now, but this story brought back so many memories- painful, scary memories. It’s almost like experiencing PTSD- reliving that moment with such fear and panic. This mom is so brave for sharing. Food allergies don’t make sense. How can a food that can be so healthy for others be deadly for some?? But it can and is. This doesn’t mean our food allergy kids don’t enjoy life just like yours! They do with just a few (but vital) accommodations! Thank you mamas that understand. Our school is not nut free. But we have an amazing staff and policies in place and I try to teach my son over and over. However when school calls, I get a pit in my stomach…every single time.

Yvette Alvarado 12 months ago

I wish all other allergies were treated in the same regard. My daughter has a wheat allergy that no one seems to take seriously

Crystal M. Bradstreet 12 months ago

Been there and sadly done that

Nicole Cobb 12 months ago

This is the scariest post I’ve ever read.

Lisa Mastropiero 12 months ago

I guess I dont understand how this bacame a debate about nuts in classrooms. In my opinion any sane person would actively avoid sending their child to school with anything another child is allergic to. The child was not exposed at school, he was exposed at home, mistakes happen. The bigger issue I see with this article is how uneducated the mother was in dealing with the allergy. I hate to say that but how can you have an epipen for a life threatening allergy and not know where, when, and how to use it? The school seemingly treated the allergy very appropriately, the mother did not. I read a comment about schools needing to educate people and I assume that means educating parents of children with no allergies to the dangers posed to children with allergies but that does not apply in this case. I believe this article points out the fact that parents must be educated in dealing with their child’s allergies or any condition that affects their children.

Pamela Wilson Snowberger 12 months ago

As a mom of a child with a food allergy this is my worst nightmare! I teared up reading this post. Bless your heart, I know you feel
horrible but it could happen to any of us!

Alexandra Sliwinski Kavana 12 months ago

Wow. How positively terrifying!!

Pellie McGinnis 12 months ago

My son is allergic to peanuts, wheat, milk, soy, and eggs. >.< shopping is difficult at times.

Jessica 12 months ago

Ugh. Traumatic. I feel your pain. I harbor your same guilt. It’s been 7 years & I still see the swollen &scraped face of my charge every time I open a jar of peanut butter. Thankfully, he’s alive & well because of what I DID do.
I was the nanny for a 6 & 2 year old.We were having lunch at our zoo & he snagged the crust of his sister’s of pb & j. Minutes later he was crying & scraping his face. I thought I had time to drive the 5 minutes to the hospital until the coughing began. I called 911 foran ambulance.Thank God it was fast & the hospital close. They administered drugs quickly & admitted him. Mom met us & couldn’t stop hugging & thanking me. She was relieved that I knew what to do. In my head I couldn’t believe I had nearly killed someone’s baby. I couldn’t believe how very little it took for a first time reaction. I nearly killed someone. It’s painful but gets easier to deal with. Be kind to yourself. Always.

Ashley Fishbein 12 months ago

Very touching. Poor mom and baby. It was an honest error and her story might have led someone else to check the box on cookies when they may not have

Kylie Turuva 12 months ago

how about the scientist look at WHY there now are so many anaphlatic(spelt wrong) eg- preservatives, added flavours everything so unatural then we wont have this problem because seriously the way this world is going everything will be banned at schools…is there going to be nothing that is safe to eat? unless its grown yourself……..because this ISNT the solution…you cannot ban things…it just wont work….its everywhere…airborne etc(like viruses and other diseases)….they need to prevent the problem from happening

Amanda Lee 12 months ago

That was a really well written article and I certainly sympathize. But not this auricle nor all the comments have changed my mind and am going to try not to be hypocritical and just say this when it is “safe”.
The needs of the few do not outweigh the needs of the many. If a child is so allergic that mere breathing a kids breath , brushing a hand or touching a door knob could literally kill them as you all protest so long and loud ? Then YOU are irresponsible to send your kids to school. Because if the allergy is really, REALLY that virulent there is no way you can ever tell if a kid may have stepped on a smashed snickers bar at the park and then tracked that killer in on the carpet. If it’s really is so bad how can you ever be safe ? I think it is self centered for parents of kids with severe allergies to put the fear and guilt of accidentally being a “killer” on other kids in school and other parents.
I sympathize , but the more violent you say the allergy the more ridiculous I think it is that you have your kids in school. I know it’s not fair , not easy , not right. But that is how I feel and I still believe most of the allergies to be in the mild not severe category , yet the while child – related world has to change how we eat not just nuts themselves but maybe once been around nuts ?
As a child I was very very allergic to nuts, soy, chocolate , dairy …. Not even MY family ate shy differently. I had to regulate and change MY diet drastically because it was MY allergy.
So, have at it. Voice of a dissenter but I am probably in the usually scared majority – afraid of being shouted down in outrage but this is how a majority of the “non allergy moms” talk when we can.

Anita 12 months ago

We’ve had these accidents more than once – almost always on vacation. tangy laffy taffy has an egg product that no other Laffy taffy has. Didn’t read the label. Once at a restaurant in Chicago I was assured a cupcake was vegan but it had egg in it and my daughter had stomach cramps for hours. Didn’t see a label. Should have asked. Food allergies are serious business. We know that firsthand too. :-(

Dorraine 12 months ago

OMG, I held my breath reading this. While my daughter has mild seasonal allergies I am the one with an allergy to a certain food and i have an epi pen after having an anaphylactic reaction. i have not has to use it but will be mindful of what i read here and that symptoms can come back after the drugs where off. SCARY! So glad your son was ok, ok i can breath now

Amy Page Smith 12 months ago

Reading the positive and supportive comments have brought me as close to tears as the article did. So often, people that don’t have to deal with allergies are dismissive of allergies and how scary they can be to deal with. It is so rare to find the outpouring of support and genuine concern found here today. My faith in humanity is at least, partially restored.

Denise Whitehead 12 months ago

I thank God I don’t have this worry and pray for the families that do
These allergies can be serious and need to be taken seriously

Autumn Clark 12 months ago

I’m a nurse. Ill admit that my years in the profession has jaded me. However, the fact that this woman didn’t give the epi until her son was at deaths door makes me irrationally angry. Scared of the side effects of epi? SERIOUSLY? Your kid will die a slow, painful, terrifying death but by all means let’s be scared of the side effects and a pin prick! Smh… let’s all be thankful the kid isn’t diabetic!

Jeannine 12 months ago

I was so teary reading this because I can totally relate. We have had to inject our daughter with her Epi-pen after she got into the babysitter’s bag and ate some trail mix (peanuts and tree-nuts). I froze. It was so terrifying to see her not being able to breathe and so swollen she didn’t look human. I held her tight while my husband was brave enough to inject her. It was traumatic for all of us (she was only 2 but she still remembers it all!) but also a learning experience. I am hyper vigilant now about ingredients and teaching everyone how to use the Epi-pen. While I hope I never have to use it again, next time I won’t be afraid because I know firsthand that it saved her life.

Nichole Frey 12 months ago

Oh my. I got tears in my eyes reading this.

Carin Ekre Anderson 12 months ago

In case you ever worry….I have a bee allergy and needed 3 epi’s in the course of an hour to keep me alive. When it is necessary the body wont suffer terrible after effects.

Destinee 12 months ago

Gluten. Dairy. Eggs. Tomatoes. Nuts. My bub can’t have any of those. Last week, I had the stomach flu. I’m a single mom, so life must go on no matter what. I was so sick, I don’t even remember taking him to school all week, but he was there. Anyways, I was so sick and so out of it, I got lax. “I want a cheeseburger!” turned into a stop at McDonald’s. Where it’s not gluten free, the cheese isn’t lactose free, and they put ketchup on it. My mom has eight grandkids. She forgot that my son is the one that can’t have. And she gave. Trying to be helpful while I was so sick, she took both my boys and gave them both gluten, dairy, egg, and tomato. My baby was fine-he has no allergies except nuts. My bub…my bub ended up losing five pounds between vomit and diarrhea. He was severely dehydrated. His body started to shut down. His allergy didn’t close his throat or create rashes; his body mimicked my stomach flu. I thought he had the stomach flu. I thought he had the stomach flu right up until his doctor appointment, where the doctor informed me “Had you not brought him in, you would have killed your son.” I’ve been through hell with this boy. He was two months early. He is disabled. I’ve been knocked to my knees by a doctor telling me my boy would never walk, by another telling me he was autistic, by yet another telling me my son would be sentenced to a life as a living human shell. And yet my boy thrived. And nothing has ever hurt as much as knowing that I got sick, and my laxness, my failure to strictly adhere because it was easier to stop at McDonald’s, because I forgot to remind my mother, almost killed him. I understand how you feel-nothing will ever take away the guilt and the terror that it will happen again. I’ll probably have a panic attack when he really does get the stomach flu. Don’t let it end your world-take it as a lesson. I know I am. I went through and threw away everything in my house that contained the things he cannot have, including my stash of frozen yogurt. And I LOVE frozen yogurt. But I’ll never touch it again if it means he never lands in the hospital half-dead again. Lessons, Mama. Our babies learn them the hard way, and so do we.

Kursteen 12 months ago

This was terrifying to read as a parent of child diagnosed with an allergy but never had a reaction.

I don’t know how we react if something like this happens to us.

Susan Williams 12 months ago

I was at the orientation for my daughter’s preschool class tonight, and the teacher mentioned that there is a child in the class with a nut allergy. The mother of the allergic child chimed in and pleaded with the rest of us parents to please be extraordinarily careful with any homemade goodies we might bring in for birthdays, and started crying. As small of a pain as it might be for me to not make peanut butter and jelly for lunch (which, really, is no pain at all, especially since sunbutter is fine), I can only imagine how difficult it is for her. For that one mother, I have zero problem thinking a teeny bit outside the box for lunch.

Amy Kuberski 12 months ago

I’ve always loved your posts and thought to myself, wow I have so much in common with this person I don’t even know. There aren’t a lot of people that I can relate to honestly about being a mom. I appreciate your honesty and humor on a daily basis more than you know. My son has a peanut allergy also, diagnosed at 18 months. Scariest thing ever to read but it will help me when this happens to me in the future and for that I am thankful! So glad your little man is ok.

Angela Nickels-Smith 12 months ago

As a mom of a child with multiple food allergies including anaphylaxis to peanuts, thank you to all the parents who are understanding, compassionate and caring. This fear lived inside me everyday!

pam 12 months ago

What a terrible ordeal for all of you. I had no idea that people can relapse after an allergic reaction, thank you for sharing that information! You sound like a loving and very brave mama, forgive yourself, we all make mistakes.

Leesh Quinn 12 months ago

I think schools need to take more initiative to educate parents on the dangers. I mean really educate them.. I have a friend with a child who has several allergies, and I’m celiac myself so I understand the gravity of it. But a lot of people just don’t get it (which is plain to see from some of the comments here). There’s no point pointing fingers at each other. It takes a village to raise a child so we need to be working together to provide a safe environment for all children.

Denise Richard Plant 12 months ago

I am a parent of a peanut allergy child. My daughter had an episode when salad dressing with ground peanuts brushed her face. Her eyes started to swell and I completely panicked. Raced her to ER (with the EpiPen in my purse – instead of injecting). The ER Dr. told me that if I ever did that again I would kill my child. Awful feeling! My heart goes out to this mom. I hope I never have an experience like hers and hope she doesn’t have a repeat!

Elizabeth Vogelsberg 12 months ago

My kids don’t have any food allergies, thankfully. Their classrooms are peanut and tree nut free but the cafeteria is not. The cafeteria does have a nut free table where the kids with allergies sit to eat.

Kimberlea Haff Carney 12 months ago

parent everywhere thank you

Daphne Irvine 12 months ago

I always bristled about having to send a peanut free lunch. No more!!! Thank you for explaining in such great detail what it’s like so the rest of us can understand.

Sarah Goodie-Root 12 months ago

Very scary!y two year old has a peanut allergy among others which we discovered at 14 months.

Sherry Lazdinsh 12 months ago

My children had food Allergies and now I homeschool as it is what is best for our kids. I can’t put the safety of my child in the hands if 300 other parents. It only takes one granola bar, or one Opps I forgot about the allergy too send a child into shock or make them Ill. Wasn’t worth it. Kudos to you parents who trust other parents to keep your kids safe. I’m chicken and trusted no one with my children .

Melissa Krauss 12 months ago

My heart breaks for this momma. First rule of thumb…. When they start to show any sign of reaction, epi pen and hospital. I am thankful this little guy is alright! It’s scary being a “peanut” mom.

Kimberly Westerman Craft 12 months ago

My sons school allows peanuts , but they have a designated table for anyone who has it in their lunch

Sonya McKinney 12 months ago

Yes, it’s a little more work making sure everything is peanut free & peanut butter sandwiches are so easy to pack. But considering you have a child’s life in your hands, I see no problem in putting forth a little more effort. I would be terrified to send my son out in the world knowing he could die from a piece of food. I would hope all parents would want to protect our kids.

Vanessa Brown 12 months ago

Check out Wow butter. It’s nut free. Soy.. But nut free.

Joeyandkatie Graham 12 months ago

Both my sons have peanut allergies but we are lucky because they aren’t allergic to tree nuts. Jiff has started making peanut-free cashew butter and almond butter. Wow butter is a soy-based alternative that’s awesome! I’m so glad there are alternatives out there now!

Jodi Shaffer Nelson 12 months ago

This is such a terrifying story. I can totally feel for this mom. You poor thing. This is my worst fear. I have a son who has a severe nut allergy. I could kill him too. Your mistake is something any one of us could have done.

Elyssa Quinones 12 months ago

Oh my gosh… I was nearly in tears reading this. My oldest son is allergic to all tree nuts and this is my WORST fear! One time his whole face swelled up like he’d been in a fight. We still don’t know if somehow he had been exposed to nuts, but I suspect that’s what it was. I am so paranoid, even though he’s 7 now, that he will accidentally eat something we don’t know came into contact with nuts and I will have a situation like yours on my hands. Big ((hugs)) to you. What a scary situation.

Chrystal Lowder 12 months ago

I’ve got two boys, allergy free. And this made me cry when it was first posted and again when I read it today.

Kristie Borne Trosclair 12 months ago

We just adopted a 10 yr old girl who has only lived with us for 8 mths. Her records said no known allergies but after Taekwondo practice both of her eyes swelled up and I panicked. I dosed her with Benedryl and covered her eyelids in Benedryl gel. She had no other symptoms and after an hour the welts went away and the swelling went down. I’d rather over react than pass it off as not too serious.

Kate 12 months ago

We vacationed with friends when our daughter was 7 years old. She was not a great swimmer, but she’d taken swim lessons and was in the shallow end of the pool with my friend’s kids. We were sitting maybe 8 feet from the edge of the pool. We were drinking wine. The kids were having a great time. I was talking to my friend, but also keeping an eye on DD. I thought I was keeping an eye on her. The next thing I knew, my husband was jumping in the pool with all of his clothes on. He was hauling our scared, sputtering daughter out of the pool. I was sitting there, like an idiot, with my glass of wine and a look of total confusion. She had drifted away from the shallow end. She’d gone just far enough from the wall that she couldn’t reach and her feet could not touch the bottom. Maybe she had panicked – I don’t know. My husband said that she had been bobbing up and down. I didn’t see it. I thought I was watching her. I still feel so ashamed that I didn’t see it. What if he hadn’t been paying such close attention? What if we had both decided to kick back and relax? I thought I was watching her.

Fast forward a year and a half. Both of my kids are in year-round swim lessons. I hate taking them swimming for fun because I watch them like a hawk. Even if there’s a lifeguard present. I can’t ever relax. I can’t ever take my eyes off them. I thought I was watching her.

Jennifer Hammes Logan 12 months ago

I’m aware that kids can have a life threatening reaction to even being around peanuts, and it scares the crap out of me.
But there are times when I have very little else to pack.
What can I buy that would be a substitute?
Would the other nut butter cause the same reaction? I mean, are kids who are allergic to peanuts generally allergic to other nuts, too?
I’d like suggestions so I don’t have to worry that I’m packing a legal weapon in my kids lunch bag

Marla Huseman Grace 12 months ago

The New York Times posted something yesterday and I was shocked at the terrible comments. Idiots writing about peanut allergies being “Darwinism” at work. I was horrified. I happily adhere to the nut-free policy, even though mine have no allergies.

Tricia 12 months ago

Wow, how scary! Thank goodness you reacted so quickly, and the school as well. I had no idea that symptoms could relapse after the epipen wears off! Thankfully my kids don’t have allergies, but I have some friends whose kids do. I will be sure to share this information with them.

Brandi Edwards May 12 months ago

I was in tears reading this…and now I’m counting my blessing of having an allergy free child.

Katie Thomas 12 months ago

I told myself I wouldn’t cry…

Nicole Haserot Sanchez 12 months ago

This is my worst nightmare. I cried.

Laura Miano Brokaw 12 months ago

I thank God that we have not been through this yet with either of my food allergic girls, but stories like this are always in the back of my mind! Thank you, Scary Mommy, for posting this!

Sam Longoria 12 months ago

Julie Van Bodegraven Greenwald 12 months ago

As a parent of a child who is allergic to all nuts, this really hit home. Her allergist has told us that you never base your expectations of a future allergic reaction on a previous one-we learned the hard way when she was in D.C. for a class trip (no parent chaperones permitted). Two doses of Auvi-Q (same meds as an epi pen but no need to slam it into the leg) and a trip to the ER and she was ok. We’ve removed Benadryl from her treatment plan and go right for the big guns….it takes the guesswork out of “is it getting better?”

Cynthia Lingley-Boudreau 12 months ago

My son is anaphalytic to peanuts and is prone to secondary reactions as well. Thankfully the hospital kept us there after his first exposure and his second reaction was there, with medical help.
Thank you for sharing this story. If it teaches just one non allergic parent to be extra vigilant, it has served it’s purpose:)

Aimee Meyer 12 months ago

My fear.

Kristin Tunnell 12 months ago

Wow! Worth the read… We had an small episode with Full Moon’s cookie… They contain nuts…

Chris Shaw Mitchell 12 months ago

As a school nurse and mother I work with parents to ensure that our students with allergies are safe. Many parents understand and many times mention that if it was their child with a severe allergy they would be grateful.

Ingrid Kathleen Geist 12 months ago

I’ll be packing peanut-free lunches for my kids when they go to school. Thank god we are blessed with no KNOWN allergies. My son is not yet 2, there is still time. Educating your children, and yourself, and all your family members is still the most important precaution, but if I can spare a child and a parent this horror, then I will do my part.

Samantha Clepper 12 months ago

I’m glad schools are becoming peanut free (my son’s included). My brother has a severe nut allergy and when he was in elementary school, other kids would chase him and try to touch him with their peanut butter sandwiches. He understood the severity of his allergy, but they didn’t. We worried every day if one if those kids would succeed and cause my brother to have a reaction and end up in the hospital. The story definitely hits close to home.

Maria Young 12 months ago

Food allergies are THE worst… My child has food allergies and it’s very scary and stressful everyday.

Alejandra Jaret 12 months ago

Wow, I’m left speechless. I want to cry, I don’t know what I’m feeling.. Some sort of fear by reading this. I will never again complain about snack time and be insensitive about children with these allergies. I thank god my kids don’t have any and can eat anything and I’m so sorry for ever complaining.. I’m sitting in my car right now crying bc this is very real and so scary to those parents with kids that have these food allergies. I can’t imagine…

Heather Kemp 12 months ago

My daughter has an egg anaphylaxis, and it gets easier to manage with time. She is now 9 years old – she knows it’s her job at school to not take food without asking if there is egg in it. When she was first diagnoses at age 11 months, she ended up in the ER and her reaction came back after the epi + Benadryl + solucortef wore off. 1 month later, without thinking, I made her a tuna sandwich with mayonnaise. Mistakes happen, don’t beat yourself up. PS – I’m an ER nurse, and when she first reacted I was terrified. That cough…..

Doroteha 12 months ago

I was hyper-ventilating as I was reading this and tears were streaming down my face for your poor baby!! I will NEVER, EVER complain about a child with ANY allergies again. I have been SO wrong and am SO sorry for ever being critical of parents of or children with allergies. Thank you for setting me straight. Hugs to you, Robyn and your sweet boy!

Heather Bruce Gleason 12 months ago

I got into a argument with someone about this same thing. She couldn’t understand why schools wouldn’t allow birthday treats or even how some schools are nut free.

Yuko Seki 12 months ago

With millions of other food available for us now days, eliminating a few product which might be lethal to other children is nothing but common sense.

Holli Rigden 12 months ago

That poor mom :( thankfully my children are allergy free. But im allergic to a few things including apples (apparently it’s an allergy to the protien between the skin and the apple..so if the apple is cooked I can eat it ..but I still try to avoid them cooked or not) …so when my kids school sent out a list of foods to not send in I got crazy paranoid about everything I sent in. My allergy doesn’t come close to a nut allergy…but it helps me be extra cautious about what I send in. The last thing I would ever want to do is cause harm to a child because of something as silly as not reading a label 500 times lol. My heart goes out to all of the families that have to deal with a nut allergy…or any allergen for that matter.
My allergies have definitely affected my family…and I feel bad about it all the time. It’s not easy.

Kathy McNamara 12 months ago

As a mother of a peanut-allergic child, I sincerely thank from the bottom of my heart all who make simple sacrifices for my child’s safety. I know it’s hard and inconvenient much of the time, but think of the stress and anxiety you are saving another mother who is sending her child out there into the world where she can not protect him every minute of every day.

Kyla 12 months ago

Thank you for sharing. I had not heard there could be a second reaction after using the EpiPen! Life saving information there.

Lisa Plunkett 12 months ago

There is a version of the “epi pen” that talks to assist people using it for the first time. Really helps when you’re in panic mode and don’t remember how to use it or are with someone with an allergic reaction who is unable to treat themselves.

Courtney Staton 12 months ago

Oh my God.

Lisa 12 months ago

One mom to another, We will always see our mistakes more clearly than anyone else will, Try not to be to hard on yourself. That little guy doesn’t want anyone giving his mom a hard time even when its you. Remember to forgive yourself the way you want Rory to forgive himself. Your a good Mom and a really fine person for sharing your experience.

Melanie Forrest 12 months ago

Incredibly stressful read. Only bc I’m sitting in public did I not cry my eyes out.

Amanda Gamosh 12 months ago

I cried reading this – poor mumma xxx

Nedah Warstler 12 months ago

My daughter had a life threatening nut allergy. This story not only made me cry and nearly have a panic attack, but given all I DO know, I didn’t know once the meds wore off they could have another reaction! How scary! Thank you for this information

Taira Wallace 12 months ago

Been in this situation but w/dairy. Continue to live in fear of hidden diary in food labels. I really feel for this family.

Dawn Case 12 months ago

We all balk at the use of the epipen. I have a peanut allergy and had to sit with that thing in my hand and convince myself to use it while my airway was closing.

Traci Jones Hargraves 12 months ago

My daughter has a classmate with peanut allergies…I refuse to send ANYTHING with nuts in it. Currently learning how to pack a non peanut butter lunch.

Naomi N Albert 12 months ago

Nut allergies are scary. I don’t understand why the huge increase in nut allergies. When I was in school I never heard of anyone having nut allergies or needing gluten free food. My daughters were allergic to Red Dye 40, avocados, chocolate & a few other items until they were about 3 then they outgrew them. I have read nut reactions are worse with each exposures.

Paige Dubdub 12 months ago

And I feel like a jerk every time I send pb in her lunch. I just don’t know what to do without eggs, soy, or meat. She def won’t eat “alternative” proteins, and those all have soy anyway.

Debbie Main 12 months ago

wow!

Paige Dubdub 12 months ago

I totally wish all schools were nut-free because I obviously want all kids to be safe, BUT… In all honesty, it’s really hard to honor nut-free without being required to. We are meat-free, egg-free, soy-free due to other household allergies. My kids simple won’t eat food unless it’s yummy, and what the heck can I feed my kids all those hours at school? I sure don’t want to send only fruit and bread and sugary snacks, or they’ll be irritable and have low attention span. They like healthy food but the teachers can’t sit down and coach my kids through eating green beans and yogurt each day, ha. I sympathize, I worry about kids allergic to nuts. There needs to be a way to feed my kids. :/

Amy Stewart 12 months ago

My son is allergic to red apples, so that means he can’t have apple juice, apple cider, apple sauce, apple butter, apple jelly, or most kid fruit juices. Teachers would give me such a hard time because they felt like there was no way that was a real allergy. Well in 1st grade the teacher gave everyone a juicy juice and my son had projectile vomiting and explosive butt issues within 10 minutes. We have to be really careful, now that he is 14 he is always making sure there is no apple product in a food item.

Jessica Saxton Preiman 12 months ago

This is my worse nightmare. My 16 month old is severely allergic to peanut butter, green beans, chickpeas, peas, and eggs. I am so worried as he gets older!

Amy Whaley 12 months ago

My kiddos are allergic to dairy and I’m so so so thankful that it causes only tummy issues and is not anaphylaxis. Hugs mama as I can only imagine what you’re going through.

Ricki Weinman Dworkin 12 months ago

Please don’t make beat yourself up. Everyone makes mistakes. I get anaphylactic reactions sometimes and the docs can’t figure out what from – yes, have been tested for each ingredient to no avail. I carry an benedryl everywhere. I’m glad I read this b/c I had no idea that the reaction can come back. My allergist never told me.

Anne Marie Sparano Johnson 12 months ago

My worst nightmare as I send my baby off to Kindergarten tomorrow with a nut allergy. :( So sorry you had to go thru this.

Lisa Kriss 12 months ago

Oh wow! I have two with nut allergies- a close call but nothing like that! People who don’t have to worry about this don’t get it. Thank God your child is ok!!!

Laura Stickels 12 months ago

We got our 12 month old the flu shot.everyone kept pushing it. She almost died. I’ve never felt such immense guilt. She’s allergic to eggs (flu shot is based from egg protein) and peanuts. I know the fear when someone gives your child a snack abd you didn’t read the label 10x first! I’m glad you abd your son are safe and symptom free! Thankyou four sharing your story.

Kirsty Whybrow 12 months ago

Thank you for sharing this experience. I know I tend to get lulled into a false sense of security as my daughter’s reactions get less common and/or severe – a stark reminder to be ever vigilant. Lisa Taylor, you might be interested in this but have the tissues ready!

Lorraine Rainy Shaw 12 months ago

OMG – with the tears on this one. That poor mom. I canNOT even imagine.

Jill Loveland 12 months ago

I gave my child a protein bar with cashews; that’s how we found out he was allergic to them :( I live in a state of fear I’ll miss it in the ingredients one time…. This was a hard article to read.

Bernadette Harding Priest 12 months ago

My daughters school just went nut free. It’s not hard to send a nut free lunch. Really, it’s not hard at all. Fresh fruits, veggies, berries, lunch meat and cheese. Plenty of breads out there that do not come contact with nuts (I buy in bulk from Costco). We use Sun butter instead of peanut butter and IMO it’s just as tasty. I pack lunches every day for 2 children too.

Denise Heaney 12 months ago

I bawled my eyes out reading this. My kids school is nut free. I have no problem whatsoever with this. I make my son wash his face and hands if he has pb on toast for breakfast. I am so sorry you went thru this. Hugs

Abigail Michael 12 months ago

Heart in mouth reading this! x

Neet Dhaliwal 12 months ago

My son has severe peanut allergy and this is my worst fear, I couldn’t read the article without sobbing my eyes out..its pathetic when I hear other mothers complaining about having to pack nut free lunches, or suggesting separate tables, do you really love freaking peanuts so much that willing to risk another child’s life.

Caitlin Boyle 12 months ago

This made me cry. So scary.

Diannah Rush 12 months ago

Tears in my eyes from this. The anxiety I feel for my peanut/egg allergic child is sometimes overwhelming. Our school is not peanut free unfortunately and I have schooled my kiddo on the rules to keep her safe as well as I can. It takes a village though.

Kimberly Dey 12 months ago

Our sons class room is nut free but they can have nuts at lunch which doesnt make any sense, but even before I knew the school was nut free I made sure I made most everything and bought sunflower butter for sandwiches I would feel awful if we were the cause of someone’s reaction

Jeanne Marie 12 months ago

As the mother of a cooks with a nut allergy, I can relate. My son was about a year old and I let him have a taste of my peanut butter cup ice cream. Everything else happened so quickly. I was not prepared to have to deal with my baby being intubated. It drives me crazy when parents complain about their child being denied their favorite lunch of pb&j. When you try to explain that it can kill your child they don’t seem to care. I actually had one mother tell me that I was overreacting.

Heather Paish 12 months ago

WOW i cant even imagine. i have a friend with a peanut allergy and a friend whos kids are peanut free. this just scared the hell out of me. we dont have food allergies and i admit i was one of those “oh come on seriously” people. now i want to get an epipen

Liz Tavares 12 months ago

Wow… This article gives me anxiety just honking about it. My 9m has a major egg allergy and we didn’t find out until we gave her egg and her mouth swelled. Now we carry around an epipen and I hope I never have to use it

Kristy Cossette Moylette 12 months ago

Thank you for sharing this story. There is truly never a moment that I am not thinking about what my sone will be eating or what he will be near. I have a hard time getting people to understand that food or products cannot even be produced in a facility with peanuts in it. This story really helped me to realize that all the extra caution I take in our daily lives IS worth everything to my little boy. We miss a lot of social events and I am sure there are some that think we are over the top or overprotective but I would rather see him alive and well. Our little guy is two and I pray everyday that someday he will not longer have this allergy. I feel like it is hard to explain to people just how serious this is and how it can be a life or death situation. I hope this spreads some awareness for all allergies. I appreciate that other parents are willing to go the extra effort (when their child does not have the allergy) to possibly save my child or another child from having a reaction. Thank god this little guy is ok and I hope he never has anything like this happen again. Sending hugs to his family.

Kathy 12 months ago

I am so so sorry that you had to go through this. I have a child allergic to peanuts and understand the daily fight you experience in feeding your child. I balled while reading your story as that is one of my greatest fears. Please forgive yourself and know that everyone makes mistakes. NO ONE is perfect. Unconditional love works both ways, from parent to child and child to parent.

Rachel Jackson Krieger 12 months ago

I have a severe peanut allergy and my 3 year old son has the same allergy. I’m not sure there’s any level of allergy but severe when it comes to peanuts. I know there is a level of frustration that comes with not being able to pack the typical PB&J for kiddos with no allergies, especially since it’s a great source of protein, however, I don’t think the frustration trumps the true danger kids with peanut allergies live with daily. It’s terrifying and limiting allergy. Imagine my terror the day I walked into daycare and a kid was sitting next to my son eating a PB sandwich despite my repeated warnings to the school admins. So, to those parents whose kids don’t have allergies, peanuts being the topic of this article, I sincerely appreciate the sacrifice and related frustration with figuring out alternative lunches. Thank you.

Amy Riddle 12 months ago

We have a peanut butter table in our grade school. If you bring pb for lunch you sit there and after they make sure the students wash their hands very well and the table is completely sanitized. There is nothing with tree nuts in it allowed in the classrooms.

Angela Kelly 12 months ago

As a mother of a severe food allergic child this story brought me to tears. Our first episode of anaphylaxis my son was 2 months old.

Karen Phillips 12 months ago

I don’t even have a child with allergies, and I bawled my eyes out reading this. I can totally identify with the feeling of mommy guilt and I applaud this mama for sharing a story that could save another child’s life.

Rebecca Lawhorn Huff 12 months ago

Been dealing with severe food allergies with both our boys for 13 + years. Bless your heart, I’m so sorry you had to deal with this! So glad your baby is ok!

Raylene Hansen 12 months ago

Since preschool we’ve been required not to send snacks that contain even traces of nuts. I don’t mind it at all – we’re lucky not to have any allergies like that!

Shannon Reaves Boone 12 months ago

I have no problem with the nut free rules. I have a child and husband with very serious latex allergies though and the school seems clueless. They handle nut allergies well, so I’m not sure why this allergy is different. There was a giant piece of art work put up outside my daughter’s classroom with 24 partially blown up latex balloons. The artwork was created and placed there by a teacher. This is our 3rd year at this school. I had to be the mean mom and have it moved.

Kristen Donohue 12 months ago

Honestly, if you can still make the weak argument “but what about MY healthy child” after reading this article, you’re an ass.

Jayne Mather Crosby 12 months ago

My son’s class is nut free this year and I thought it was inconvenient since his favorite snack is PB crackers, but after this article, I’m more then happy not to expose anyone to them!

Emily Zeb 12 months ago

Made me bawl

alicia 12 months ago

I take for granted that my child, like myself has no major allergies. some hayfever in the spring but nothing life threatening. i am still sitting here crying. what if it was my child. I’ve never thought about it when i pack him off to school with lunch. sure, i watch allergins when it comes to ‘class snacks’ but ive never thought about what HIS lunch box could do.

im so sorry. to all the allergin moms. i am so so sorry. so sorry that you go through this. so sorry my thoughtlessness in my sons lunch could do to your family. ill be careful. and read twice. i promise

Caitlin Marshall 12 months ago

So weird how nobody back in my younger days (early 90s) didn’t seem to have peanut allergies. Hmm. I know they are real but seriously, how can you REQUIRE there to be no peanut products at all? Pbj are healthy, filled with protein needed for lunch, and cheap. Maybe there should be a special table for kids with peanut allergies. That way young kids won’t be sharing Food?

Attie Lordan 12 months ago

But be aware nut allergies CSN happen at any age.

Attie Lordan 12 months ago

We have a ban in classroom, but they can have pb in cafetería. There is a nut free table.

Stephanie Lewis 12 months ago

I am a special needs bus assistant, almost all of my kids have serious allergies, you name it, it’s on their info sheets! This was good for me to read. Even though I’ve been trained to use one, I didn’t know the things that can happen afterwards. Thank you!

Dawn Mc Bee Pillette 12 months ago

Thank you for sharing, my son is 16 with peanut allergy, I say a little prayer everyday that he will be okay

Robin Abbott Griesinger 12 months ago

As a mom of a child with a peanut allergy, this story brought me to tears. I can’t imagine this happening to my son, and I pray that I never have to use the EpiPen. One reaction was more than enough. So sorry you had to go through this horrifying experience, Robyn :(

Delayney 12 months ago

I was diagnosed with food allergies pretty much by 6 months old (milk and soy) and to tree nuts by 2 1/2. Luckily I grew up without having to use my EpiPen but I was taught how to use it on myself. Now at 25 I’m still seriously allergic to tree nuts and soy and mildly allergic to milk protein and with a toddler I am petrified every time I give him a new food that he’ll show an allergy been lucky so far! I’m glad your little guy is alright and cross my fingers that this doesn’t happen again!

Rose Hansen 12 months ago

Avoid sending foods that are s risk…

Krista Ollendorff 12 months ago

If me packing a peanut free lunch saves another parent from that horror story then it is worth it a million times over. How terrifying.

Sarah Bench 12 months ago

This had me sobbing! I hope I never have to use an epipen on my daughter with extreme allergies.

Skiingmom 12 months ago

Well, this article has convinced me to never bring food to my child and his classroom or baseball team, because if someone’s own mother who is intimately aware of the allergies and is well-versed on reading labels can mess up, I sure as h@ll could, because I have my own crosses to bear and think about when buying food. Can you imagine being a stranger and being responsible for that? Can you imagine being sued by the parents, never being able to forgive yourself, the social pariah you would be? I think it would be way easier if the kids with life threatening allergies eat their own food, like they used to. I know if my child had those kind of issues, he wouldn’t be allowed to touch food that I hadn’t inspected and approved.

Aerin Freno 12 months ago

I see no problem in packing things that are totally peanut free, so far, none of my children have had allergies to anything we know of, but if they did, I would expect other parents to have enough decency to understand and not put my child in risk of a terrible, possibly fatal allergic reaction

Jess Townsend 12 months ago

Whoa. That was terrifying. So glad my child does not have a nut allergy!

Gwen Welker-Van Laeken 12 months ago

Wow. Powerful. I had no idea about the relapse. Tough read.

Malyssa Mays 12 months ago

I’m all for peanut free lunches. I’d never want me or my child to go through this, and I wouldn’t want any other mommies or kids to go through this either!

Angela Additon 12 months ago

Wow. I had no idea there could be a relapse. This is a must read.

Amy Folgate-Fager 12 months ago

I am completely understanding of the nut free lunch and would be devastated to see any child suffer….. However, I was completely bummed when my Autistic son got his lunch tossed, because I didn’t know about the whole nut free thing and the only protein he’ll eat. That works in a lunch box is peanut butter. We just moved here and our old school wasn’t nut free and I wasn’t aware of the rule of no peanuts. With my son’s Autism, he has a lot of food adversions…. A LOT!!! his list of will eats is slim to none and peanut butter is that one of those foods.

Nicole Lynn 12 months ago

As a NP I don’t go on any vacation with my epi pen!!! You just never know what allergies can arise…it’s not the first exposure to something that can cause a fatal reaction it’s the second or subsequent exposure. Never forget the kid who died at the Chinese restaurant in florida whose mom had taken him there before and he was fine, then dropped dead (severe allergy to msg), it was all over the news when I was in high school. I’m not annoyed to pack peanut free lunches. Though my kids don’t have peanut allergies, many kids these days do.

Debbie Hurtado 12 months ago

Holy crap. My heart was pounding as I read that! Our school doesn’t have any allergy sufferers right now so no policies are in place, but you can believe I’d be on board and vigilant when and if there is one. It takes a village.

Rachael Plantenga 12 months ago

Ugh, such a heartwrenching article. I’m glad it all worked out in the end though. Allergies are scary, we’re going through it with our 9 month old at the moment :/

Michelle Anderson 12 months ago

The only part i find “annoying” is my daughter isn’t allowed to have ANYTHING that MAY have at some point been made in a factory that once thought about using nuts BUT our peanut allergy moms can send kit kats etc.

Catherine Lavallee 12 months ago

I actually don’t have to, but if I did I wouldn’t complain!

Miranda 12 months ago

This story had tears in my eyes. God bless you. <3

Tania 1 year ago

I am crying reading this, as a mother of a peanut-tree nut allergy son this is my nightmare. We do our best to protect our children but sometimes things get through our safety nets. Thank you for your honesty and reminding me that reactions are not consistent.

Heather 1 year ago

This is my worst nightmare and I’m sorry you had to experience it. I thank you for sharing some critical observations about symptoms and relapse potential. I too have failed to properly read a label and almost had a serious reaction as a result.

Try to forgive yourself for human error. All we can ever do is our best. Prayers to you and your family.

Angie 1 year ago

So scary!!! :( I just want everyone to look into NAET.com if your kids have allergies. It has saved my life knowing about it.

Kristina 1 year ago

I’m so glad everything turned out OK. I’ve also been scared to use the EpiPen and have ended up in the ER twice for food allergies (once each for my two children). I am insane about checking food labels over and over again (even things we regularly buy) and we don’t even go out to eat, but it still happens to the best of us. Hugs!

Carly 1 year ago

Robyn, I also have something when I was tired that I still have not fully forgiven myself for. It turns my stomach in knots to think of what you’re doing to yourself because I do it to myself too. Please wrap your arms around yourself and know that it’s NOT FAIR to hold yourself to a standard of inhuman perfection. It’s all finished and behind you. Now you know a few things you didn’t know before and that will help protect your family going forward. Precious mama, you are forgiven.

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JenB 1 year ago

You are doing your best. No one is perfect. I know how you feel.

Stacey 1 year ago

Thank you so much for sharing this! I feel like I am also in the waiting game. I ask myself all the time if I will know when to use the epi-pen. I learned so much from what you wrote. You may have saved many lives by sharing this experience! Thanks again and so glad your little one is ok!

Samantha Williams 1 year ago

Crying my eyes out after reading this. Had a very similar experience recently. Tired and rushing I somehow managed to give my multiple allergic son cow’s milk instead of soya milk. The horror was indescribable. Don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself no matter what people say. I’m supposed to keep him safe, if he can’t trust me who can he trust? I also chickened out of giving him thr Epi-pen for all the same reasons. Rushed him to hospital with me hovering the epipen over his leg. Why didn’t I just do it? Having seen the amazing effect of the adrenaline they gave him in hospital I won’t hesitate next time. My son kept telling me it was ok it wasn’t my fault but that just broke my heart even more. Living with life threatening allergies is a nightmare. Hopefully in time we will learn to forgive ourselves and move on.

Holly Miller 1 year ago

Bless you, nobody is perfect. I could not imagine how you felt, how terrifying. I am glad he is ok now and don’t be so hard on yourself! He sounds like a very marvelous and happy kid.

Brian 1 year ago

Be happy you can provide your children with food in the first place. Many don’t think of what the gut wrenching feeling must be like for mothers in third world countries that are forced to watch their children starve to death. You are a great mother. Thanks for sharing this. I’m tempted to wake my son up and hug him. Much love.

Beth 1 year ago

I’m so sorry about your horrible experience but so glad he’s ok now. I know you know that things, but for others who might not I just wanted to remind people that anytime two body systems are reacting (i.e., skin and respiratory), use the Epi. We once controlled such a reaction with Benadryl (no ER or other follow-up required — the reaction stopped), but our allergist told us we should have used the Epi. I know now that that’s the best protocol to follow to stop the reaction, and it’s what I’ll do if we ever have another reaction.

Also, many ER doctors aren’t well trained to deal with anaphylaxis and will try to send the patient home after the reaction subsides. The advice I’ve gotten and would follow is to stay in the ER lobby for four hours if the doctor refuses to allow the patient to stay. Recurring reactions are pretty common. Better to have “wasted” four hours than to start all over again at home.

Catherine 1 year ago

I have three children with anaphylaxis, and for 9 years I have had to read, reread and read ingredients for a third time because you never now when they will change what’s in it, or change the manufacture site that suddenly uses an allergic food type. It is a PITA! I was caught out last week, when a well known brand of crisps changed ingredients with no mention. Luckily, I managed to rip it out of my sons hand before he ate it. I almost killed my first child too, and the worry never leaves, but you learn to live with it and you must learn to trust other people. We spend a lot of time at home avoiding restaurants and doing self catering holidays. I don’t think people realize just how isolating anaphylaxis can be. You are a great mother, DO not beat yourself up? Accidents happen. If I am honest I have nearly killed two of my kids, because I didn’t read the labels carefully enough…but I don’t think of it like this…….I have two kids who survived an exposure, and it has made me a better career…certainly a better baker! Keep strong and get in touch when you feel down. X

C. King 1 year ago

I’m hysterically crying. I can’t imagine what you went through and are going through. Just know he loves you so much. As mothers we make mistakes- but our children just need us to do our best. Everything happens for a reason and you have to just take this and learn from it and grow wiser. Cheers to little boys… aren’t they the best :)

Jennifer 1 year ago

Hugs! I am so glad that your son is ok! I am so glad that you shared your story — your article will help other people. You are giving back to the universe!

Giving the epi pen is so hard, I know it too well! Your son saying the cookie was spicy is like when my son (then 3) said the pancakes we gave him were spicy. I made him take another bite since they were made special for him — and then I proceeded to administer the epi a few minutes later.

It took a long time to recover. Its been two years and I’m still not totally over it. Your article echos so many of my feelings. And there have been other times when I’ve made the ingredient mix-up — its hard to be perfect 100% of the time. Food allergies suck. http://snowflakesinjanuary.com/2012/03/14/food-allergies-and-fear-of-restaurants/

Hug your son, be easy on yourself.

Brid 1 year ago

About the universe telling you or leading you to something, think about what you learned from this episode , you mentioned about some facts you never knew, this was your path, it had to happen for you to learn some information that will save your, or some other person the next time. Remember what you learned because it happen for a reason, all things that day led to this emergency. Your are a wonderful mother.

JB 1 year ago

Thank you for this!! Your story reminded me that I need to go study that piece of paper that I have on my fridge – the most important piece of paper in my house – that lists all of the symptoms of an allergic reaction. I also need to go make sure I have an EpiPen in my purse and in the diaper bag (and not both in one bag). Thank you for these important reminders.

And, you did react fast enough. You are the one who went upstairs and turned on the light. Peace.

Michele 1 year ago

I am the mom of two older children. Be kind to yourself is the most awesome comment.

Michele 1 year ago

I am not a religious person, but there is one line that I think about often and certainly think about as I read this … There but for the grace of G-d go all of us. I doubt there is a parent alive who has not at one point or another done something incredibly stupid and unsafe, or come close to it – for the most part, we all luck out. I am not going to tell you anything you don’t want to hear, but I will tell you this, you are not alone and probably every parent who read this remembers “that time” something happened and it was fortunate that it didn’t end as badly as it could have. Nothing is going to rid you of that feeling but try to be kind to yourself, he’s OK and now you are even better prepared should this happen again. And I learned a few things that will help me given that our daughter has some food allergies. Thank you for being brave enough to share.

Jennifer 1 year ago

Yes call the manufacturer they have Free Epi Pen Programs and Free Epi Pen Cards. The last ones I got where free, it was a 2 pack.

Jennifer 1 year ago

I am an adult who suffers from serious food allergies and half the time i don’t know whether to chug Benedryl, or Epipen myself. It is so hard. I have been alone at home with my daughter had an allergic reaction and needed to Epi myself while I waited for my husband to come home and take us to the ER. Nothing is as scary in the moment as an anaphylaxis episode.

I have the longest list of ingredients to avoid; Wheat, Barley, Rye, Pork, Beef, most red food dyes. Environmental; Trees, grass, pollen, cats, dogs, smoke. I am starting to wonder if there are other allergies that haven’t been diagnosed yet as just this week I have had 3 reactions that were controlled with Benedryl instead of Epipen but I carry 2 Epipens everywhere all the time.

Never blame yourself but, do not fear the Epipen it is a life saving tool and I never ever enjoy using it but, the times I have I knew it was that or death. Don’t second guess your reaction like so many people do. If you are swelling, coughing, confused then it’s time.

Maddy 1 year ago

People will forgive you faster than you will forgive yourself.
We all make mistakes, whether they’re extreme, or not.
You have extreme bravery to share this story with everyone, for you COULD be judged.
Remember, everyone makes horrible mistakes.
Stop saying “What if?” because that will get you nowhere.
Live in the present, not the past.
Big love, Maddy (:

Mary Lehman 1 year ago

My daughter has an allergie to bees and wasps. I can’t even afford to get her wpipens. They are sitting at the pharmacy. She is supposed to have 6 pens. Two for school, two for her allergy bag she carries for sports and travel and two at home. With the new silver plan we purchased on the health care reform site our copay for the 6 pens is $912. With the $100 discount from the epipen site its $612. She doesn’t have any wpipens right now at all. I don’t know what to so. Any advice?!

risa 1 year ago

I cried at this as well, before i had my son i probably wouldnt have, and even though my wonderful liitle monster didnt develop a nut or dye or gluten or dairy allergy, i have lived the nightmare of panic watching my best buddy in tenth grade slump over on the school bus in the middle of anaphelaxis and how bad my hand shook unzipping his backpack to retrieve his epipen. Telling myself to slam it straight and hard and hold in, two slow breaths in/out-1, in/out-2, ok to pull out needle doing in on 3, like giving dehydrated calves vaccines. I could not imagine that fear applied to my baby, i cant imagine i would be able to focus on Work Or tasks without fearing the worst, id want to put him into a bubble i am amazed at your fortitude. I am sorry that that came about as it did, but along the way the almost catastrophic mistake may have had to happen, cuz it will save his life later on. God bless you lady, kiss those beautiful children and tell your son hes much braver than i would ever hope to be

TiffanyAC 1 year ago

Thank you for your candidness and honesty in this article. It helps the rest of us knowing we are not the only moms capable of making mistakes. So glad your child is safe!

DeeDee 1 year ago

I just bawled my eyes out. I have been here. <3

Nithya Krishnanandam 1 year ago

Hope things are ok now, but when a reaction doesn’t seem to get better even if it is smaller, go to the hospital, even if you think he is not severely reacting…They’ll check for the oxygen level and decide on treatment. Also, it is ok to give Epipen when not needed than not giving it when needed.

amanda 1 year ago

sweet madam blue i wept so hard reading this. this happened to my child, and i didnt have a fucking epi pen, because he hadn’t seen the allergist yet. so i drove to the drugstore and tried to pour a whole bottle of benedryl down his throat, but he couldn’t swallow it and then threw up all over me. The only thing i can think of that is comparable to your son saying ‘mama i think im going to be OK with that cookie’ was when my son, coughing and hurling and wheezing and swelling, looked at me after puking, and said ‘im sorry, mama’.

thank you for helping me feel less alone.

Sarah 2 years ago

I can empathise with this. My partner has allergies to fish and nuts and I ended up sending him to a&e once. I bought these southern fried goujon things from Lidl. I assumed that ‘southern fried goujon’ automatically mean’t chicken, I was wrong. I never even dreamed that such a thing came in fish variety. I do all of the grocery shopping in our home and I stuck the goujon things in the freezer for him to put in the oven for himself. It was about 6-7am in the morning and he got up and put them in the oven for himself, not seeing that they were actually ‘white fish’ and not chicken. He ended up eating half of one before he realised that someone needed to dial 999 and he swelled up like a balloon and began drawling everywhere. I looked at the packaging and saw in tiny writing ‘goujons with southern fried seasoning made out of white fish’. I was seriously annoyed that the packaging could be so dubious and I never even thought such a food item existed. For me goujons and southern fried = chicken. I didn’t even think twice and the item had been purchased from a freezer containing numerous chicken products. I couldn’t even go to the hospital with him because I had to stay home with our 15 month old. This actually all happened today and I am currently sat here whilst he is all by himself in hospital… I feel horrible… He hasn’t had an allergy attack in years, so hadn’t bothered to order an epi pen for himself. I feel very cross with Lidl for being so dubious about what is in their food. The food should have been titled ‘Fish goujons’ instead of being so misleading and this never would have happened. It was such an easy mistake to make and my partner didn’t even notice. It just goes to show that they hide things or don’t make them very clear and that you have to check EVERYTHING.

Libby 2 years ago

You have me in tears reading this. I too have a 3 year old son with a severe peanut allergy. I stumbled across your blog because my son had a reaction (this was not the first, but thank God this is the closest he has ever come to peanuts) after touching a toy at a new friends house. The girl next door eats a LOT of peanut butter and I didn’t know this. If she had any residue left over on her hands after washing them and touched a toy, then my son touched the same toy later he will have a reaction. That is the severity of his. I pray often that he doesn’t ever ingest it because I just don’t know what would happen. Reading your story was like reading my worst nightmare that has always been in my head. I’m so sorry you had to live that. I’m so thankful that I came a crossed your blog though, because I learned a lot of things about anaphylactic symptoms that I never knew. I think doctors/allergists need to make parents more aware of ALL the symptoms when they diagnose a severe allergy. Anyway, I was researching because although the incident with my son happened 3 days ago, and I’ve been giving him Benadryl around the clock, his reaction has gotten slightly worse. I was trying to find out if this is normal. In the past it did take a couple days for it to go away when he had a mild reaction like this, but it started gradually looking better each day.. This looks worse. I guess I will be watching him close. Thank you for sharing your story.. You might have just saved some lives in the future with this new information that many moms just didn’t know.

Stefanie 2 years ago

Do all members of your family know how to administer the epipen now? The first time must be very scary. Some where in the house maybe you need a “cheat sheet” large clear instructions of what to do so when it happens you don’t have to remember what to do. Stick to front of refrigerator or by the phone. It is hard to think clearly when it is your child.

Vanessa 2 years ago

That sounds so scary! Good thing your boy has so many attentive people in his life! Like you said, imagine how different everything would’ve turned out if just one thing was different, like if he were sleeping, or if his teacher didn’t grab that list. I wish you would listen to all of my fellow commenters about not beating yourself up, but that’s not really advice that any mother would be able to completely follow right away. However, your Rory (love that name, BTW!) is now fine and he already seems to have forgiven you. Hopefully those are the first steps that will lead to you forgiving yourself.

Affton 2 years ago

What an amazing story! Thank the Lord your little guy is okay! I am so glad you shared your experience. My son also suffers from many food allergies. Last Halloween he ate 1 peanut m&m while I was busy taking pictures of him, his sister, and cousins. He went into shock and we ran him to the hospital (literally across the subdivision). I did not use his Epi Pen but definitely should have. My son’s allergist reminded me at his last appointment that Epi Pens work better the sooner they are used after the incident occurs. Thanks again for sharing, awareness is everything!

Bagus Bali 2 years ago

Good work Emma excatly right!

Emma Reynolds 2 years ago

I definitely still worry all the time and she is not even at school yet. Like the other day we were out and Shaun said we could get some flourless orange cake to share. I had to point out that it would be made with almond meal so she couldn't eat it.

Bagus Bali 2 years ago

I know Kylie Gray-Scholz Emma Reynolds it's so hard to explain the gut wrenching feeling of when the kids are eating is it if safe? When someone else has prepared the food or your kids are with someone else will they be safe will they understand the importance of the situation, will they have good intentions but think ooh this should be ok I don't want your child to miss out. I worry constantly when Campbell is away from me even if he's in Marty's care will he forget that one time? But there comes a time I/we (depending on age) have to give some freedom and responsibilty to them….doesn't mean we like it though!

Kylie Gray-Scholz 2 years ago

Fighting tears! Reliving the epipen! Thankful! Xoxo

Anshu Malhotra 2 years ago

Michelle, this is really frightening…but I believe that everything will be fine, just ensure you think ahead and plan as much as you can…

Emma Reynolds 2 years ago

Scary Michelle!!

Amanda Gordon 2 years ago

Wow. Pretty poweful reading Michelle. I had tears in my eyes!!

Bagus Bali 2 years ago

OMG my son suffers Anaphalaxis and we live in Indonesia where nuts are everywhere. We carry an epipen (which you can't buy here) with us everywhere we go, we have a spare at home and one at school. I did not know about the after reaction I have never been told about that before, I can not believe I have not been told that! We have taught both our son 7yrs old and his 9yr old brother how to administer the epipen and make my son give himself his antihistamine for all his other allergies. We do this so our son can take responsibility for his health care and if we aren't with him nows how to medically treat himself. Lately I have been trying to give him more independence about being away from us but reading this makes me wonder if that is the correct thing to do? If we lived in our home town Australia I would be much more open to it but here nuts are everywhere but more importantly contamination is a big issue and the traffic so bad that getting an Ambulance is not an option it would be us fighting the traffic to get to hospital. But we live here because most of his other allergies have either gone or are very managed here compared to Australia. I often wonder if I'm being over protective but now I think I'm being pro-active. Thank you for your post I'm so glad I found it.

sleep consultants 2 years ago

unknown allergies can be scary

Anonymous 2 years ago

My brother was born with anaphylaxis strength allergies to egg, milk and nuts. It can be tough but don't over stress yourself about what could happen. My mum once gave him angel delight made with soya milk when the powder itself had milk in, so you certainly aren't the only one. As for the epi-pen, my brother at about 7 years old was showing his friend how to use it and accidently injected himself with it. He was a little hyper for a while but no adverse effects so even if you aren't 100% sure just use it anyway! Accidents can (and probably will) happen but it is never too young to teach your son about the allergies he has and what the effects may be. And who knows, if he is like my brother he could grow out of some of the allergies and be eating those cookies safely in a few years time.

Cathrine 2 years ago

Now that I’ve read the article (sorry for jumping to conclusions) I realize where you are coming from. I’m not sure where the idea that prehospital care workers think it is dangerous comes from, as I haven’t met one who did. However, the beginning of the article states that many of the patients who died either did not have an epi pen or it was expired, although not commonly known (as is much about the prehospital care world( there are multiple levels of prehospital care providers, an restrictions on what each level can do. The basic EMT is usually only trained to use PAM, patient assisted medications, basically help you give yourself/your child something that is already prescribed to them. Most of the test of the levels have access to their own medications and can give what they want (within their protocols). Depending on how rural of an area you live, your access to the higher level (ALS providers) can vary greatly. Paramedics, like fire and police officers, are not paid very well, many rural areas rely on volunteers to staff their units, and (am not knocking volunteers, I am one myself) are often severely understaffed. Part of this is due to lack of public interest, funding, and quite honestly a lot of people don’t have the time or money to donate to becoming an EMS member. I was lucky enough to volunteer in a high call volume area, but many rural areas (those more likely to have volunteers) are not high call volume areas and thus don’t garner the “exciting” calls that everyone expects. So maybe the area they are speaking from is talking about a very BLS area, access to paramedics is limited, and this the ambulance is more reliant on you having the proper medications. I don’t know the exact reason. I will say I’m ashamed of the Dr quoted in that article, if he sees a lack of knowledge among his EMS peers, he should work towards better education. It can only help in a field where public misinformation only hinders our ability to provide quality care. (Sorry for the two long ramble posts)

therobynnest 2 years ago

Hi Catherine, thanks for your comment.

I don’t even remember what that article said and it now looks like it requires a log in to view it when it didn’t in the past. I wish I’d written out what it was I was talking about.

I think it had to do with some EMT’s waiting on certain events rather than administering the EpiPen right away. Like, waiting for wheezing rather than realizing the risk of heart attack is serious with anaphylaxis. I think the consensus now is to just give the damn EpiPen when you realize nuts were ingested.

I almost had to EpiPen my kid 2 weeks ago again! He woke up at 1am with a croup cough so severe he thought he was dying. I couldn’t get it under control enough with cold air to drive him to the ER. Luckily after 5 minutes in the shower we could get him to the hospital but man, we were very close to using the EpiPen.

Cathrine 2 years ago

I actually want to ask how you think EMRs are misinformed about epi. I’m a paramedic myself and went through a lot of training (initially at the EMT stage and then at the medic stage) about all the medications I would be using in the field, as well as other ones I might encounter (such as all the meds my patients might be taking, I need to know what might interact with what I might give them, or if the med they are taking might be causing their symptoms- yay whacky side effects). Someone on here posted to elevate the child’s legs because cardiac arrest is a uncommon but possible side effect of epi, well yes, but pretty much only if you’re over 50 or you have pee existing heart conditions. Epi is adrenaline, so the side effects are pretty much the same as if you got really scared.
I actually was really pleased with her experience with the 911 system in this story because everyone was very supportive and we love having teaching moments. We realize we are seeing you at your worst, most fearful, and least clear headed. Double that when it involves your child.
Yes, some medical practitioners can be less well informed as others, for example the nurse on here who stated she didn’t know the reaction could reoccur, or let’s say Rory’s doctor who didn’t prescribe an EpiPen, and who had to almost be badgered into it. (Thank god for moms who fight like she did). I just don’t want people to categorize an entire profession, possibly based on one experience, or for whatever reason you have for making that assumption.

Dave 2 years ago

My wife and I worry about this all the time. We’ve even made the mistake of giving our daughter something to eat without checking the ingredients, usually because we assumed the other checked. We’ve been lucky…

Our allergist told us to not hesitate to use the EpiPen if we know she’s been exposed and is showing symptoms. He also said that most parents wait longer than they should because they are afraid of hurting their child. The fact is, the earlier you administer the EpiPen, the less suffering your child will go through.

I’m also a ski patroller. Our first aid training is beyond first responder but below EMT-Basic. I made the mistake of researching anaphylxis through emergency medicine sources. Though much scarier than how it’s talked about in layperson’s terms, looking at it through the detached perspective that is required of emergency responders has helped give me the resolve to know I won’t hesitate to administer the EpiPen at the first sign of anaphylaxis associated with a known or possible exposure. The consequences of waiting are far greater.

Another import thing for readers to know, not all people have the swelling that is typically associated with anaphylaxis. Our daughter does not. I had to rewrite her emergency plan at school. Their plan didn’t call for administration of the EpiPen until there was respiratory distress. Because she doesn’t have the swelling component, by the time she is having respiratory distress she is in decompensated shock and it’s way beyond the point when the EpiPen should have been administered. Just another reason why, if there are symptoms and a reasonable suspicion of exposure to a known allergen, you should not hesitate to administer the EpiPen.

Heather 2 years ago

While I am lucky in that my daughter is allergy free (so far), your post really struck a chord. Because now I have an idea how my mother must have felt every time I went into anaphylactic shock.

You see, we didn’t know I had any food allergies until I was 5. And we learned about most of them the hard way. And to add to it, there were foods I had been eating for years before finally reacting making it even scarier.

I can say this. While I might have been mad at my mother at the time of an epipen injection, when I look back, I realize she was a hero for how many times she had to save my life. One day, your son will feel that way about you .

Debbie Molander 2 years ago

Omg….my worst nightmare

Robyn 2 years ago

Hi Jen, thanks. :)

Maria 2 years ago

I’m still shaking from reading this. It’s been 9 years since my son was diagnosed with food allergies and I did not know about euphoria and confusion as symptoms. I saw him with full body hives, swelling, vomiting, and a hoarse cry that likely meant throat closure at 9 months old from his initial milk reaction. I saw him repeatedly projectile vomit at 3 years old after his initial walnut reaction. And I saw his anxiety, nausea, and swollen eyes just last month as he failed his first food challenge in 6 years. I thought I knew all there was to know about this horrible journey I wish we didn’t have to take but I learned something new today. Thank you for that.

JenKehl 2 years ago

Hey Robyn – This is Jen who wrote the post below yours :-) I don’t know why I’m just reading this now, but man…. tears. You know I know how you feel, and what you went through. And still go through. It’s a tough road being the mama of a kid who can be killed by random food in his environment.
I’m sure a lot of people will really be helped by reading this.

Arachnophobe 2 years ago

… My heart… that is the scariest thing I could ever imagine. The idea of this happening to a child of mine terrifies me.

Katherine Houston 2 years ago

Wow, in tears reading this as I have a three year old with possible nut allergy. We've just been told to avoid nuts due to her blood test results but they won't do further testing until she's nearer five. A lot more worried now.

Community Supported Family Medicine 2 years ago

Thank you for this. I'm definitely passing it on to my patients/parents. I always recommend that people use their old expired epi-pens to practice injecting on an orange so that they have the experience once a year in case they ever need to use one. It's scary! I'm a physician and every case of anaphylaxis I've seen has scared me!

The Atomic Mom 2 years ago

I’m an allergy mom too. I hate hearing about these kinds of incidents, but thank you for sharing. It is a good reminder to always read labels, to always be vigilant, to never just assume that everything will be ok.

michelle 2 years ago

This literally brought tears to my eyes! I claim I nearly killed my kid this summer when I did the same thing. I gave him marshmallow fluff without reading the container. I assumed my husband read it when buying it. He assumed all fluff was the same. A half an hour he was vomiting at Wal-Mart. When he returned home and claimed to be starving I knew it was allergy and not stomach virus. My heart sunk when I knew I did it to him. It broke when he told me news sorry for making me cry. Thank God his never progressed. I something I could be as strong as you. Your story makes me realize how lucky we have been and how vigilant we need go be.

shouldclean 2 years ago

I’ve been in your shoes. I fed my son “bad” mac and cheese, I still feel bad about it 2 years later. Its not your fault, no matter how careful you are it can happen. I hope it never happens to you again.

Michelle Buckingham 2 years ago

I am so sorry that you went through this. My son also has food allergies and is allergic to peanuts but I am so thankful that they are not that bad. He had a reaction to allergy shots once where he needed an epi pen and I had a hard time holding it together and we were at the allergy clinic where they deal with this. I am happy your son is okay.

therobynnest 2 years ago

Thank you for this story. I posted it on my facebook. :)

therobynnest 2 years ago

Your child sounds like the perfect candidate for the paleo diet (sans eggs), and you can make all kinds of treats out of coconut flakes, coconut oil, raw sugar and cacao. We have reached the point that we don’t keep anything my son is allergic to in the house, except eggs. His list is also very long.

therobynnest 2 years ago

There was no 2nd hazelnut cookie. He did have an Enjoy Life (allergy-free, great brand) cookie that he got into the car with that morning on the way to the park but he did not eat it. He crossed his story, or maybe got it into his head that all cookies are bad– if that’s the case he has gotten over his cookie fear now.

Jennifer Gervais 2 years ago

This is my biggest fear. I am crying as I read your story that IS my biggest fear, that I will fail to protect my child. That I won't have the epipen when he needs it, he will find one of these things in our pantry and get into it, or I will miss one of these things in something I have fed him. He is allergic to wheat, oats, soy, egg, milk, and peanuts and they are EVERYWHERE…

Thank you for sharing this, I can only imagine how hard this was for you. I also did not know some of these symptoms!

Jessica Homa Greenwood 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story. I read the story again and wasn't sure about the second reaction- was it from the medicine wearing off or did he really get to the cookies again somehow? ( I thought it would be hard for a child in a carseat to do so, and on my first reading thought his story about cookies was part of the "euphoria and confusion" that can be a symptom.)
It really angers me when people don't take allergies seriously. There are too many opportunities for honest mistakes (like yours) to occur. I'm diligent but fearful we could miss something and I guess I don't get why others don't feel motivated to take these relatively easy steps to ensure another child's safety.
Thanks again for sharing

blair 2 years ago

I read this the other night and was not able to reach the end without tears. Your writing and emotion put me right there with you.
I’m glad tonight that I was so engaged with your story….
At gymnastics, my son had his first asthma attack since his very first one last winter (when we were handed his inhaler which I’ve always kept in my purse just in case).
I had your story and the EMT’s words in my head as the whole lobby was staring at us with worry in their eyes.
Somehow I did not freak out. Calm was retained.
This is so not like me…I’m a freaker-outer.

My 4 year old son took the inhaler like a champ (it’s not like you can really practice with those things) and he was still uneasy, but well enough to get into the car and we could come home.

Now that we’re home and comfortably breathing, I vaguely recall some pats on the back and “good job mom” from some of the other parents on the way out.

I can’t thank you enough for your sharing. It certainly saved us tonight!

therobynnest 2 years ago

Hives might be immediate. I’ve heard stories that vomiting is immediate but that didn’t happen with us. With us, it was about 1 hour after ingestion that the anayphylaxis set in.

Shawna Hilsabeck 2 years ago

if they are going to have a reaction will it be immediate?

therobynnest 2 years ago

We had his blood tested at 6 months old because we weren’t able to feed him fruits and vegetables without body rashes and contact dermatitis on his face. That’s how we found out about the peanut– he was really strictly breastfed. At 16 months the eczema was out of control so we did the skin prick test at an allergist and found a whole host of problems.

MomChalant 2 years ago

Nobody that I’m aware of in my family has allergies like these, but it’s something I constantly worry about. How did you find out your son was allergic? Can the doctors perform tests before you learn the hard way?

My gut kept sinking and sinking as I read further down your post. My heart is literally aching for you right now.

My son flipped backwards off of a 4 foot table when he was 4 months old. I can still hear his head slamming against the hardwood floors. My son is now 17 months old and I still vividly have the image in my head, and I think I always will. But now I realize that I know how to prevent accidents like that and it makes me feel better. <33

Tamara Lehmann 2 years ago

I'm fortunate enough that my daughter doesn't have allergies that require the use of an EpiPen but my best friends son has something like 15. We are always together and I've been shown how to use an EpiPen but I didn't know half the things in this article. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

Lisa Harrington Hernandez 2 years ago

I was in tears reading your story of almost losing your son. My heart goes out to you and yes, I completely understand your feeling of not wanting to hear you "acted quickly", "did the right thing", or even "saved his life"….as a mom, we ARE the ultimate protectors of our babies, from the moment they are conceived – there is no WAY we can easily back off of that. I hope he is doing well now, and that you reach a much more at peace place in time.

Sarah Juhl Hinspeter 2 years ago

Big hugs to you Danielle !

Danielle Ferguson 2 years ago

Absolutely awful feeling :/ we had a close call with a box of granola bars that I almost didn't double check.

Cindy Hooks Morrison 2 years ago

Sending you a GIANT hug! I have a son with a severe peanut allergy too. So sorry for this horrible day you had, but so glad that your sweet boy is ok.

Dawn 2 years ago

How scary! I would have done the exact same thing you did – starting with not reading the ingredients and sitting down to eat dinner. Have you asked your doctor about using the two Benedryl products together? On the Benedryl website, under FAQs – you aren’t suppose to give the topical and oral products at the same time – again, who knew – http://www.benadryl.com/faqs.
And I too had my kid in the street at about 1 month old. I was trying to multi task – like ALL mothers do and was walking the dog at the same time as the baby. I let go of the stroller to pick up the dog poop and the stroller went into the street – and I didn’t even NOTICE…if a car had been coming…forget it.
Good luck mama!

Victoria Kulli 2 years ago

As a nurse, I feel the need to add a comment here:

If you find yourself questioning whether or not to use the epipen…USE IT!

This is a time for questions later, act now.

Marta 2 years ago

I can’t possibly imagine what you’re going through. I’ve never been in that situation and don’t have children with allergies. But I did read this with a lump in my throat. I am so sorry this happened. So sorry.

Lots of hugs.

Amanda Jillian 2 years ago

HUGS!

Jenny Gordon 2 years ago

I was a mess reading this!! So scary!

Beth Kesselman Newmark 2 years ago

Robyn, I don't know you but have to tell you — BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. The good news is that today my son is 22 years old and a soldier in the Israeli army. They grow up, they learn to be vigilante and at age 4, they can read the words 'nut residue' by themselves! Don't beat yourself up — it is all part of a learning process. All children are unique and will have 'issues' in life — this is just a blip in the growing up process (for you and for your son). The most important lesson you can teach your son? Touch the food to your tongue/nibble first. All OK? Eat with gusto!

Tammy 2 years ago

I’m so sorry you had to go through that. Thanks for sharing — I’m sure it was hard to relive, and I’m sure it’ll make a difference.

therobynnest 2 years ago

Given the flurry of activity around this story for the past 4 days I’m nearly on the brink of thinking death by nuts is a certainty for my son. So I started looking for numbers for anaphylaxis deaths and it turns out, they are rare. Maybe that is why they make the news when they happen.

This article was comforting for that reason, but disturbing for the reasons that EMTs are so often misinformed about epinephrine.

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/780414

Melissa Ng 2 years ago

This post is so terrifying. I read it wicked fast, pretty sure I didn't breathe the whole time. I'm so sorry this happened to you and your munchkin. I'm sure someone has told you this already but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be aware that benadryl does nothing to stop an anaphylactic reaction. NOTHING. Yes, give your kid benadryl, it will help with the itchies, but also ALWAYS give the Epi-pen. Epinephrine is almost never harmful to give, but the risk of not giving it is unspeakable. ALWAYS GIVE THE EPI-PEN. And then always call 911, because of the rebound effect of the allergic reaction.

Jamie @ SensationalFamily 2 years ago

I can’t even imagine what you went through. After recently giving my first epi-pen for a peanut allergy I was a mess for days, to go through it 2 days in a row I would’ve crumpled. One of my best friends drove us to the hospital and I just bawled the entire way. Rory is lucky to have you, and you did great!

Mari Whalen 2 years ago

I've very happy Rory is ok and your a wonderful mother doing the best you can with a difficult circumstance ;).

Mari Whalen 2 years ago

Thank you for posting this, it's very scary stuff and people need to be educated everywhere! I have 3 small children and all of them have significant food allergies and we had 2 different scares w my son and daughter. I just wanted to share that my 2 sons have the peanut as well and my daughter was never tested bc she had peanut butter, candy bars with nuts, and even cashews 1x before. It didn't matter when one night she had a very significant issue with a cashew at a ball game. It can happen the 2nd time you eat something and yes it was also a delayed reaction. Plus, it can continue to reoccur hours later after the first time. The most recent information that we have gotten from our allergist is that it's normal to have to give 2/3 rounds of epinephrine when a reaction occurs. I have them everywhere my kids are and educate my children on their own allergies as well!

Momo 2 years ago

I feel so badly for you going through this. Please don’t be so hard on yourself. I’m a peanut allergy mom, too, and know the terror you must have felt and still feel. The worst for me was seeing my boy putting a chip in his mouth (from a bowl of sample chips) and at that exact moment, reading the sign on the table “fresh homemade tortilla chips cooked in peanut oil”. I about died and snatched the chip out of his mouth and thank the lord, he really didn’t have a reaction to it, I must have got it in time. I can remember just shaking and crying afterwards and feeling so tremendously guilty. Its so hard living with this fear. Be kind to yourself, you are doing everything you can.

Rachel Ciftci 2 years ago

You must forgive yourself, it was a mistake. Draw a line and learn from it and put it in a box!

therobynnest 2 years ago

Why are so many of our children having these allergies? It could be one thing or another, or a terrible synergy of several things. The post-1984 vaccination schedule. GMO corn and soy since the mid-90s being in all processed foods without warning us. A wheat-heavy diet causing leaky gut syndrome. For us, my child had a vaccine reaction at 2 months old– encephalitis. An allergic reaction to vaccines in his brain since we don’t have the myelin sheath protecting our nerves until we’re about 20. Instant eczema, instant contact rashes on his face and body to numerous things. Oral allergy syndrome and contact dermatitis at 4 months old. Terrible colic for nearly 6 months. His peanut allergy surfaced in a blood test 4 months later. Except for a few bites of banana and sweet potato on 2 occasions, he was a strictly breastfed baby.

therobynnest 2 years ago

Well, it isn’t my style to dramatize anything; I tend to tell it like it is, and that’s how it was. I asked the school director the next day how he handled it and she said he got over it very quickly; much more quickly than the night before.

But those things are the size of a heavy gauge upholstery needle; I don’t think my 3 year old would ever agree that they don’t hurt going in.

Heather 2 years ago

Aww Mama! You both had it hard. I know the ‘What Ifs’ are hard to stop, but you cannot beat yourself up. I am happy you have mentioned all of these other things that can happen afterwards, and the redesign. My mom has Lupus and it’s starting to cause allergies she never had before. At my brother’s wedding she told me I might have to use it if she accidentally eats something she is now allergic to. I am so glad I didn’t have to, because she didn’t mention the redesign or any of these other things and we were all at least 2hrs from a hospital. Thank you for sharing even though it was painful, you may have saved a few lives by posting this. Hugs!

Elsie PureRomance Williams 2 years ago

Oh my gosh! That is so scary! This had me in tears.

Gemma 2 years ago

I appreciated reading so many of these supportive and insightful comments. I really liked your post and you are a very effective writer. I wanted to add a thought. It’s not a criticism, just a thought:

It would be helpful for everyone to STOP dramatizing the use of an EpiPen. It doesn’t hurt. The (Jr) needle is 1/2″ long and is only 25 gauge. Yes, it’s scary to be in an emergency situation, but THE INJECTION DOESNT HURT. My son gets injections every night (another med, not related) with a larger gauge needle and doesn’t even blink. I’ve popped an EpiPen into my leg and I can confirm that it DOES NOT HURT. Practice with the EpiPen practice pen often and get used to the idea so that fear of the injection doesn’t cloud judgement.

Epinephrine is quite safe and especially warranted in an anaphylactic situation. In most accounts of anaphylactic emergencies that I read, the caregivers are waiting WAY too long to administer the EpiPen. My dad (critical care doc) sees lots of people who used their EpiPen TOO LATE during an episode. Pop that pen and call 911. Hedging can mean the difference between life and death.

Jennifer 2 years ago

But you didn’t. And you will have to keep telling yourself that over and over or you will not be able to get past this.

We all make mistakes. When my daughter was 18 months old, the girl who NEVER left my side, she ran into the street before I even realized she had stepped away from me. When she was almost four, she had croup so bad the urgent care nurse called 911 to get her to the hospital as quick as possible. We all have something. We are not all powerful or all knowing. The important thing is you did what needed to be done when it needed to be done. And now you know you can do it again, AND you know what to watch for.

9er Domestic 2 years ago

OMG… I don’t have words to express how scared I was for while reading this. I am at work right and I had to leave my desk to go cry in the bath. I was so upset for you and scared because recently I just found out my son Dexter is also allergic to peanuts. I was scared and nervous but now I am petrified to go through what you went through just writing to you makes me wanna cry. Why are so many of our children having all these allergies? It really sad that we don’t have something to fix it all and that we have to live in fear that someone or something along the way could mess it up. Or that we as mommies could unintentionally hurt them. I am not good in stressful situations and I think I would have reacted the same way. I read your latest post and thanks for writing that one because I needed a slap in the face after reading this. I hope you never have to go through this again. Thanks for honestly posting and sharing your experience. I am so happy that everything turn out for the best. I would like to send you a personal email sometime to chat with you on a friendly basis about peanut allergy. Thanks again. My love to you for your strength.
~Rosie

Jennifer Garlinski 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing. I know you have reached many by telling us about your experience.

Blue Eyes and Butterflies 2 years ago

I feel you. My son has a rare type of food allergy and the first time he reacted he was six weeks old. No one had any idea what was going on. He was 17 months old when he finally got a diagnosis. The scary thing is, an Epi-Pen can't help him. If he has a severe reaction, it's an immediate ER visit for IV fluids. We do have an Epi Pen just in case, though! ~High Functioning Mommy.

Alexandra Carden 2 years ago

Such a brave mommy, thank you for sharing your story.

Judy Limst 2 years ago

You left me bawling with this!

Seanna Donovan Chmura 2 years ago

Thanks for sharing this! I do not have kids with allergies. I am so lucky! but I try to stress to people how serious allergies can be because I have many friends do have kids with serious allergies and I get so aggravated when people make light of the situation!

The Next Step 2 years ago

oh how horrible!! yeah, the parental exhaustion and yelling can so get in the way. when I shouted “oh my god!” right after the fall, my husband came running in (leaving the other twin alone on her changing table) and shouted at me “WHAT DID YOU DO??” – instead of trying to figure out how to fix, he was trying to figure out how to blame. we’ve talked long and hard about that since then. I guess I won’t know if it made any difference until the next emergency.

therobynnest 2 years ago

This reminds me of when my son’s colic set in and we were yelling at each other over his crying, saying we should put him in the stroller and take him outside for a walk. Neither one of us buckled him into his car seat before we put it into the frame, and I’d never actually pushed a stroller before. I pulled it out the door backward and rather than popping up the back wheels and taking the front wheels down the step, I just pulled it straight out with my back to him. The front wheels clunked down the step, he did a front somersault and landed on the pavement, stunned. Silent. For a looooong time. I was certain that it just cost him 50 IQ points.

Katherine Barrett Foley 2 years ago

Oh, my heart.

Jeni Munson Cameron 2 years ago

Dear Robyn, I doubt that there is one parent of a child with a severe food allergy who does not have one of these terrifying "what if" stories. Here is what I have learned: There is NO down side to giving the EpiPen. If you child is having an allergic reaction, after giving the EpiPen, they should be in a reclined position with legs elevated because there is an increase risk of cardiac arrest if you do not do this. (This information is NOWHERE on that how to use an EpiPen chart, right!)
Deep breaths, and know that you are not alone.

The Next Step 2 years ago

Oh. My. God. My heart aches for you, you brave, beleaguered Mama. I can only feel a tiny bit of this – for the one time I judo-flipped my two year old off her changing table and she landed squarely on the back of her neck and shoulders. (She was standing on the changing table, she dropped her lovie on the ground, I went to pick it up and as I was standing back up she was trust-falling into me. The force of me trying to stand up quickly to make sure she didn’t fall, cause her to flip over my back and land hard.)
All was well, but for an instant I thought I had broken her neck, and when she sat up and cried, I thought for sure she was going to have a concussion and brain damage. I called the Ped, they said to watch her and wake her every 2 hours to check her pupils. (because of course this was at bed time)
It was one of the worst nights of my life.

And two days later her twin fell backward down the stairs – but at least that was my husbands fault.

Sigh – raising kids is really, really hard – and hopefully the mistakes are survivable and we can share and learn from each other.

I’m SO glad your little one survived. So SO glad.

Laura Lampman Klimchak 2 years ago

Thank you so much for this article. This is certainly an allergy mom's worst nightmare and I can relate. My son was almost three when we gave him a peanut butter cookie and we experienced his allergy for the first time. I followed our pediatrician's advice on finally introducing nuts to "challenge" him though if I really think about it my gut told me not to. I'm so thankfull your little Rory is fine, and as he grows up he will understand more and more that you saved his life. My son is almost 7 now and he gets how serious his allergy is. It does get easier for them over time, and truely, he is unphased by having to skip certain treats. FYI – Oreos are safe and they have cream. :) We love the double stuff in our house :)

Tara 2 years ago

I’ve had chills and tears the whole time reading your story. What a scary, scary experience. Thank you so much for being willing to share. Anyone who gets annoyed by nut-free classrooms or schools or whatever should read this story and then put themselves in your place. I’m so glad your little guy is okay.

K. C. 2 years ago

I had to stop reading more than once because I was crying too hard to focus. Oh, mama. My heart is with you. And thank you a million times for sharing your story because I am immediately going to practice and read about my son’s EpiPen.

Tracy 2 years ago

I want to thank you for sharing your experience. I have to admit I was crying reading it. My son was diagnosed with milk and egg allergies at 7 months old. We were lucky enough to have an amazing allergist who prescribed him an epi right away for the “just in case”. It was also terrifying to be told that that was the lowest dose epi they made, and in order to save my baby, I would need to over-dose him. That baby is almost 3 now, and at 13 months, he was diagnosed with a peanut allergy. We work around what we know, but we’ve had close calls. Since it gets so cold in our basement, my kids don’t normally play down there and my husband accidentally forgot a chocolate bar downstairs that I didn’t notice when I went down to clean. My son nibbled on that bar, vomited then started the hoarse coughing. I double dosed him on benedryl, then anxiously watched him. Luckily the benedryl worked, but I was told later that the coughing was a sign his throat was closing. I didn’t know. I’m glad the benedryl worked, but next time we may not be as lucky. You feel horrible, but we are human and we make mistakes. You said to not try to make yourself feel better, and like me, I’m sure it’ll be a while before you can forgive yourself, but you did what you needed to do. And we learn from it. I still think your an awesome mom, it takes a strong woman to admit to her mistakes.

Erica 2 years ago

You are an incredible mom. Sharing your story honestly and openly just saved lives, I have no doubt. I learned several invaluable facts that I’d never heard of. Lots of love to you and your family, overjoyed that this traumatic story has a happy ending.

Ashley 2 years ago

As a nurse I can tell you that it sounds like you did everything right. With as many allergies as your son has this was bound to happen at some point. My nephew has a ton of allergies like your son, including eggs and peanuts. We were at a baseball game and the whole family was eating peanuts, normally not an issue but he wanted a soda. My little niece who is 3 grabbed his straw and his mom didn’t see. I noticed and told her to stop, peanuts didn’t even occur to me, was just thinking no soda for 3 yo. My SIL grabbed the drink but he had already had several sips (and so had she). Luckily he just said his neck was itchy, but never had a rash or swelling. Major bullet dodged. It can happen anywhere any time, she is ultra vigilant like you and it happened while she was right there. And she has no epi pen or Benadryl with her in this situation.

Jess Stewart 2 years ago

I cried and cried at this. THANK YOU for sharing this as I did not the effects and symptoms after a reaction. God bless you!

therobynnest 2 years ago

Hi Kate, the way around that is to have your doctor prescribe the pharmacy behind-the-counter brand of diphenhydramine (generic Benadryl) and the school will have to honor those orders the same as the EpiPen.

Meg 2 years ago

Oh momma, I literally balled my eyes out reading through your experience. I can’t tell you how much I feel for what you had to go through. My little guy is almost two and I have made similar mistakes but was fortunate that my husband read the labels before feeding our son. Mistakes do happen and I believe they happen for a reason. Thank you so much for sharing this story. I shared it via our Mom Meet Mom Facebook page and sent it to my entire family. I personally learned so much from your experience and I am sure so many other allergy moms and family members can say the same.
Keep your head up – you’re an awesome mom and valuable voice for our growing allergy community.

Meg
Co-Founder
http://www.MomMeetMom.com

Anita @ Losing Austin 2 years ago

Oh Robyn, I won’t tell you all the things that you already know but have buried inside for right now because of this trauma. But I pray that so very soon, you remember the amazing mom you are, and it doesn’t get buried again.

Tori 2 years ago

I know how you feel. My son is anaphylactic to peanuts and tree nuts and allergic to a whole mess of stuff. This is my biggest fear. Everyday I send him out into the world praying to get him back, every day that he eats I am a wreck hoping that nothing was mislabeled. I found out the hard way that he is allergic to peanuts when he was 15 months old. I can still see his purple swollen face and it makes me immobile. I have 8 EpiPens, they are every where, at his school, in my purse, in the car, in the kitchen, one in the bathroom… my house is only 900 square feet.

I am glad Rory is okay. The hardest thing to do as a parent is learning to forgive yourself for the mistakes we make against our children. You are not alone. From one mom to another… hugs and peace.

Kate 2 years ago

I feel all shaky and teary after reading this. Thank you for sharing your experience, the whole horrible thing. I am fighting now for my 14 year old to be allowed to carry Benadryl on him at school at all times. He can have his Epipen and asthma inhaler, but they try to stop him from the Benadryl or -get this – limit him to 1 pill. They don’t understand it is the first line of defense during a reaction and the 1 every 6 hours doesn’t apply during anaphylaxis. I’m doing some educating. And after reading this, I will NOT give up!

Lindsey Mead 2 years ago

This is so scary, and so familiar. I fed my son a chocolate without realizing it had hazelnuts in it (it didn't have ingredients listed) and we wound up with an EpiPen in an ambulance and I have never forgotten that moment. Terrifying. I'm so glad Rory is okay, and am thinking of you, Mama. xox

Venassa 2 years ago

Wow.. This is such a powerful story that really brings on the tears. We all make mistakes, and while I can’t imagine the guilt you’re feeling, I’m sure you and many others have learned from your mistake. Mommy guilt is such a powerful emotion and your story just reminded me of that.

Lauren 2 years ago

Robyn,
You NEVER would have knowingly put him in harm’s way. It was an honest mistake. One, that I am sure will never happen again. Forgive yourself.

Marsha 2 years ago

Vanessa–
The nut oils from bowls being out can become airborne and trigger a reaction. If your family values peanut butter cookies and bowls of nuts above your son’s life, it’s time to give up spending Christmas with them.

Megann 2 years ago

Thank you – a friend shared your story with me – for me it was ice cream that nearly killed my child .

Kelly Lucia 2 years ago

I’m still nearly speechless. I know all of us telling you that you are awesome won’t make it go away, but I just had to say it again. This post is the best argument I’ve ever seen for why many of us whose kids DON’T have nut allergies need to greatly improve our “love your neighbor” skills. Thank you for the lesson. My heart and prayers are with you.

http://dailymomprayers.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/fear-and-hope-and-love/

Sarah 2 years ago

I love this point you make, sharon. So true that if we let the guilt consume all our thoughts and energy we miss out on enjoying the NOW with our beautiful children. I have a daughter with a serious endocrine condition who relapses and has seizures about once a year. And i beat myself up over it every time, why didn’t i see the subtle symptoms. The why’s and what if’s are very destructive, so learn what you need to from the experience and then go back to being the fantastic mom that you really are.

Gina Lamb Thacker 2 years ago

I work at an elementary school, and today we had the yearly presentation on anaphylaxis — your story brings home the gravity of knowing the symptoms and how to administer the Epi!

Cynthia Denny 2 years ago

My husband has survived 56 years with a SEVERE peanut allergy. And, he's had quite a few close calls. Top of the list issue? CROSS-CONTAMINATION.

The bakery worker who uses the same spatula for chocolate chip cookies & peanut butter cookies, the ice cream shop that's not careful about segregating rainbow sprinkles & Reece's cups, OR, my son's friends who come over to play–but, don't realize they MUST wash their hands after the PB$J they just had at home!

Peanuts (as with ANY allergen) can also be found in unexpected places or products. Enchilada sauce, potato chips, spicy (e.g. Thai food), and many "health-foods," such as protein & energy bars.

YES, Some allergies are deadly. They are not just an intolerance or dislike of some substance. Teach Rory that those tingly, hot tastes in his mouth or his increasingly itchy skin–are his body's way of saying, "Uh-Oh! Danger ahead! Get a grown-up NOW!"

I've gone as far as to ask my son's teachers to request non-peanut snacks from other parents–during my son's early school years–so there would be a lower chance of peanut dust or oils traveling home on my son's clothing or backpack, although it's my husband with the allergy!

You'll also need to "teach" grandparents, babysitters, coaches, etc., about this deadly "poison." Show them the horrifying pictures of people who "weren't so lucky," tell them about Rory's "episodes," and be MORE graphic than you may typically be accustomed to being.

This is your child's LIFE at stake!

Become familiar telling Rory's story, and how you reacted. Put on your MAMA BEAR FUR and use your fear, your horror & your embarrassment to emblazon upon others–including your other child(ren) & any other kids & adults!–that this is POISON to Rory, and you will not tolerate anyone's indifference or ignorance regarding something that can kill your son.

For the Mamas here who cannot get their families to understand? Find an adult who lives with a deadly allergy (like my husband) or as someone mentioned here–a survivor of a loved one who died from the horrors of antiyphalaxis–to conduct an INTERVENTION for your family/friends! It is quite likely your loved ones will pay a bit more attention to someone older who has a disturbingly sordid story to share!

This is YOUR child's LIFE at stake! You do not have the luxury of pretending it's no big deal! Again? It is LIFE or DEATH. Get angry. Remember? This is MAMA BEAR FUR time!

<<< An aside… the first time my family saw my husband's allergic reaction from BITING INTO, but SPITTING OUT a homemade sugar cookie that had TOUCHED a peanut butter cookie? Everyone nearly SH*T their skivvies… I'll point out that in the 18 years SINCE that experience… nothing similar has recurred >>>

Please, everyone. Be an activist for Rory & for all the other people (including the many moms here!)–who own stock in Benadryl & have epipens in hand–forever being alert for food-allergen-poisons!

A severe food allergy may be a life-long battle (I've yet to hear of anyone with a deathly allergy simply "grow-out" of it) but, at 56, and with several severe "episodes," and hospitalizations resulting from exposure, my husband is living-proof that Rory–or most anyone with this challenge–can survive & carry on living a healthy, long life! (Especially with a little help from their mama, family & friends! 😉

Ashley Johnson 2 years ago

We just had our 13 month old son at the allergy dr today. He tested positive for peanut allergy at 7 months. They are going to do more extensive testing. I am going to check out getting an epi pen. Thank you for sharing this! I could see this happening to us! I am going to check ingredients always now.

Lisa Roth 2 years ago

thank you for justifying my paranoid self over my sons allergies. I feel that I would rather constantly be checking on a little cough in the night than for the unthinkable to happen. And they really teach you nothing about those pens I am amazed they arm you with it and send you on your way.

Daniella 2 years ago

First of all, I am so sorry you had to go through this. It sounds absolutely terrifying and I’m sure it will take a while to process.

Mommy guilt is a force to be reckoned with. I hope one day you will figure out how to put this in perspective. We all make mistakes, but somehow it is not socially acceptable to admit that you made a mistake as a parent. But we all do, and many of us have endangered our children’s lives by mistake or because of a moment of carelessness. Like those few times I forgot to strap the baby in to the car seat. Or when I left my son on the changing table for two seconds to grab a diaper from the shelf three steps away and he rolled off. I see there are some other stories in the comments here. This stuff happens. It doesn’t make you a horrible mom. It makes you normal.

And as for the guilt about hurting him with the Epipen…. I’ve been through some crazy stuff with my kids. I’ve held down a screaming 3-month old baby–my firstborn–as he was pricked 5 times for a blood test. I’ve held that same baby waking up from general anesthesia 8 times throughout his 4 years of life (and there was another one I missed). I’ve sent my husband to the ER with a gasping asthmatic child on a Friday night (we are Sabbath observant so this was particularly challenging timing–I had to wait until Saturday evening before speaking to my husband to see how they were doing). I can’t count the trips we’ve made to the ER in our relatively short parenting career (4 years, 3 kids). Ear infections, stitches, feverish newborns, suspected seizures. This stuff isn’t easy, but you know, I am grateful. I am grateful that I got a “crash course in medical emergency parenting”. I am not afraid to hurt my child for his own health. I know he will forgive me, and I know that it’s not the first time nor the last time I’m going to have to do something he doesn’t like for his own good. Not saying it’s easy or that I would have no difficulty doing it. But thank God, the guilt is not there. I hope you are able to recognize that guilt for what it is: a mask for the unjustified fear that somehow your actions will make your child resent you or love you less. It’s totally normal to feel this way, but please remember that it’s not true. It goes without saying that your son would be a lot less pleased with you later in life if you hadn’t given him the Epipen… if he would still be alive. The same goes for forcing our children to take medicines, get shots, and other unpleasant but life-saving procedures… and also things like giving them consequences for bad behavior. They will forgive us, because they ultimately will know it was for their own good. “You’ll thank me,” my dad used to say. We rolled our eyes and protested but he was absolutely right.

I hope you will be able to look back on this in a while and realize how much you have matured as a parent thanks to this episode… and that you never, ever have to go through it again. But if, God forbid, you do… that you will feel competent and empowered to protect your child, and have no hesitations about doing the right thing, even if it means hurting him.

Sending you a big hug and thanking you for having the courage to share this story.

Kimberly Clark D’Agostino 2 years ago

This is my nightmare, you poor thing…you totally lived my nightmare. Be kind to yourself, forgive yourself, but never forget…every label, every time. Your story will help so many of us to remember. Thank you so much for sharing it. All the best to you and your little buddy :)

Michelle 2 years ago

Ten months ago I allowed my 9 year-old daughter to eat a cookie that someone had made and this person had assured her it was peanut-safe. My daughter is also allergic to tree nuts and did not tell this man about that. I’m not sure what was in the cookie and I had no ingredients list to read (and the cookie was now at home and I couldn’t ask the man about it), but I let her eat it anyway. Sure enough, she had a reaction and I had to use the Epi-pen and take her to the hospital. She was OK, but I felt stupid and irresponsible for having let her eat that cookie. I can’t believe how lax I was. I will always be much more diligent now. I’m glad she’s fine and I’ve learned from my mistake.

Julia Romanow 2 years ago

Oh, and I just sent it to my husband as well. This is a must read for him, too!

Julia Romanow 2 years ago

I just read this and almost burst into tears! I have a son with nut allergies and we had our first reaction last year at a yogurt shop. I wish I could say that I handled it well but I almost passed out and while we didn’t have to administer the Epi, I found myself totally unprepared for this. My girlfriend had Benedryl (not me) and she had to give it to him because my hands were shaking so much. I had several sleepless nights afterwards and also beat up on myself. Thank you so much for posting this and walking us through it. I will do my best to get this post out there for other moms to read!

Jillian Beglan 2 years ago

SO scary!

cheisa 2 years ago

aaaaw.. teary eyes while reading.
Glad he is OK now.
Best wishes for you and your kids.

Kat 2 years ago

I read your story twice. It brought tears to my eyes. This is my first time commenting on a blog post. My son doesn’t have a known allergy (thank goodness), but in my research I read that you should NOT give Benadryl when a known food allergen has been consumed. It can cover up symptoms.

I read that most fatalities happen when people hesitate to use the EpiPen for too long. When in doubt, use the pen. I am so grateful to your son’s school director for not hesitating. Since your doctor didn’t even want to give you a prescription, it makes sense that you were not educated on how to use it and in what situations. You are very lucky you had all those people screaming at you to use the damn pen. Reading your story, I wanted to scream at you to use the damn pen. I’m sorry this happened to you mamma. I encourage anyone who has a similar situation to use the pen immediately.

As moms, I am guessing most of us beat ourselves up for every single mistake. I cried for not catching poop in my son’s diaper till the end of an outing last week, that resulted in some minor irritation. I cannot even imagine the terror you went through. Please forgive yourself. (easier said than done) It must be crazy challenging to deal with a life-threatening allergy.

Farrell 2 years ago

Wow! What a story!! Thank you for being brave enough to share your story!

Sabrina Fitzgerald-Ruiz 2 years ago

Thank you, Robyn. I too am a Nutty Mommy! I know a lot of people think I overreact, but at the end of the day I want my child (allergic to peanuts) safe. Maybe if other people read this story they could have empathy on these poor kids and what we as parents do to insure their safety. {{{Hugs}}}

Bobbi Morse 2 years ago

you are a great mother… I know you feel like the world is collapsing… but we are not perfect… glad he's ok.. you will be – one of these days, too!

Angela Williams 2 years ago

Oh Robyn, this story tears at my heart. The one time I had to give my son the Epipen, I could not remember what to do. I had read it, studied it, practiced it. Then I made my husband (who had never read it before) give it. I was in a complete panic. Should I use it? Do I have to? Yes. I did. He almost died. The paramedics told me over and over, you did the right thing. It could have ended very differently! Your story has reminded me how serious these allergies are. I have gotten pretty relaxed and usually forget to bring his Epipen when we leave the house. I did NOT know that the reaction can come back after the steroids wear off. Thank you, thank you for sharing. I will be paying much closer attention again. I also hope this reaches the people who think food allergies are not real, or serious. And those who have never heard of it. Like the many strangers who have offered my child a snickers bar without my permission! Thank God you emailed his school. It could have turned out very different. I know you will not make that mistake again!
Prayers for you, to be able to forgive yourself.
Angie

Jen @ Real Life Parenting 2 years ago

Listening to the universe as it speaks to you. I’ve been feeling that lately. So glad that you made yourself go back to that After the EpiPen section. Sometimes, after an event is over when I can see it all, I am amazed at how many times the universe has spoken to me … even when I don’t listen.

Forgive yourself–you can be sure this will never happen again. And, honestly, sharing your anguish over this will likely save someone else. You’ve educated many readers, myself included, about what to watch for and that the reaction can recur. I didn’t know that … and I’m pretty familiar with food allergies.

HD 2 years ago

Hugs to you too, mama.

HD 2 years ago

Bless your heart. I’ve been crying almost since the beginning of this post. Thank you for the honesty of the post. My girls don’t have food allergies, but every time they try something new my heart catches and I wonder what if. Your story is helpful in letting us know what to watch for. We aren’t perfect, we’ll never be. Thank God for watching over your Little One. And thank God now you know just what to do.

lorette lavine 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story…I am a nurse and my grandchild has a nut allergy…I gave her some granola at age 2 which is how it was discovered. I was not aware that an allergic reaction could rebound after the meds wear off…makes sense. I am much more alert after the young girl 13yrs old recently died in CA where her dad gave her three epinephrine pen injections and she died anyway…he was with her at a camp function where she accidentally ate rice crispy treats that were made with peanut butter. Her dad was a doctor and could not save his own child….paramedics were not close by. it was a very rural area. I am so happy your son is home and well. Take care of yourself…you have learned and shared a very difficult story.

Vanessa 2 years ago

I can’t. THIS is my biggest fear, my son was diagnosed with a peanut allergy at 4 months, through blood test, and we have yet to see the reaction. My family still won’t NOT put out peanut butter cookies at christmas, and the nut bowls are out too, until we get there and I move them all…I’m in tears over here, my stomach is in knots…I can’t imagine. Hugs to you mama.

Amanda Asselin 2 years ago

You lived my worst fear. My 14mo has had two allergic reactions to a stimulus we can't identify. Blood antigen allergy tests were all negative. The first time she was 7mo and her face swelled…we called 911 too. She wasn't having trouble breathing so she wasn't prioritized by the ems. 45 min later, they finally arrived. She was ok, but itchy. We've since mastered benadryl and have her on zyrtec. But I'm terrified this is next – & I don't have an epipen for her. Through elimination we think she's allergic to coconut like me…but the oils can be hard to avoid.

AnneB 2 years ago

God love you. I won’t tell you those placating things….not because I think you’re a terrible mom, but because I would be thinking the same thing about myself were I in your place and it would just piss me off. However, you ARE human. You WERE tired. You made a bad assumption. How many of us can say we have never done that and endangered our own children’s lives? I’ll tell you how many. Not a single one of us.

My son autistic, non-verbal son almost drowned when he was two on my watch because of my negligence. I let my guard slip just that one time. He escaped from a friend’s back yard. I knew their gate didn’t latch but I assumed with it closed, he wouldn’t test it. I assumed he would stay near their children also playing in the back yard. I assumed if he were to go near the gate their girls would say something to us since they are tattle-tale queens and knew they were supposed to stay inside the fence. And while the girls were playing with a ball and I was inside the kitchen (which had a door looking out on the back yard) talking to my friends, my son who loves the city park and like many autistics is drawn to water, wandered the equivalent of 4 blocks away….across a road and into the city park where my friend found him….throwing pine cones into the river. That was two years ago this October and I still have nightmares about it. I still haven’t forgiven myself. You might not ever forgive yourself either, but I’ll forgive you because we are only human.

*hugs*

Amy 2 years ago

For us it was cake decorations – I never read the ingredients and it’s the egg white solids that keep the sugar together. First time I had to use the Epi-pen and rush him to the hospital and it was his 4th birthday!

Gail 2 years ago

Wow, we’ve gone through many EpiPen Jr. prescriptions over the years without having to use it. I always thought it was a waste of money to keep filling that prescription but I’ll never think that way again. I’ve run into a lot of allergy nonsense over 15 years — pulling my kid out of one daycare after they told me they weren’t authorized to use an EpiPen while letting the babies “fingerpaint” with peanut butter, needing a notarized doctor’s note to carrying an EpiPen onboard a plane shortly after 9-11, moving my kid all over a ballpark to keep him away from peanut shells that were making him itchy. It gets easier as they get older — they become great label readers! — and now if he comes across any undeclared peanut products, I tell him to grab a Benadryl and he takes care of things himself. I have a feeling that as he gets older, the memory of that leg jab will become a remember of how you helped save his life.

Rebecca Cleland 2 years ago

…chocolate flavor.

Forgive yourself. This episode is a small drop in the bucket with the rest of life. He will learn and will protect himself. He will be a champion reader, from reading all those package labels?

Children are durable, with parents who care. You are in charge, true, but remember, you are human, and its ok.

Rebecca Cleland 2 years ago

Yes, momma. You had a weak moment where you were human. Thank God this happened when paramedics were close enough to help! And the Internet. What would we do without our virtual friends.

Please don't beat yourself up. It happens to the best of moms, and now you know. BTW: nuts are often added to chocolate to enhance the cho

Tanya 2 years ago

Allergists need to do a better job of educating their patients. People don’t know what they don’t know. You know a whole lot more now. Your child loves you because you are lovable. Hugs to you.

Elizabeth Flora Ross 2 years ago

Oh, mama! My heart hurts for you. I was sobbing reading this. I am so glad your little one is OK. Be kind to yourself. My daughter is allergic to strawberries. One day I got her a chocolate milkshake from a fast food restaurant to celebrate a special accomplishment. Within minutes, her face was swelling up and I had the sudden realization that they make strawberry shakes on the same machine. It had not even occurred to me. Thankfully, we were able to get the reaction under control with Benadryl. But that was the moment I understood what it truly means to have a child with food allergies. We have multiple Epi pens, and I hope to God I never have to use one. But thanks to you, I know I will be able to if that moment comes. Thank you for being strong enough and brave enough to share your story.

Considerer 2 years ago

Blimey! I can’t even begin to imagine this! But he’s still with you, he still loves you, and I’d lay odds you’ll never ever ever ever not-read an ingredients list again. Take care and don’t beat yourself up.

Valerie Ann 2 years ago

I am a preschool teacher and have had many children with EpiPens in my class over the past 3 years. I am trained to use them and know how…but many of the signs and symptoms that you mentioned I did not know before. I am so thankful to you for sharing this story and I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult it was for you. I will not forgot what you said! Thank You!

Leslie Marin – The Pioneer Mom 2 years ago

Excuse me while I grab a tissue. Ahem. That was a very heavy post and THANK GOD for the happy ending! You are a brave mama and you have a very brave son! Thank you for teaching me more about EpiPens than I ever knew. Who knows when I’ll need to use one, but at least I know more than I did about 5 minutes ago. I’ll be sharing this post for sure!

Debbie 2 years ago

Don’t beat yourself up. We all make mistakes. Your baby still loves you! I gave my son a grilled cheese sandwich with regular cheese instead of soy cheese and he also ended up in the ambulance with the Epipen. You are not the only one!

Janine Huldie 2 years ago

As the mom of two small kids, I read the whole article crying. seriously, I can’t even imagine and it was just an accident. I totally would have blamed myself over and over, too, but it really was just a bad accident that as hard as it is not to blame yourself you really just have to try not to. I know easier said then done.

Jen Mara B 2 years ago

I'm glad I read this. I have been VERY fortunate to have been able to control my daughters allergic reactions with the meds and not have to use the Epipen … even when she unknowingly ate some peanut butter at Christmas. I knew the reaction could come back after the Epipen but i did not think the hospital would let them go until they were clear of the reaction without Benadryl. That's good to know and I'm glad everything turned out OK.

Rose 2 years ago

God Bless You ! How scary ! I don’t have kids but I have 2 nephews. The first time I was watching the little one on my own (he was 14 months)..my Dad was with me and I had gone outside to get the mail. I didn’t know the baby gate was broken and didn’t latch behind me. The little one went head over heels down the steps ! Thank God he was ok…about a month later, I took the older one (3 years old) to the supermarket to buy ingredients to make cupcakes together. I put him in the car and had used the remote starter not knowing that the car doors locked automatically ! (New car) so I locked the 3 year old in the car in 95 degree weather…I know how badly I felt in both these circumstances…as scary as it was..you actually learned a lot from it and will be so much more prepared !! <3

Linda 2 years ago

What a scary thing to happen. I couldn’t even image. There’s a book that I came across that I have on a list of books to read. You might want to look it up. It’s called, “The Peanut Allergy Epidemic” by Heather Fraser. The more research I have been doing about this allergy, the more my eyes have been opening up. Take it easy on yourself. We call make mistakes. I’m just glad that your son is alive and well. Take care.

Kristen Mae at Abandoning Pretense 2 years ago

Diane I hope your daughter is okay. <3

Kat 2 years ago

My heart goes out to you Robyn. I am so thankful that my kids have no allergies; I can’t imagine what it must be like to live under that cloud. Every single mother does the best that she can for her kids and you are no exception to that. That being said, we are all human and will make some mistakes including some that could turn out badly (most don’t, thank goodness!). I hope that you soon get to the point where you can forgive yourself.

Kara Stark Sawarynski 2 years ago

Oh how I wish I didn't know these feelings…

Kristen Mae at Abandoning Pretense 2 years ago

We all make mistakes, and yes some of them are terrible. But you are a good mother and you DID save his life. You thought quickly. So did that school director.

When my son was a toddler he fell into my aunt’s cold pool in the middle of winter (Florida, but STILL) while my aunt and I were talking. I FROZE in shock. My aunt had to step in and pull him out. Talk about feeling like a horrible parent; at least you DID something! There have been emergencies since then I’ve learned to move my ass, but I will never forgive myself for that time that I just stood there like an idiot, in shock.

Joanna Pratt Whitley 2 years ago

I read that with tears in my eyes. I couldn't even imagine.

sharon 2 years ago

Thank you for showing us your soul, and your bravery, and your pain. And yes, be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself the way you would forgive your child. Your child needs you to be present in THIS moment, right here, right now. He doesn’t need you to go back and relive the moments over and over that have passed. He needs you now. Be well. Be loved. Love your child. Love yourself.

BT 2 years ago

And I put my son down for a nap when he wasn’t even 4 months old with a big damn pillow. He now has severe brain damage. Your guilt may never totally go away, but you’ll for damn sure never make the same mistake.

Word Vomit Momma 2 years ago

I had a similar incident when I accidentally fed my nephew Laffy Taffy. He is highly allergic to eggs and one of the main ingredients in Laffy Taffy is egg whites- I had no idea and I didn’t know the signs to watch for. I still beat myself up over it, so I totally feel your pain. *HUGS*

Rebeccah 2 years ago

Oh girl. The tears are flowing as I read this and I have no real idea how you feel. There is no good way to say this but dammit that sucks ass. I’m so, so, SO sorry you all went through this awful time. Sending you so much love and peace right now. Be gentle with yourself.

Diane Neumann 2 years ago

How absolutely terrifying!!!! I can only imagine the eggshells you walk on, especially when he leaves the house for school. I over medicated my daughter…after she was discharged from the hospital a few years ago. She was dx with cancer and had started chemo and in my exhaustion gave her 1.0 instead of .10 of Ativan which made her as drunk as could be. As awful as I felt when the poison control assured me she would be fine he also told me we are human and a million other parents also make the same mistakes we do.

Kelly Lucia 2 years ago

I think I need to go wake up my kids and hug them now. After I get rid of all these soggy Kleenex, that is. I *cannot* imagine this.

I am so, so glad your Rory is still here. Peace be with you, Robyn.

Mandi Huffaker 2 years ago

Gosh reading that my heart broke for that mom. Crap happens momma. You didn't mean it, your son is fine, and now (and unfortunately) you know better than to lax. you sound like a good mom.

Lauren Jordan 2 years ago

Wow, I just imagine what this must have been like for you all. Thanks so much for sharing, so much I did not know.

You were very brave and so was your son. I hope you can one day forgive yourself. We all make mistakes as moms and learn tough lessons.

Krystal 2 years ago

Crying in bed reading this! It’s gonna take time to forgive yourself, but be thankful he’s here and alive!! Try not to dwell on the bad too long!! My heart certainly goes out to you.

Christie 2 years ago

Robyn, we all, ALL, make mistakes.
You are a good mom. At the end of the day, you are a good mom.
Period.
I can only hope I am as brave as you if ever the situation should arise.

Mama to Two 2 years ago

Robyn,
Be kind to yourself. God bless you.

Christi @ Love From The Oven 2 years ago

Wow. I’m shaking. I’m speechless. We have yet to ever have a reaction we couldn’t manage with Benadryl, but I know that can change. This is so terrifying, I can’t even imagine it, but at the same time I remind myself this could be us, and the “do we use the Epi-Pen?” question could be ours. Thank you for sharing and letting us share and remind others of just how important this is and that no, we aren’t crazy over the top parents, that the seriousness of a food allergy can truly be life or death.