It's funny how life can change so quickly. How one incident can result in a life-shift in not only behavior, but mindset, mannerisms and more. Our journey into allergies began on Christmas day with a phone call to 911. Our little girl was in mild distress and covered in hives after consuming a certain food. We knew that even after that shot of benadryl by the paramedics that further doctors would be examining her and tests would be run. I knew it was just the beginning...
On Tuesday afternoon my little girl and I headed to the allergist. She was a picture perfect patient. She was happy toddling around the room awaiting the visit from the doctor and she happily cuddled up against her mommy as the nurse did the test on her back. She didn't even budge from my chest to see what was going on. She didn't fuss one bit. Then we waited and she happily tore apart my wallet while we waited for things to unfold.
15 minutes later it was confirmed that Mae has allergies and that Mae would be prescribed an Jr. Epi Pen. We went over procedures, check lists of when and if to use it, what foods to avoid, what were ok. Having had allergies pretty much my whole life all of this wasn't that overwhelming to listen to. It is however the catalyst to paranoia: What's in that? Ace you can have that but Mae can't. Mae can have this as a substitute. Her cheeks are rosey, did she get into something? and on and on it goes.
It's a whole new and enduring world - allergies. It causes you to really have to stop and analyze everything that a child consumes. As an adult I have one food allergy to pineapple - I read a lot of labels - I find it exhausting because I never read a label once. I read it three times before consuming anything that remotely might contain pineapple - and I can recall many missteps I've had in consuming pineapple unsuspectingly and the consequences for that. It's frustrating, but I'm in control. I know what's the result of my intake of pineapple. It's another whole world when it's my job to read the labels for my daughter, to insure that she is safe. It is also my new job to carry the benadryl and the jr. epi pen.
Epi... they make it sound so simple. Not like the big scary word of epinephrine, a jolt of adrenaline. The reminder from the pharmacist that it "only buys you about 15 minutes of time, so be sure to seek immediate emergent care" is reminder enough that it's not so simple. The demonstration of use alone is jarring... nevermind that if I have to administer it - it won't be in the adult's thigh that it was just demonstrated on but my 16lb (nearly) one year old instead. But as traumatic and scary as it all sounds - I'm honestly not afraid. I just feel that this Jr. Epi Pen sits there is like a giant elephant is in the room. This undertone of heavy weighted reality that I have a child with a moderate allergy and a this elephant that sits on a shelf awaiting a reaction.
I don't live in fear, but I do feel a heavy weight carrying around this pen (no not literally.) However, I don't let it consume me. I know that life is not in my control, but God's and whether this be a life long challenge for Mae or a shorter one mostly for her parents - it will be used for His glory and within His protection. I pray that the allergy discovered is it, that there are no more to be discovered by traumatic means. I pray that she outgrows what she has. I hope one day to be rid of the elephant in the room, and my purse, my car... and soon to be in a couple of other places as well. After all elephants are quite cumbersome.