New and Frustrated

Posted on: Fri, 02/23/2007 - 12:52pm
aileysmom's picture
Joined: 02/23/2007 - 09:00

Hi,Everyone. Any feedback I can get would be extremely helpful. I've been reading some of the posts and I'm relieved to see that there are other people who have just as many questions as I do.
My 2 year old daughter was diagnosed with a PA just after her 2nd birthday in October. It started with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that left a rash around her mouth. Later a graham cracker covered in peanut butter gave her the same reation. A skin test at the allergist confirmed the allergy. Since then we have rid our house of peanut products, and I carefully read labels at the grocery store, and her poor brother (age 4) with no allergies at all, has even had to give up some of his favorite foods.
The problem we are facing right now, is the rest of our family. My husband and I live close to both sides of our family and see them several times a week. We often dine out with them, are at their house, or are celebrating some sort of event or occasion.
I am so frustrated because I can't get them to take my daughter's allergy seriously. It doesn't seem to be enough that I carry both a prescription allergy medicine and an epi-pen and have instructed them all how to use it.
My daughter has never had a reaction more serious than a rash, for which I am extremely greatful, but I don't know how to get my family members to understand that every time they slip her a bite of chocolate birthday cake, or leave candy in a dish on the table within her reach, or insist that we hold a family dinner at a Chinese restaurant (we don't go to them anymore) that they are potentially putting her life in danger.
They make me feel foolish, over-reactive, and stupid every time I have to remind them that she has a peanut allergy. My mother in law, by the way, is a NURSE, and she is the worst offender. She acts forgetful and like she doesn't understand food labels and warnings, mostly because it's an inconvenience to her and the plans she has made. How in the world do you deal with situations like this?

Any advice would be helpful and welcome! Thanks, Jen

Posted on: Fri, 02/23/2007 - 10:21pm
Mrsdocrse's picture
Joined: 01/16/2007 - 09:00

This is always a tough one.. Most of my family was ok... My MIL on the other hand.. was not.. she just doesn't get it.
I have resigned myself to the fact that some people are going to think I am neurotic but there isn't anything that I can do about that.
I would firmly ask your family to please not give your child any food with out you checking it first. I would explain that it just isn't worth the risk. I would decline invites to there houses if they are not willing to co-operate. Also for the Grand parents I would NOT let them baby sit and tell them that they can't be trusted to keep your child safe. I still won't let my MIL watch michael for more than an hour... and ONLY at MY PEANUT FREE HOUSE. I would try to educate when you can... It is hard because you have to learn how to say things politely but firmly and keep saying it.
Other things I do is I host the gathering because then I have control over the food. I pick the restaurant that I feel safe at.
GOod Luck I know it a learning curve...
Give them a copy of the Peanut allergy answer book.

Posted on: Fri, 02/23/2007 - 10:23pm
williamsmummy's picture
Joined: 03/26/2002 - 09:00

This is a big problem and does take extended family members some time to understand the situation.
As for the nurse, well quite a few docs have little idea about allergies, so nurses are just as likely to be clueless.
I would find magazine articles or stories off the net about allergie deaths, and let them read them , tell them THATS why you have epi pens, because if we are all not careful thats going to happen to your child.
Tell them thats why the doctors have given you epi pens.
dont expect huge changes, and be polite but firm if anyone breaks the rules with food given to your child.
You can leave a family party, but be sure to tell an understanding family member why you are leaving.
Let them work on the ones that dont.
As your child grows older you will find that certain family members are not going to change, but others will.
So , if for instance a family member always gives unsafe chocolate eggs at easter, tell your child that you have a stock of safe ones to swop with.
The ones that understand the problem will ring you to ask which brands are ok !!
hope this helps,

Posted on: Sat, 02/24/2007 - 5:33am
SkyMom's picture
Joined: 10/27/2001 - 09:00

Welcome to the board. I know people would rather not be here but it does offer a great support network of people who can understand when you need to ask questions, vent, get new information etc.
My dd had her first and only reaction at the age of ten months. She was tested at one year. I used to say it gets easier but am not sure that's the phrase I would use. Perhaps, you adjust and find your own comfort level.
I consider our comfort level to be somewhat in the middle. We dine out regularly, dd goes everywhere with me; shopping, sporting events, festivals etc. She has never had another reaction, I do not call manufacturers, or get upset dining out etc.
Once again, everyone has their own opinions and comfort levels and I am not saying anyone is right or wrong, just what is right for our family.
My ds is seven and has never been exposed to peanut other than his spt which the allergist recommended. He is not pa. I do feel bad that he avoids the same things as his sister, but we all do as a safeguard and also to support my dd.
My in-laws did not quite get it but with more info. they gradually accepted it. I honestly believe that sometimes the extended family is not vocal, but secretly hoping that the tests are wrong. At one time, I simply said I am her mother, if anyone wished that this was just a mistake, I WOULD BE FIRST IN LINE! Sorry for the capitals but I couldn't help but shake my head when it seemed like people thought I was going neurotic for no reason!

Posted on: Sat, 02/24/2007 - 7:50am
aileysmom's picture
Joined: 02/23/2007 - 09:00

Thanks for letting me know that I'm not crazy! Therese, that's a great idea to give them a copy of the peanut allergy answer book. That really might help. They are always curious about what she can eat and what she can't.
One relative gave her Jelly Bellys the other day thinking that Jelly beans should be fine, but there on the package clear as day was the warning. I guess I just need to keep repeating myself and someday maybe they'll hear me! =)
Thanks for the warm welcome. It's great to know that others understand!

Peanut Free Store

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