Are You The Sole Parent Dealing with PA or Does Father Help?

Posted on: Fri, 08/24/2001 - 1:53pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

When it comes to all of the ins and outs of PA, are you the sole parent responsible for dealing with your child's PA or does your child's Father accept some or half of the responsibility?

I feel as though I am the sole parent responsible for dealing with Jesse's PA. On one hand it's a compliment because my DH trusts my judgement.

I believe this is because as Mothers, we tend to be responsible for our children's and often our DH's medical concerns (and least of all, our own).

My DH does read labels of any and every food product. He does not consume peanut products any more even when he is at work and could wash up well before coming home. He carries an Epi-pen with him at all times. He does "get it". He freaks out if neighbours decide to impale peanuts on our fence as well as I do.

But, the reason I feel like I'm the sole parent dealing with Jesse's allergy is that it's me that does all of the questioning. It's me that does all of the preparation for Jesse to be enter school safely each year (and bang my head against the wall). It's me that cannot sleep at night with whatever anxiety I have re that.

I'm not complaining about my DH. He does hear what I have to say but sometimes if I read a particular thing to him from this board he looks at me as if I'm either insane or it's just too much information overload for him.

How do I feel about this? I feel scared because I wonder what would happen if anything happened to me. I'm hoping that my DH would then dedicate himself, not as heavily as I have, but to a much greater degree to exploring, educating, etc. re PA.
I guess what I'm hoping is that all of the information I have is somewhere in his head and he just doesn't feel the need to use it right now.

At other times, like this week when my head exploded with the school board, I feel almost angry or resentment towards him because I feel he *should* perhaps be meeting with the superintendent, then principal, then teachers, and then our daughter's (non-PA) teacher next week. Why do I have 4 meetings to attend next week.

I believe if I simply sat back and did nothing, nothing would get done. Yes, Jesse would be "safe" as far as our home and what we control in our environment. But what about everything else?

I actually just thought of this question because someone else raised a concern about their DH in a post in a different thread.

Again, for me, I think it's just that as Moms we're kinda just *supposed* to be responsible for everything health wise for our children.
In this day and age, and being a feminist (my DH is definitely not a feminist, sad to say), I do find it difficult that somehow our responsibilities haven't been split more evenly.

It's not something I even feel I could discuss with him.

I know I'm not alone on this one from reading this board for so long and I just wondered how not alone I was.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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Posted on: Fri, 08/24/2001 - 10:39pm
PeanutTrace's picture
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Joined: 03/14/2001 - 09:00

I too, am the main care provider for my PA, asthmatic daughter. My husband is totally supportive and we have had this conversation several times. Why me? Why not him? Why not both of us? First of all, I am the one who is at home with my daughter and have a better handle on her health. Secondly, I am the mother, and I think we are built differently, we have that natural protective gene built in to us or something, lol, not that my husband wouldn't protect her, but in a different way, he thinks of situations as they arise he's not proactive and thinking about how to make situations safe before we arrive. Thirdly, I am the better half to argue points, write procedures, and fight for our rights, my husband's not as good at doing these types of things. He likes peace and harmony. I can remember when my daughter was 4, I still hadn't had a babysitter other than my mom and sisters and I had never been away from my daughter. I was invited to go away for the weekend, with a group of woman, I told my husband I couldn't because I would worry too much about my daughter's asthma. He insisted and tried so hard to prove that he could do it. I went and he did great! ...but I think that finally spurred him into educating himself more about being a primary care giver in my daughter's health, and he has since proven himself! I still do all the stressful advocating stuff, ie. school, family, community education etc...., and he proudly announces oh, you're better at that stuff, but he is a great cheerleader, he'd hate to see that I used that analogy! So please if he ever comes on her don't call him a cheerleader, I just can't think of a better word at the moment. I use to worry so much about what would happen if I died who would care for my daughter, but I am now finally comfortable, my husband does a great job and my mom and my younger sister are fantastic with her allergies and asthma. I even have talked to my younger sister about caring for my daughter should I meet an early demise. ....and she said, "she'd have it no other way." It sounds silly but it is a relief to have these silly details taken care of. Now I can stop worrying about that issue. There really is so much stress and anxiety that parents of food allergic children have, others, even family members, have absolutely no idea!!! Here's to a long healthy life for us all!! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

Posted on: Fri, 08/24/2001 - 10:57pm
williamsmummy's picture
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Joined: 03/26/2002 - 09:00

dear Cindy,
This is something that has improved as time has gone on.
In many households food shopping and cooking is still mainly a mothers job. so reading food labels and asking at restaurants is something that i do, after so long it has become almost second nature to read a label or quiz a waitress . But then my husband works long hours and so being at home its my job to tell the school exactly what to do, and teach my husband how much piriton to give william and give him a trainer epi-pen etc, oh and dont forget the rest of the family, ha ha,. My husband still feels guilty about the peanut dust on his clothes which william reacted to, and since then has been more conerned. On the down side he complains that i worry all the time about william, if not his allergys , but his food intake!! He doesnt seem to realise that at work HE can switch off and not even think about his family , but for me the time at work or out the house meant that i have to make sure i am avaliable at all times. so of course there is never a time when i just dont think about it. The simple fact of carrying a mobile phone and his meds stop that.
bye sarah

Posted on: Sat, 08/25/2001 - 3:21pm
MattsMom's picture
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Joined: 09/17/2000 - 09:00

Hmmm, I better be careful how I answer this one since dh reads the boards from time to time, too. hehe ;-)
I'd have to say that in most ways, yes, I am the sole parent managing this allergy. I'm the one who makes the dr appts, plans the meals, does the shopping (though Mike helps sometimes and when he does, he reads labels as well), cooks the meals, does the researching, prints out the restaurant cards, packs and carries the MedBag, administers the medications, makes sure we have a map of the area with the hospital marked if we're on a trip, etc.
Mike has started to get a little more involved (though he's been dragging his feet the last 2wks...get on the ball, honey, school is starting NOW! *smile*). He is the one who asks questions at restaurants most of the time. He has been trying to contact senators and representatives about getting some legislation passed that would benefit the food allergic kids (as well as others). And he's been visiting all the school districts in our county to hand out Epipen Trainers, Teacher's Guide to Anaphylaxis, a list of websites and contact info for more information on food allergies and anaphylaxis, and to go over briefly some of the things they need to do to help keep the food allergic child safe. He also helps educate other people if the need or opportunity arises.
The majority of the day-to-day stuff, though, is up to me. I guess in a one-income family, with me being the one staying home, it's only natural, but I must admit that there are times when I feel COMPLETELY alone... segregated from the rest of the world... because of the kids' allergies.

Posted on: Sun, 08/26/2001 - 2:18am
Head Cook's picture
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Joined: 11/19/2000 - 09:00

Its my thing, solo. The toughest thing in my life is letting my ex-husband (who doesn't get it) take my sons for a visitation. Talk about stress. They take a suitcase of food and an ice chest and I watch the weight of the world heap down on both of their shoulders as they walk away. Five years ago when my son was 5, the judge said "I guess he is going to have to learn to read ingredient labels.." AAHHH.. So, tend to your marriages because divorce and peanut allergy is about as tough as it can get.

Posted on: Mon, 10/01/2001 - 1:57pm
KATHYANN's picture
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Joined: 09/29/2001 - 09:00

I honestly dont know if anything I say right now will make any sense but I need to vent please. My husband casually mentioned today that he ate a peanut butter cracker at work, I lost it to say the least. I realize that weve only been living with this for 2 weeks but I cant even pass it in the store without realizing that ccould take my sons life. I freaked just thinking about him kissing James and him getting a reaction from that. I eat sleep and spend every minute staring at my son waiting and watching . My husband gets all his information from only what I tell him , about the many many calls I make , the lettrs I writeand I feel very alone in all this . Please someone write and tell me this will get better thank you for listening........Kathy Ann

Posted on: Tue, 10/02/2001 - 4:48am
Renee111064's picture
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Joined: 07/05/2001 - 09:00

My ex reads labels but he does not take this allergy as serious as I do. He is very lax about Drew's food allergies since he moved out 18 months ago. IT drives me crazy.
On this past Friday night when he came to pick up the boys, I said to him to check his epi-pen jr for the expiration date. Well he tells me that it is home in a cabinet. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/mad.gif[/img] I said why in Gods name is is there? You are to carry it everywhere he goes.
He had the nerve to tell me that I don't carry one at all times with our son. I said I beg your pardon I have one in my purse at all times and one at home.
How in Gods name would he know. It is always with me. Since Drew was 2 I have carried one either in the diaper bag when he was little or now in my purse. He was with me when the allergist said this must go everywhere Drew goes. He was always the one who was so overprotective. Now all the ex worries about his his girlfriend.
My heart is in my throat every time that I have to send my boys to his home. He is the type of father that allows the TV to be the babysitter. GRRR [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/mad.gif[/img]
Grr, I could go on all day about the stunts that he pulls but It would be a book...
but YES I am the one who takes care of the children.......
Best wishes for all of us who take care of the children.
Renee

Posted on: Tue, 10/02/2001 - 10:42am
Tracey's picture
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Joined: 04/25/2001 - 09:00

I am short on time so I will make this short and sweet. My ex-husband relies on me to do everything although he is quite diligent in reading labels and carrying epi-pen. When I was reading the post from Cindy I wanted to mention that whenever I have to meet with anyone at the school regarding this issue I make my ex husband come. It would seem as though anything I say is taken more seriously if he is sitting beside me. This is rather sad but true. I'm not sure if it is because there is a man present or because there are two people but it seems to work better. He need not even say anything but just be present. I think with all the problems you have been encountering you should try to encourage him to be there when you have your meetings, I have found it really makes a big difference.

Posted on: Tue, 10/02/2001 - 12:44pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Head Cook, Kathyanne, and Renee, I could SO much relate, as best I could, to what all of you were saying. My DH and I are currently together. However, this is not always the case. And often times when we are together my DH has a particular issue (shall we say) that causes him to be lax when it comes to everything, including PA. I know that we're not staying together because I'm afraid that I would have to let Jesse visit with him if we weren't, but I have thought about it because it certainly has been something that has been a possibility more than once in the last seven years.
Three years ago, we weren't living together and he took Jesse with him to Toronto to his Mother's home. They went to my DH's sister's birthday party where all of the adults were smoking and there was poor wee Jesse with his asthma. Dad couldn't remember when they got home how to give him his inhalers properly.
Because I didn't have a custody order in place and DH decided to be nasty, I was worried sick for the three days that Jesse was gone. In fact, I was beyond worried sick, I was out of control. With my DH's "issue", I really know that I would fight for the kids not to be able to see him if we did split up.
My heart goes out to you three women who do have to deal with ex's. Although I'm not dealing with one now, I just know that with my DH, in particular, with his "issue", although he is a great Father and totally gets it re PA and seems to be becoming more involved each day (including calling the school principal), I would be sick from the minute my children left the door until they got home. I wouldn't be like a "normal" divorced Mom who had free time and could enjoy herself. I'd be sitting by the phone.
My heart goes out to you and I also give you kudos and big hugs [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Tue, 10/02/2001 - 12:52pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Tracey, sorry, I did want to say to you that I totally agree with what you said about having a man with you. This is quite off topic but an example. As I've posted here, I have severe migraines. My doctor has always told me "take two extra strength tylenol". Six months ago, I went into his office and begged for a pain management plan to be put in place. I broke down in tears. Still nothing.
I had an appointment with him two weeks ago and I asked my DH if he could come with me.
Well, as soon as the doctor was able to hear from the male party how life was SO horrible when the female was suffering 10 migraines a month, you would not believe what meds I walked out of that office with! Of course, I think my doctor is a misogynist pig, but he proved that point, didn't he?
I definitely think that if our DH's are able to attend meetings at the school with us re PA it also goes over better (as long as you and DH are on the same page) because you're a force of two instead of one. For some reason, I've felt like I needed or wanted to fight the school battles by myself so I never think to ask my DH to attend meetings with me. But, I do find him now starting to speak with the principal and being more and more active when it comes to dealing with the school and what are sometimes enormous requirements on our part, as parents, to have them "get it". Tracey, I think you're right on about this one.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Tue, 10/02/2001 - 1:02pm
doreen's picture
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Joined: 06/23/2001 - 09:00

Cindy, this was timely with me when you wrote it to begin with, but I think one of my kids woke or the computer kicked out.
This time it is much timelier. Unfortunately, my MIL passed away this week. This was a VERY sad event. She is only 55, and everyone is very distraught (as is everyone at all funerals, but intensity increases as the age of the victim decreases). Anyway, food is everywhere. His family does try. They really don't get it. Cookies were out casually last night, and my husband thinks nothing of eating them. Granted his mind is on other things right now, but this would happen on any other occasion. Every time we are up here we have these issues. It's just more intensified now.
My husband is very good about reading labels, and becoming very conscious about having EPI at all times, however, when it comes to the "may contain" stuff -- having it around him, the house, the hotel we stay in, other peoples' homes, etc., he doesn't seem to get it. He doesn't want to read this site, because it is too overwhelming for him. This man can finish a 300 page book in one night, and took three weeks to read the Peanut Allergy Answer Book that I made him read. It's 70 pages! He said he couldn't handle it, and had to digest it slowly. I think it's the only book I've ever read in one night.
Anyway, my husband works A LOT (understatement of the year), and doesn't take the time for these things, so, although he's interested, yes, I am the only one up at night, on this site or reading other materials, etc. It's a bit overwhelming at times. I was at my wits end when you posted this the first time, and was so glad to read it, because I don't have to deal with the schools yet (my daughter is only 2). It was good to hear I am not alone in this.

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