College bound son allergic to peanuts

Posted on: Sun, 12/29/2002 - 3:40am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

I'm new to this forum.

Not any more I'm not. I'm old and jaded.

I took my Barbies and went home.

[This message has been edited by Peg541 (edited January 12, 2003).]

Posted on: Sun, 12/29/2002 - 3:56am
cynde's picture
Joined: 12/10/2002 - 09:00

Our son is only 8, but I will be in your shoes in 10 years. I will be reading this thread and taking notes, if you get any responses from people who know. Good luck.
Cynde Punch

Posted on: Sun, 12/29/2002 - 4:08am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Peg541 - I envy you reaching this milestone with your son - congratulations on manuvering him through the first 18 years so well with this allergy.
Tell us your secrets on how to manage those first 18 years so sucessfully!
Having been the Head of the Department of Campus Safety & Security at an Ontario University, some advice I would offer to you is to meet with the Head of the Campus Policing/Safety & Security or if not directly with him or her, his/her 2IC (2nd in command)and inquire about:
- response times for ambulance/fire/paramedics
- location of closest hospitals
- on campus medical clinics & hours
- campus police/safety staff policy on administering epi in the event your son or others are unable to do so.
If he is living on campus, in a dorm/residence, meet up with the Resident Life Facilitator in his residence. He/She will have a team of floor RA's (resident assistants) on duty/on call 24 hours who also will most likely be trained in first aid/cpr and will be a support for your son as well. There may even be able to accomodate a peanut free floor common room on the floor that your son lives on. (Each floor usually has a common room to loaf around in/sometimes with microwaves, coffee machines, etc - the usual stuff that's not allowed in individual rooms.)
If your son has a food plan, meet with the Food Services Manager who oversees the meal prep and would be able to adjust meal cards and in conjunction with the Resident Life Facilitator for the dorms, and the Head of Campus Safety, they may provide permission for a fridge and microwave in your son's room (in most cases due to fire code/regulations, cooking isn't permitted in rooms but exceptions such as this have been given at other universities)
Your son will do just great. And so will you.
[This message has been edited by Syd's Mom (edited December 29, 2002).]

Posted on: Sun, 12/29/2002 - 4:40am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Until recently I had never met an adult with PA. I assumed everyone died. I really did. I'm a nurse! Geez! When I met an adult I knew and respected and found out she was PA I figured we could do it too!
I just advocated for my son whenever I could. Every single day in the car on the way to school we would talk over situations he will come up against in his lifetime. We would brainstorm ideas and come up with ways to handle anything. He is 18 and we still do this every day. It is not too much, it just fits into our everyday conversation.
We even talked about kissing girls. This was when he was mabye 9. We talked about everything. He has to know if he kisses a girl who has eaten peanuts he is in trouble right? If I don't help him learn this then who will? He is with me almost all of his waking hours. I took this responsibility and ran with it.
My son only has an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts. He is allergic to milk, oats, soy, cod, tomatoes and peanuts. He knows any of these allergies could turn anaphylactic at any time. I think we have it easier because just now his only anaphylactic one is his PA.
It also helps that my son has always had a serious aversion to peanuts. He stays away from them. He won't even walk into a bakery. I cannot blame him. He also has lots of food aversions. His diet is very limited and we strive to keep it healthy. I guess his food aversions have helped him from experimenting with unknown foods and getting into trouble.
He also has bad memories of how sick he was after his last ER visit. He was given so many steroids, anti nausea drugs and antihistamines that he was sick for a week after the ER visit. Unfortuantely this keeps him safe.
And after all of this I will be scared to death when I send him off to college in the fall. He is prepared to live life without me. I am meeting with the college to assess how prepared they are and will be. He's always gone to small schools which we felt were safer for him. His college is pretty small and he has been accepted into a program at the college that is even smaller. This hopefully will lessen the danger of accidental exposures yet he will have the experience of being out there in the world among people and surviving.
I know kids in big schools can do well also. As long as the parents are there to help educate the school in a way that is not too threatening their kids will do well. I kissed a** in my son's schools for years. I made them cookies, quilts, sent flowers, cleaned their classrooms, anything so they would remember my son's name and face.
Of course I'll die when he goes off. His college is only 83 miles away but I'm sure it will feel like 830!
I made my children my life. I have plans for life after children, I just have to get past the first few weeks.
Ask me anything, I'm so happy to answer. I'm so happy to find a forum like this!
[This message has been edited by Peg541 (edited January 06, 2003).]

Posted on: Sun, 12/29/2002 - 4:43am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Thank you so much Sydsmom. This information you have given me will be wonderfully helpful in getting my son ready for college and getting college ready for him.
[This message has been edited by Peg541 (edited January 06, 2003).]

Posted on: Sun, 12/29/2002 - 5:11am
nutcase's picture
Joined: 09/16/2002 - 09:00

Peggy...I often think about what I will do when my husband and I send our son to college. He is now 14 and PA. Have you decided what you are doing about a roommate and how to control what he brings into the dorm room? It would be nice to find a roommate who is also PA!
Has your son ever dated and how did you handle that? That will be our next hurdle. As our son gets older he strives more and more for his independence and it is hard for us to let go. Good luck with everything. Let us know how he is doing.

Posted on: Sun, 12/29/2002 - 7:48am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Well, my son has not dated yet. He has gone out in groups and parties and he has always called ahead and reminded the party giver to please avoid peanuts anywhere. My son will never eat an unknown anyway. He's been reading labels since he could read.
He's only gone to small schools so the social network is limited and everyone knows everyone. That makes it so much safer for him and we gave up alot to pay for private schools.
As far as college is concerned he'll be going to a small University. 1000 students, and he is accepted to a small program within the University. They will have their own dorms and they make their own rules. I figure at their first meeting he can introduce the idea of peanut free and they can all see why and how. I also figure the Resident advisor will already know my son is coming and will make his first few days there safe until they can get some rules into place.
My gosh it is so good to finally meet people who are living the same sort of life I am. Believe me this is my first time knowing anyone in our situation.
[This message has been edited by Peg541 (edited January 06, 2003).]

Posted on: Sun, 12/29/2002 - 7:54am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

And yes, a PA roomie would be nice but I think the majority of the population is not PA and he has to learn how to live in the world. Any roommate will have to understand there can be no peanuts in the room. I figure we'll get a roommate name during the summer and they can get in contact with each other and get that all out of the way right away.
What I hope for is everything to be in place before he moves into his dorm. The fine tuning will happen day by day. At least they will know how to manage if an emergency occurs. That is the most important. Then we can handle things like visitors coming in with PBJ sandwiches and other "horrors" I can imagine best at 2am.
[This message has been edited by Peg541 (edited January 06, 2003).]

Posted on: Thu, 01/02/2003 - 7:41am
LisaMcDowell's picture
Joined: 12/06/2002 - 09:00

Hi All,
I just want to say that I'm shocked as well as puzzled! Here we have an 18 year old who is assumed to be old enough to go off to college by himself, but yet not old enough to be responsible to manage his own PA? What is the real issue here? The inability of an 18 year old to manage his own PA? I don't mean to sound heartless, but isn't this our job as parents to prepare our children to be responsible at the age of 18 by giving them chores, teaching $ money management, teaching every aspect of driving w/special attention to safety, etc.
Let me relate a 10 yr old story by the wife of my husband's former boss, and before Chelsea was conceived. N packed up her PA and went off happily to live near a campus of a U in Vancouver. She had nine reactions before her parents packed her up & brought her home to teach her how to to read a menu, labels, ask questions, in general be responsible for her own her PA. N said that she was so dependent on her parents taking care of everything that she assumed every food vendor was aware of her PA, and as she said, she was so stupid that she never thought to do it herself, and not only that her parents never prepared her to do it on her own. Reactions occurred from eating at non-safe asian eateries. Anaphylactic shocked occured several times from experimenting with looking "cool" by drinking Amaretto & other nut type alcoholic beverages. N said it never occured to her that any alcoholic beverages contained "nuts" or to carry an Epi-Pen, and of course it never occured to her parents that she would experiment with her new found freedom since she never drank liquor during her high school years. The next question is: If you are not prepared to allow him to be an adult why allow him to leave?
Mom, I fully understand what it is like to let a child go; it was the most difficult things I have ever had to do. He went off to Navy bootcamp, everything was fine for about 6 months, then we didn't hear from him. No one in the Navy would tell us where he was at. My husband & I agonized for 2 months during the holidays of 1998 till we were watching the news showing my son's aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Enterprise firing missiles at Sadam. It took another month before he was able to contact us. My baby boy was at war & I didn't even know it! Talk about crying & sleepless nights during a time he was a world away from us doing something he had NO CONTROL over.
My work is before I let Chelsea go, and I will not be the one checking with cafeteria food services or anything else. I will ask if she has done so, but I will respect her enough to allow her to be an adult, because I do not want any of these things that happened to N to happen to my daughter. This is the reality of my world, and hope that of others.

Posted on: Thu, 01/02/2003 - 9:18am
river's picture
Joined: 07/15/1999 - 09:00

This has to be the only life threatening condition where, when dealing with it, parents are faced with a barrage of judgements and accusations---and not just from non-PA parents.
Peg541 nobody here knows you, your son, or your personal circumstances; and only you know what needs to be done and what your role is in all this. I'm under the impression that you've taught your son how to manage his PA day to day---but there are questions for the Administration that would be taken far more seriously coming from you. Do what you're comfortable with---not what someone else thinks you should do.

Posted on: Thu, 01/02/2003 - 12:23pm
LisaMcDowell's picture
Joined: 12/06/2002 - 09:00

I am a parent of PA child...I never suggested Peg do what I am going to do for my child because I love her enough to prepare her for a world w/out me. This was only food for thought. Refer to the story of "N". Are you willing to let that happen to your child or expect that society is going take responsibility for your child?
Regardless, if whether I know Peg or her son the reality is that responsibility needs to placed on the adult which an 18 year old is.
You have to remember that laws are based on "liability" not "comfort level", and in essence, she is really asking (in essence, this is what we all do when we engage this conversation with school officials & this is how they view it) that an adult learning institution accept responsibility for her son. This is the reality of what other people think! Really and truly I can see them looking at her just like a kindergarten teacher holding a box of kleenex would when you drop your child off for their first day of school. They may tell her that everything is safe just like boneheads do when they want to get rid of you, I've had it happen. However, I firmly believe that there will be some reference or mention of non-responsibility because he is 18 years old.
You may want to call FAAN or contact any allergy website & see what they tell you about Peg's scenario, and if they can help w/the college making these type of accommodations. Things are different for someone 18 & over. And besides, all he has to is mention his PA when ordering and ask the appropriate questions.


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