Posted on: Sun, 09/05/2004 - 2:50am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

[b]Maybe I should have called it empathy[/b]

DS is encountering difficulties at college already. I do not want to go into too much detail except to say we are getting little to no cooperation or compassion from the food service people.

I'm wondering. Is it possible for anyone to request that a person/organization act out of compassion for another? Is that whining or asking too much?

I mean is it possible to serve ice cream sundaes WITHOUT peanuts? Will the student population rise up and demand their peanuts? Does a bowl of peanuts have to be part of the sundae serving area? And does that area have to be right up against the only place he can get his food from?

Why does DS have to continually ask this and other questions? The school KNOWS he is there, they know the extent of his allergy yet they add new peanut products all the time.

Compassion would be making the decision to NOT offer the peanuts PERIOD out of respect and compassion for another. Is that concept too hard to understand or get across to others?

Are we asking too much?


[This message has been edited by Peg541 (edited September 05, 2004).]

[This message has been edited by Peg541 (edited September 08, 2004).]

Posted on: Sun, 09/05/2004 - 3:20am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00
noun: the humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it.
What is so hard to understand about this?

Posted on: Sun, 09/05/2004 - 3:55am
Nick's picture
Joined: 11/01/2000 - 09:00

Peg ... I was saddled with my nut allergy (and sesame too), suddenly at age 42 (approx).
I have never demanded, or even requested, that anyone else does not have their favourite nuts or other foods around. If it worries me, I move. Why should I be pandered to? I adapt. I don't expect others to change their lifestyle for me. I am "one" in "millions".
MY take on this is ...
I am an adult, as is your son. I have a brain : I have intelligence. I am able to buy / prepare my own food; or just not eat at that particular time. It's not actually difficult, if you stop to think about it! I can buy safe food; cook safe food. If I think that the situation later in the day is going to be "suspect", then I eat more beforehand! Maybe, I make a sandwich and take it with me.
How hard can that be?
~~ Nick ~~
Adult onset nut & sesame allergy

Posted on: Sun, 09/05/2004 - 4:11am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Peg541, is this the same college that your son attended last year? I thought he had done so well.
Now, I do differ from Nick in that I do believe in a college setting, yes, there *can* or perhaps even *should* be compassion for others. Not clear why I think that, perhaps with the hope that one day, when my son is your son's age, people will still have compassion towards him because of his allergy.
As far as the instance of peanuts on sundaes, I can only think of McDonald's here in Canada and how they have managed, I think, very successfully, to recognize PA. The peanuts come into the McDonald's in separate little sealed baggies and it's only on the rare occasion that I have even been asked if I want peanuts to go on the sundaes when I order them for the kids (usually it's a new person working the counter).
We did go through the drive-through once this summer and because the person driving didn't request "no peanuts", we were given four little baggies of peanuts for our sundaes, but again, sealed and of no concern to us eating the sundaes whatsoever.
I expect Jesse to learn how to navigate through this peanut filled world as best as he can. I'm hoping that he will avoid bars with peanuts out in the open (although you know, even in thinking about that, in all my years of drinking, many moons ago, I never sat at a bar where there were peanuts in a bowl, it must be a Canadian thing that our bars aren't as peanut filled) (the eateries seem to be more problematic when it comes to peanuts to encourage people to drink more beer).
I expect him to be able to remove himself from situations where he is uncomfortable with regard to his allergy (or anything else for that matter), but I would hope that when he goes to high school and college that yes, the cafeterias would show some compassion towards my son.
And for some reason, I don't think that that is expecting too much.
Yesterday, I walked along Bloor Street when I was waiting to go to the show and I only walked two blocks (one block on each side of a major intersection where the theatre was) and I was quite surprised that Thai food seems to be the *big* thing here now - two Thai restaurants within the two blocks. I do remember something about the college and their inability not to cook Thai food almost daily, if not daily.
I've somehow survived 45 years without trying Thai food and I'll certainly survive the rest of my life as well.
(and one must ask - how can she go into babble speak at 2:00 in the afternoon? [img][/img] )
I guess the question really is, can we expect what we hope for?
Best wishes! [img][/img]

Posted on: Sun, 09/05/2004 - 4:21am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Well Nick that would be really nice if my son had access to any other food than the college cafeteria.
It is a very small school and there is only one cafeteria, plus a cafe which has less than healthy foods.
We are not asking the school to change for our son, we are asking for a bit of compassion. Why add new peanut items if you KNOW one of your students has a fatal allergy to peanuts?
It is different for you because you acquired your allergy in adulthood. My son has been dealing with his allergies his entire life and is plainly exhausted at having to ask AGAIN that [b]excess peanuts or new peanut dishes be eliminated from the cafeteria.[/b]
Do you understand his fear of anaphylaxis? Would you be willing to go thru that more than the three times he has alreay been there done that?
I do not think he is asking too much. His PA was plainly described in his application, this was not a surprise to them. They gave him numerous scholarships, they wanted him so they must have realized they would have to deal with his allergy as well.
My son has a right to eat healhty foods with his friends. Not cower in his room eating microwaved dinners. The school agreed to this. It is the manager of the food service that has not given one inch and has continued to add new peanut foods.
Nick tell me, if you were the manager of a cafeteria that fed a small University. If you found out that a student had a fatal allergy to peanuts, would you think twice before setting out that bowl of nuts on the sundae table?
My son already runs a gauntlet every day between an open crock of peanut butter, a dessert table filled with unknown baked goods and stir fried Thai food. Nothing is labelled and there are no warnings posted even though we were told this would happen.
So give me a break. My son is totally responsible for his safety, we have done everything to help educate the University and the food service department. I would think a little bit of compassion would do them no harm.
JUST STOP ADDING NEW PEANUT DISHES TO THE CAFETERIA FARE. That is all we have asked. How difficult is that?
My son is a captive audience. He cannot cook in his room, he has no car and he MUST eat in the cafeteria.

Posted on: Sun, 09/05/2004 - 4:56am
Nick's picture
Joined: 11/01/2000 - 09:00

Yes, I understand anaphylaxis ... I sure do!!
I was hospitalised 3 times with it before I found out what the allergen was. Three times. Same as your son. It's no fun : absolutely no dispute there! With you all the way -- and back again! "Been there, done that ..." The t-shirt is now worn out!
"Well Nick that would be really nice if my son had access to any other food than the college cafeteria."
Is the cafeteria the only place than anyone can eat?? Can no-one manage to walk to a store and buy food?
"We are not asking the school to change for our son, we are asking for a bit of compassion" You ARE asking them to change ... to change their policies of food management. Look at it from the other side ... they have to cater for more than one person.
"My son has a right to eat healhty foods with his friends. Not cower in his room eating microwaved dinners".
I too have a "right" to eat, but I can't force it on anyone. I hate the smell of strong perfume, but should I try to stop people wearing it?
I can't go out to restaurants with friends; I can't eat just what I like. I have to adapt and not whinge. I don't "cower" : I get on with life.
"My son already runs a gauntlet every day between an open crock of peanut butter, a dessert table filled with unknown baked goods and stir fried Thai food."
I too run that gauntlet. What special favours do *I* get?. NONE. Does it make it any different, because I am an adult? I have people at work who eat peanuts; who eat noodles with sesame sauce! All within 10 feet of me! Do I berate them and say that they can't eat their food? Nope. I sure don't. I move away. I alert them to my allergy, but I can't impose my will on them.
If there are "unknown" goods, I avoid them.
So ... give ME a break too!! I too have to get through the day, every day, in a world full of nuts & seeds. This world is not just about *kids* ... us poor *adults* have to survive as well!
PS : I'm not having a "go" at you or your son ... just putting my aspect on this, as an "oldie" !!
~~ Nick ~~
Adult onset nut & sesame allergy
[This message has been edited by Nick (edited September 05, 2004).]
[This message has been edited by Nick (edited September 05, 2004).]

Posted on: Sun, 09/05/2004 - 5:09am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Nick I am floored by your attitude toward my letter.
We did not ask the school to change anything other than labelling the foods known to have peanuts and to avoid introducing new peanut dishes while our son is there. We have not asked them to eliminate anything, just please do not add peanuts so he is surrounded by them.
I repeat, my son is a captive audience. Part of the college experience for any young adult is being able to live in a community with your peers and part of THAT experience is to be able to EAT with your peers. That is all we are asking, well we would appreciate it if he makes it out of there alive!
He is totally responsible, you have seen enough of my letters to know that by now. He has not asked anyone to help keep him safe, he is responsible for that himself.
We are just asking for a bit of freaking compassion, is that too much to ask for?
Keep everything the way it is. Label peanut including foods and please do not introduce any new peanut dishes.
That does not sound too hard to me.
My son is not cowering or whinging. I resent your implication that he is.

Posted on: Sun, 09/05/2004 - 5:29am
Nick's picture
Joined: 11/01/2000 - 09:00

Peg ... re-read my post... I did not say anywhere that your son was whinging.
Additionally -- YOU used the word "cowering" initially. I simply used it in my response, when referring to MYSELF, saying that *I* didn't cower or whinge ... and I don't. I don't expect people to make allowances for me!!
Part of ANYONE'S experience is to be able to live with their fellow-humans. We all have to get along with the others ... living with a severe allergy isn't fun, as we all know, only too well, sadly.
So, chill out; realise that we are all here in this together! I truly hope that your son gets through life safely (and that goes for everyone on this board -- including myself!)
Imagine the college having to accommodate :-
+ vegan diet
+ Jewish diet
+ vegetarian diet
+ Muslim diet
... and many more variations.
It just ain't possible to please everyone all of the time.
Hang in there, safely, please!
[This message has been edited by Nick (edited September 05, 2004).]

Posted on: Sun, 09/05/2004 - 5:44am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Nick, not one of those diets you listed is life threatening. And I don't give a rat's a** if my son is pleased with the food, I just want him to survive the experience. This has nothing to do with pleasing it has everything to do with compassion.
[b]the humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it.[/b]
Is this not a striking definition?
It is not wrong to request/expect compassion from others if you find yourself between a rock and a hard place.
Every single one of those people on your list can find food among what is offered.
If the food is not labelled how can one PA person manage? If the school insists on introducing new peanuts how can a PA person manage?
My son DOES eat in restaurants. He's adjusted and managed and very selective about where he chooses to eat. He has passed the word onto countless others who know nothing about PA by just talking to waiters.
The answer is NOT to eat alone in your room. I repeat, we have not asked for special treatment, just a bit of compassion.
You know what? Some time in everyone's life they have to ask for help. I recommend it. That's how you make friends, that's how you get to help others back.
[This message has been edited by Peg541 (edited September 05, 2004).]

Posted on: Sun, 09/05/2004 - 6:01am
Nick's picture
Joined: 11/01/2000 - 09:00

Sorry, Peg : you obviously have a "block" somewhere -- too focused on your perspective. Look at it from someone else's angle occasionally, maybe?
End of discussion, from my side -- I have no wish to annoy or alienate anyone. I'm sorry now that I ever came into this thread, but I was only trying to put my opinion forward.

Posted on: Sun, 09/05/2004 - 6:14am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Not wanting to insult the adults in this forum who are fighting their own PA battles, it might be different from my end, I've been working for the life of my child for almost 20 years now. You feel responsible for yourself as you should be. I gave up my part in the responsibility when I sent my son off to college, entirely prepared.
I do see it from the other perspective but I don't think finding a vegan meal is as critical as finding a peanut free one. And I do believe that people can and should work acts of compassion when something as little as a peanut is concerned.
And Nick, not wanting to drag this on further.... My daughter spent almost 6 months studying in London and traveled all over Europe during that time, just last year. She said that even the smallest deli had peanut warning signs up on all of the appropriate foods, everywhere, she was staggered!
We do not have this in the US. Nowhere nohow. We are on our own and it is not as easy as one might think.
[This message has been edited by Peg541 (edited September 05, 2004).]


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