Not a Joke

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I am outraged at the reaction of individuals concerning the severity of peanut allergy. I have been doing research on peanut allergy to better educate my family. I have come across some very disturbing sites. One columnist writes regarding peanut free buffer zones on air planes:

Where will it end?

-- "Attention everyone, I am hijacking this plane to Cuba!"

-- "Do what he says! He's got party mix!"

I fail to see the humor in this. I am overwhelmed by the comparison that is made on another site regarding the amount of profit from Peanut Sales versus only 15 deaths attributed to food allergy in a given year. I feel 1 is too many. Thanks for giving me a place to vent! Lynda

On Mar 26, 1999

Lynda, you hit the nail right on the head! I, too, saw a Web site where they were making fun of us parents with children who had the peanut allergy...something to the effect of...Here are these preppy parents with their little peanut allergic children riding in their Ford Explorers wanting to get rid of peanuts, etc etc. (I will try and find that web site again)! It was along the same lines as what you found. These people are clueless! I also fail to see the humor in it.

Thanks for posting a great topic...it is definitely not a joke!!

P.S. I also fail to see the connection between what kind of car a person drives and the peanut allergy!! Again...these people don't have a clue!

[This message has been edited by Connie (edited March 26, 1999).]

On Mar 26, 1999

There is also a well-known and very popular radio talk host in the Boston area (also syndicated to Seattle area) that periodically makes jokes about peanut allergy, especially in relationship to the airline industry. He hosted an hour long segment a while ago on the topic, too. He is definitely NOT sympathetic to us. Nancy

On Mar 26, 1999

Connie: I would be interested in knowing the address of that site. The connection between the car and the allergy is the ignorance of the person writing such nonsense. I guess to some, the potential loss of a child amounts to nothing unless it is their child. Such a shame for something that could be avoided if people would just educate themselves. P.S. I think smoke is still coming out of my ears! Lynda

On Mar 26, 1999

I did not see the sites you have referred to, but was very disturbed by a recent television show.

Did anyone see the episode of Just Shoot Me where Nina tells everyone that she is allergic to peanuts and that she had to give up the love of her life b/c he was a peanut farmer? The show goes on and she eats a whole container of peanut dip and then goes on a TV Talk sho with swollen lips b/c of her allergy?

Being an adult who has only recently become aware (2years ago - the hard way) how sever my allegry is, I was appalled. I found the episode disgraceful and irresponsible - what a terrible message to send out to those who are not aware of the dangers of the peanut allergy.

Hopefully one day the everyone will realize how serious this really is.

This is a great site by the way - I just discovered it yesterday!

Good luck everyone.

[This message has been edited by MaryM (edited March 26, 1999).]

On Mar 26, 1999

Hi Lynda, I am still researching that site...will post it when I find it!

I posted a link on the link board today which didn't sit well with me either. I wanted other's opinions on this also.

This is not a joke and our children will NOT be the punch line!

On Mar 26, 1999

Connie, Yes, I read the article you had a link to "The Politics of Legumes", but wasnt' able to write a reply about it because I was too incensed. There is one word that sums up that writer--IGNORANCE. Any journalist worth his/her weight would research facts on a subject before writing about it. The ariticle is rife with erroneous "facts" and is purely this guy's selfish warped opinion. Its as if he is intentionally trying to antagonize those who are peanut allergic. Someone should write a letter to his journal's editor and set them straight with the scientific facts. [img]http://client.ibboards.com/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

Here is an excerpt from the aritcle: "Only 15 food-related fatalities were reported by the Centers for Disease Control in 1995, and killer peanuts may only have triggered a few of those deaths. Given the small number of these deaths, and the fact that peanut-allergy sufferers should be careful not to eat foods that hurt them, the overreaction is not even a justifiable one from the zealot's perspective. None of the government health authorities have suggested banning those with AIDS from sexual activity, or those who do not bathe from public libraries. To extend restrictive policies on health to such a frivolous, controllable allergy ought to be the last time any public health agency or group is taken seriously."

Don't we all wish the peanut allergy was just a frivolous allergy?!?!

[This message has been edited by brenda (edited March 26, 1999).]

On Mar 26, 1999

I too am incensed about many jounalists lack of information and total disregard for the lives of the growing number of individuals with peanut allergy. We have a talk show host here in South Texas who has frequently poked fun at this allergy. I find it interesting that no smoking areas are an accepted and commonplace these days, and the danger of inhaling a few puffs of smoke is far less dangerous than a peanut allergic individual having contact with peanuts. Don't get me wrong, I am also a big proponent of no smoking areas, but it seems that the general public is much better educated about the dangers of smoking, so the jounalists don't touch that subject. I guess all we can do is to continue to raise awareness.

On a positive note, my new day care has decided to make the center a completely pb free center, and a letter and information about peanut allergy went out to the parents today. The letter was very detailed, and advised that children's hands and faces should be washed before coming into the center, and that as an added precaution the teachers would be cleaning hands and faces with wipees when the children entered. It advised parents not to let their children enter the center with food from home. I feel so fortunate that the director of the center was educated and caring enough to do this for my son and for future peanut allergic children entering the center.

On Mar 26, 1999

Debbie, congratulations on getting the daycare to go peanut free. I know this is off the subject but how did you convince the daycare (to go peanut free) - I'm still having trouble convincing my director that it is a serious problem -

[This message has been edited by kbrosn (edited March 26, 1999).]

On Mar 26, 1999

Hi KBrosn,

Prior to my son starting the day care, I printed as much info on pnt allergy from the net as I could. I included an article saying the pnt allergy was on the rise in children, along with some of the gorier ones involving fatal reactions. I think both of these articles helped make them aware of the severity of the allergy. I also printed a cross contamination article, and the director along with the cook read this, and the cook decided it would be much better for her not to have to deal with pb of pnt in the kitchen at all. I included the how to read a label handout from FAN, and the director and the cook both review everything in the pantry for potential pnt ingredients.

As I said, I think the articles on deaths and near deaths from reactions along with the article on pnt allergies being on the rise sealed the deal.

Good luck to you in getting your day care to go pnt free. I would be glad to give you any other info you need. I know the stress that goes along with wondering everyday what your child may be eating that could cause reactions.

On Mar 26, 1999

Hi all,

I wish this allergy was as simple as these uneducated people make it out to be! Brenda, you made a key point here-it's as if they truly want a rise out of us and will go the extra mile to get it! I wish this allergy could be as "cut & dry" as they make it out to be. Life would be grand, wouldn't it? Just avoid the obvious! Golly Gee Whiz everyone, why didn't WE think of that!! NOT!! I guess we have no need for this board anymore (Chris, pull the plug)...or allergists...or support groups...or epinephrine...or worrying...or crying...we just have to avoid the obvious!!!!

Isn't it amazing that in every article I have found on the web that is protesting the peanut allergy, they all tend to say the same thing...stay away from peanuts (the obvious)and all will be well! These people should spend one day in the ER room and see first hand an anaphylactic reaction and experience the "hidden" peanut dangers that are NOT OBVIOUS. I sure wish it was that easy...

Debbie, I am very happy for you and your child! Good luck!

On Mar 30, 1999

Time for a little psycho-babble...

The people who write these ignorant things are *reacting.* We react to what they write. Then we end up with one big reaction-fest where no-one is calm and everyone is freaking out. If we don't get a hold of our reactions and emotions, we will come across as hysterical over-protective mothers driving Ford Explorers and it won't help our cause.

(I know we're just venting on this board... but I felt the need to point the reaction stuff out. I'm a victim of it too.)

A friend of mine told me she was discussing peanut allergies with the parents of another child in her son's daycare. The father was so incensed that his child would have to go without peanut butter that he said, "I'm going to make him a peanut butter sandwich for a week, just to make a point." My friend was pretty appalled at his comment.

I don't think this man is a bad, mean person. He's just reacting. If he was in a calm state, was presented the facts and understood the seriousness of the allergy, he would not say what he said. Maybe he reacted because he was denied something as a kid and he doesn't want his child to deal with the same pain. Maybe he'd had a bad day at work. Maybe he was mad because he owed taxes instead of getting a refund check and he thinks regulating food in daycare is another step towards socialism and more taxation.

Frankly, I'm not sure what I would do or say if I didn't know anything about peanut allergies. While I am a compassionate, empathetic person in many ways (I volunteer for charities, take care of my family and friends, etc. etc.), I admit that I didn't have a lot of understanding of what food allergic people had to deal with until this happened to my son. (I have cat allergies, so I understand what that involves.) Now I'm educated and perhaps this is God's way of teaching me a lesson.

Anyway, I don't mean to preach, but if we are to make changes, we cannot REACT to these people. We need to try and understand why they are reacting -- where they are coming from. This isn't "us against them." This is "us trying to help people understand our sitution." Also, that means trying to see the humor in the situation. Not that I think what my son has to deal with is funny, but we MUST look at the brighter side. Humor is a bridge to the people who don't understand.

In fact, I thought the joke about the hijacking the plane to Cuba with party mix was pretty funny. If you think about it, this guy just pointed out that peanuts are a lethal weapon!

Thanks for listening. End of lecture. :-)

--Tracy, Hysterical, Over-Protective Mother (HOPM) who drives a Saab

On Mar 30, 1999

Hi Tracy,

Thanks for the wake up call and bringing me back to reality...you make a valid point! We are not doing us or anyone else a bit of good by "reacting." I am very guilty of this, I admit, but I think we as parents try to go "above and beyond" to get our point across regarding the peanut allergy. It's funny, some days I have a great sense of humor and can deal with anything, other days everything is taken very seriously and I feel overwhelmed. I think the day I found that particular article about the "preppie children" just set me off. I know some of these people are uneducated and I believe in the power of "free speech" but it just hits me wrong when people relate the peanut allergy to your "social class." It affects everyone - it does not discriminate...

Tracy...thanks again for the dose of reality!

[This message has been edited by Connie (edited March 31, 1999).]

On Mar 30, 1999

Connie,

Well, my dose of reality comes from lots of personal experience in over-reaction. I am really working on it, but it's so difficult. Like you, I have good days and bad days.

In fact, I was just now thinking of how I reacted when I found out my son might be allergic to peanuts.... I ordered Chinese take-out steamed dumplings with PEANUT sauce. On purpose! Talk about denial! :-) (I haven't done that since in my own home.)

The other thing I meant to say in my message above was that I notice when I start reacting that the situation becomes more about ME than about my kid and what's best for him. As in, "people don't understand what I have to go through... people don't care about my feelings..." etc. etc. (I sing a lot of those blues from time-to-time.)

Okay, I read the article. This is a play on Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal," which when it was published (about 270 years ago) pissed off just about everyone. If you notice, this guy also says stuff that is offensive to everyone (not just us constipated Ford-Explorer driving parents). It's a commentary about society in general and it's too bad he used peanut allergy as the basis because it does minimize the dangers... he could have picked something else to make his point. The point is, he's probably a college student trying to get a rise out of people. That's what you do when you're in college. May the fleas of a thousand camels infect his armpits.

(The text of "A Modest Proposal" is found at [url="ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/docs/books/gutenberg/etext97/mdprp10.txt..."]ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/docs/books/gutenberg/etext97/mdprp10.txt...[/url] you have to scroll down quite a ways to see it). Anyway, another article may send me into non-linear orbit tomorrow, but today is a "good day" (I'm not constipated) and this one didn't bother me because it was so outrageous.

--Tracy

On Mar 30, 1999

It is true it doesn't do any good to overreact because you will lose your crediability. BUT, I think there is a differenece in being naive about food allergies, which is what the general public is--and you can't blame them for that if they haven't been properly educated about it. That is why it is important that the media portray it accurately. There is no excuse for a journalist to be "naive" about something they are reporting, it is their JOB to find out the facts. I'm referring to the article "The Politics of Legumes" in Spin-Tech, which claims to be an award-winning journal of politics and culture.

You're right the ariticle "Poverty Pat

On Mar 30, 1999

Brenda,

Yeah, this guy who wrote the Spin-Tech article (which I found at [url="http://webusers.anet-stl.com/~sdtimes/10-03-98.htm)"]http://webusers.anet-stl.com/~sdtimes/10-03-98.htm)[/url] isn't very sympathetic to our situation. This is not really an article about peanut allergy so much as it also is a commentary about where society is going and how a few people can force the rest of the world to change. That is what this guy is reacting to and again he uses the peanut issues as his main point. If it wasn't peanuts, it would be something else, but the peanut issue is such an EASY target that hits at the heart of everyone. Peanuts are American! If you ban peanuts you must be a Communist! Our problem will always be a Social Commentary Punching Bag... one way or another, on our side, or against our side. I think we should just understand the core of the issue (fear of socialism, regulation, etc.), not the actual words these people use. Don't take it personally. (Easier said than done, of course.)

What would also help is accurate statistics so journalists who don't have time to think things through can't use the "only 15 deaths in 1995" data as the cornerstone to base their points on. Then maybe they can pick another punching bag. (I can't find reliable data when I'm trying to convince people... and I'm looking for some!) What would also help is for us to shift the focus from banning peanuts to working on win-win situations for everyone involved. (I do, however, believe banning peanuts is warranted in certain situations, such as pre-schools, where there is little control over what 2-3 year old children eat.)

--Tracy

On Mar 30, 1999

Tracy,

PITA here again...after re-reading your post on the "me" issue, I realized my post on the other thread about the neighborhood children was alot about me - sorry to get off of the subject here but it all comes together - here I quit my job to stay home and spend time with my son before he starts kindergarten in the fall, and I'M COMPLAINING about other children coming over. I should be thankful he has children who want to play with him and they don't shy away from his allergy. These are the same children he will be going to school with and may just be the ones protecting him from the "bullies."

Thanks for the second eye-opener!

On Mar 30, 1999

Thanks for posting the address for this article Connie. I replied to the author and am pretty sure that he will respond. This will be interesting. Did anybody else write to him? I hate to say that I didn't find his article that out of character for the darker side of comedy. This happens to serious issues all the time. Isn't that the point of this type of humour? Most serious issues are first heard of in this means by the general public, don't you think? Have you heard alcoholic jokes, aids jokes,no smoking jokes, nun jokes, gay jokes, racist jokes, etc.? Maybe this is the beginning of a larger awareness. Maybe negative rediculous publicity is better than none.

On Mar 31, 1999

I can't help but react to ignorance like this. I am sure anyone who has seen there 1 year old experience an anaphylaxis reaction and slip into unconsciousness, while their 12 year old it holding him, so that that they could call for help, will ever find any humor in comments like this. All I can say is Thank God his angel was with him. Lynda

On Mar 31, 1999

Hi everybody -

The jokes tick me off a bit. The ignorance of those who should know better ticks me off even more. A few months back I clipped an article on banning peanuts on airlines. How do you like these comments from "intelligent" politicians?

"I just cannot understand why the Big Brother Clinton administration insists on taking away another thing America loves - eating peanuts on planes" Rep. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.

"It is overreaching, bureaucratic nonsense like this that makes people resent and distrust government" Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.

You would think that these windbags would educate themselves about allergy before making such STUPID comments. ARRRRRGH!

I'm sorry - maybe I'm reacting -- but those comments are as offensive as saying: "Those people in wheelchairs get in the way. Make them charter their own plane".

We've got our work cut out for us. It's up to us collectively to spread the word about this allergy.

On Mar 31, 1999

Hi all,

I have thought about this long and hard, and I hope I don't tick anyone off, but I have removed the address for the article I took exception to. There is soooo much negativity with the peanut allergy and instead of focusing on this; all it does is gets us upset and sends our blood pressure sky high, I want to focus my attention on the positive...give me a second, I'll think of something positive! I don't want to give these people the satifaction anymore of my getting upset. I think EVERYONE who posted a response here has a valid point - what is at hand here is our children's lives...with or without other people's cooperation!

On Mar 31, 1999

I know this sounds like a broken record, but these people are REACTING to being told that they can't have something, it's not about the peanut allergy. If it wasn't peanuts, they'd pick something else. People love to be told they can't have something because it allows them to go into non-linear orbit. Politicians especially love it because it gives them more ammo against the other party. Leno/Letterman love it because they've got 15 minutes of monologue to kill every night. Newspaper editors love it because it fills their op/ed pages. These people LOOK for stuff like this... yes, they are ignorant. Leno has made a lot of jokes about Al Gore claiming he invented the Internet and Leno is off-base because Gore really did have a lot of influence in the Internet, he just used a bad choice of words. But Gore will be the butt of every joke because the journalists haven't done their homework. Many will never do their homework... it's not something we personally can change. Every single time I know something about a subject, I notice the newspapers and TV reports get something wrong about it or fudge the statistics or make something sensational out of nothing.

We need to spread the word about the seriousness and stay as far as possible away from talking about banning things. If people understand how serious the allergy is, they'll be more likely to participate in a voluntary ban. It is human nature to react negatively when told they can't have something.

But, if you want to look at the bright side, which I do, we never would have gotten the media attention we got if it hadn't been for the uproar about the airlines banning peanuts. It wasn't always the reaction we wanted (the jokes, editorials, etc.), but EVERYONE I tell about my son's allergy says, "Oh yeah, I heard they are banning peanuts on airplanes." And that's when I say, "with good reason, because this is a life threatening allergy... blah blah."

So yeah, most of the jokes aren't that funny, but I believe they help by spreading the word that there may be something bad about this peanut allergy thing. I also think there are a lot of reasonable empathetic people out there who don't care if they're not served peanuts on an airplane and who think the people and politicians whining about it are idiots.

--Tracy

On Mar 31, 1999

Laura, I totally agree with you about the ignorance of politicians, however; if you notice where these politicians you mentioned are from, if would be probably be a matter of good lobbying effort for the peanut industry and not ignorance that provoked them to make these comments. Now I interpret this to mean that they could care less about the lives of our children as long as they get the almighty dollars needed from the peanut industry to get themselves re-elected.

On a side note, I e-mailed my representative here in Texas about support for labeling efforts as well as support for peanut allergy awareness in our schools. This has been over a month ago, and I have yet to get a response. Guess my issues are not quite important enough for him to respond to!

On Mar 31, 1999

Okay, I was going to edit my above post, but thought I'd just add something here instead... I thought I would clarify EVEN MORE [img]http://client.ibboards.com/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] (So I can sleep better tonight knowing I haven't offended half of you.)

I don't mean that these people's ignorant comments are not about the peanuts... they are, of course. As I said earlier, peanuts are such an easy target because they're so AMERICAN. I just think their reactions have more to do with being told they can't have something than they are about the peanuts. This reasoning helps me not take all this so personally.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but most of the articles I see discuss banning peanuts in schools or airlines as the main point. (There hase been some press recently that discusses the latest research and vaccines. See the Research section for pointers.) It just seems that the banning stuff gets everyone's attention and it usually doesn't put us -- the Peanut Allergy People -- in a good light. (It does, however, give us some light, which is a Good Thing. All press is good press, so they say.)

As for positive press, we really need a celebrity spokesperson. Does anyone know anybody famous with a peanut allergy? Anybody famous who has a kid with a peanut allergy?

--Tracy

On Mar 31, 1999

Hi Tracy,

I had posed that same question a while ago about celebrity's and the peanut allergy. Patti had mentioned she e-mailed the Rosie O'Donnell show but I don't think she ever received a response. I wonder how we could go about finding out if there are any celebrity's who have this allergy...or their children. Interesting!!

P.S. Sweet Dreams!!

On Mar 31, 1999

Tracy, You're right this guy is just spouting off because he can't stand the thought that gov't might be taking something away from him. And if he wants to give his opinion and whine about bans on peanuts--let him, that's free speech.

But what worries me is someone who is clueless about allergies (like alot of the population) could read it and not realize they are just one person's opinion and belive the allergy is trivial. For example, this guy equates an allergy to wool with a pnt allergy (as far as I know, you can't die from a wool allergy). The uneducated on allergies might belive this stuff, which makes it harder on us to get people to take this allergy serious.

re:celebrity's. FAN has a request out for the same thing--check with them maybe they've found someone.

re:support from representatives. when an omnibus bill came up for vote to overturn the DOTs pnt-free buffer zone policy, I emailed Patrick Kennedy (house of rep for my state) to support the DOT. I received a timely letter back from him stating he "belived it was unacceptable for congress to have attempted to bypasss the DOT's policy". And he said he "appreciated the serious nature of the reactions suffered by many citizens allergic to peanuts and agree that they have the right to enjoy safe and healthy airline travel". It was good to see he was educatated on the topic and sensitive to it.

[This message has been edited by brenda (edited April 01, 1999).]

On Apr 1, 1999

Brenda,

I completely agree that there's the chance some people are going to view the peanut allergy as less serious because of the ignorant comments. I bet these same people had never even heard of peanut allergies before the jokes. Now they've at least heard about them and they've heard that some people think they're serious and others are joking about it. If they have the tendency to freak out over something as trivial as not getting their peanuts on an airplane, we probably never had a chance with them understanding anyway.

We do need to figure out how to take advantage of this new knowledge without getting too upset over the big mouth idiots who don't have a clue. I'm not sure how to do that, but am open to all suggestions! [img]http://client.ibboards.com/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

--Tracy

On Apr 1, 1999

Due to my upcoming Disney trip in May, I have been "participating" alot on various Disney message boards. Recently, one of the boards (rec.arts.disney.parks) has become very nasty regarding the peanut allergy. A few weeks ago, someone was kind enough to post their "peanut" experiences at Disney. I wrote back to the poster thanking her for her feedback on her trip. This then spurred a few people to write how disgusted they were with hearing about the peanut allergy and having to revolve their lives around it. Basically, statements have been made that if people are so sensitive to peanuts (which they absolutely did not believe happens) then they just should not fly. The posts quickly spiraled downward even further and have evolved into a discussion regarding how terrible some people are for putting their children in daycare (peanut allergy or not). It is just unbelievable. The point of all this really got to me--people are just so unsensitive to people with special needs. It makes me want to cry that my child will be at the brunt of these bullies all of his life. These are the same people who will probably get a "kick" out of slipping a peanut in his food or something. I just don't understand why people are so mean-spirited. I would like to believe that even before a member of my family was affected by this allergy that I would have willingly accommodated someone with this problem without rolling my eyes or being sarcastic. What is wrong with this world anymore? Christine

On Apr 1, 1999

Christine,

Well, your experience sure is scary. I'd like to think that these people are just mouthing off online. While I've had to spend some time explaining to people the seriousness of the allergy, I have fortunately never had to deal with the prejudice you describe face-to-face.

I have had to deal with the "people are bad for using daycare" argument. I don't use daycare, but I do have a nanny. Not too long ago, I had to listen to my DENTIST tell me how wrong he thought I was for not staying home with my son 24 hours a day. For crying out loud! This guy is in his 60's and never once has spent an entire day with a baby, or else he'd be whistling a different tune, or at least be more understanding. I didn't let it get to me, I just grunted with my mouth full of tools. There is no changing this guy's mind; he will always think this way. (He's an excellent dentist and I've been going to him for years. I don't want to change doctors. But I don't agree with his opinions.)

So, should we start issuing press releases every time someone dies? Will this help get the word out about the seriousness? I hate to be morbid, but how else can we get people's attention?

I *really* like Patti's idea of getting in touch with Rosie O'Donnel. What about Oprah? Has anyone tried contacting her?

--Tracy

On Apr 1, 1999

I tried to contact Rosie too - no response yet. Good thinking about Oprah - I'm game for contacting her. Kath

On Apr 1, 1999

Tracy, I do think that this allergy needs more publicity.

One of the rude posters on the Disney site was spouting off that how few people actually have this allergy and that "personally, has anyone ever truly had an airborne reaction" or was it just hypothetical. It is basic ignorance. She also stated that now we will have to ban sugar in schools because a diabetic child might be tempted to eat the sugar. Now, I'm not trying to downplay diabetes. Lord knows it is a terrible disease, but let's face it, if a diabetic child truly did this they would not die within 15 minutes. There would be warning signs that the blood sugar was too high and diabetics regularly check their levels so even if this did happen, it could be counteracted with insulin. So, for most people, they are dealing with total ignorance. They cannot imagine why a popular food must be banned. They do not understand how life threatening it can be. I don't know how to make them understand either. I think it needs to start at a higher level (government). I think Canada has done the right thing by suggesting that parents avoid peanut products during the first three years of life. It is just like the warning the American Academy of Pediatrics gives in the U.S. regarding eggs (no eggs until one year old). We get those instructions and follow them willingly because it was set forth by a trusted institution. Once the medical profession truly recognizes this problem then we will get some understanding I think. Why on earth they won't do this is beyond my reasoning. They do it for eggs. Also, that daycare issue was particularly disgusting to me. This woman assumes that all parents who both work do it only so they could afford their nice houses and wonderful cars. I had to explain to this lovely creature that not everyone's world was so black and white. Some of us did not marry wealthy people and both must work just so that we can live in a house, period! Certainly, I would stay home if it were an option. She basically said that if I could not stay home, I had not business procreating! Christine

On Apr 1, 1999

Christine, I used to work with a woman who made the comment TO MY FACE that when her sister was growing up as a diabetic, they didn't ban sugar!! My mouth hit the floor...we are not even talking apples to oranges here, they are comparing celery sticks to a Boston Creme Pie!!! I was so speechless (imagine that) another co-worker spoke up for me and said "if this was your child, you would be humming a different tune." When I finally gathered my thoughts together, I informed her EXACTLY what you said...if we (I'm hypoglycemic; both of my parents are diabetics...same reaction as a diabetic if I have too much sugar)get a hold of sugar, we are not going to die within a matter of minutes...there is no comparison! Her tone immediately changed because she was "called on it."

When I was first diagnosed, my dietician was pushing PEANUT BUTTER on me to keep my sugar level from going too low...imagine that. It's being shoved down my throat, and I'm trying to keep it out of my son's!

I also don't know how to make people understand the seriousness of this allergy. Personally, I had never heard of an allergy to peanuts until my son was diagnosed, but I would never downplay something someone told me until I knew differently.

Luckily, the majority of the people I inform about my son's allergy seem very understanding...in fact, just his MedicAlert bracelet starts up conversations on his allergy..."oh what does his bracelet say" or "I see he wears a MedicAlert bracelet - what for?"

Luckily, staying home is now an option for me and those people have absolutely no right for making a comment that if you couldn't stay home, you have no business procreating. Where do we find these people??? Do we have magnets around our necks that just attracts them to us?

Stay safe!

On Apr 1, 1999

It really, really isn't funny, is it? You all have made very valid points. Reading your reactions makes me realize how I have held the anger, hurt, frustration, and countless other emotions inside of me for a very long time. I have a sad example of this kind of stupidity to share with all of you. Today, of course, is April Fool's day. I arrived at work to find a cut-out magazine picture of a pile of peanuts taped to my computer. One of the lawyers I work with wrote on it in black marker "We're coming to get you!" In years past, I might have been devasted. Today, I choose to fight back, and I did. Frankly, I'd rather spend my energy and time with proactive education and instructing those who care to listen, rather than waste my time with cruel people who don't want to hear. Surprisingly, this rude co-worker actually did listen to me, and I think I won over another convert to the serious reality of a peanut allergy. I was hurt, but I fought back. He just didn't get it... Keep fighting back!

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On Apr 1, 1999

Geeesh...I just don't get how anyone could think the solution for pnt allergic people is to not fly. We're not taking these people's pnts away from them for life--its only a few hours a year probably that they fly and would have to give up that package of 12 lousy, little pnts that they get free!!!! I bet the only time these people even eat pnts is on an airplane and would never even go out and buy them themselves. I know I'm rambling, I guess my point is they wouldn't even miss them if they got a free little package of 12 pretzels or fritos.

Also, I had another thought for a celebrity to contact--Kathy Lee Gifford? She seems really into kids like Rosie is. Or how about that talk show with the woman Leeza--she seems compassionate. Or how about Jerry Springer--where we can beat up some of those mean anti-pnt-allergic people. (hee hee [img]http://client.ibboards.com/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img])

On Apr 2, 1999

Anne's comment about her co-worker putting a picture of peanuts on her computer reminded me of something I've been thinking about for awhile... remember the story of that father who purposely injected his baby son with the aids virus? How outraged the world was? (And rightfully so...) Yet, some people will turn around and shove peanuts in an allergic child's face just to prove it's all in their heads. To me it's the same thing, but everyone is *very* educated about aids, not so about peanut allergies.

It's good you said something, Anne. It surprises me behavior like that goes on at the office, *especially* in a law office.

As an aside I've found a very effective technique for dealing with sexual-harrassment-like comments at my mostly male office... I just smile and say, "oh goodie! Another entry for my diary! And we have witnesses! Let's see, what's today? Does someone have the time?"

I say this as jokingly as I can (laughing, smiling, etc.), but it never fails to scare the hell out of every man there. It has worked so well that the comments have pretty much ceased. Don't know if this kind of approach would work in your case, but thought I'd let you know about it.

Anyway, I was also thinking... regarding the people who feel their rights are violated because they're denied peanuts for 2 hours at 33,000 feet, perhaps we're being a little harsh. The Constipated Ford-Explorer-Driving-Communists [img]http://client.ibboards.com/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] that we are, we should see their side too... so for these less-emotionally-evolved people, let's create the "PayDay Compensation Plan," whereby all people who feel their rights have been violated can receive 1 PayDay candy bar upon arrival at their destination.

Just some random thoughts... wish I'd sent the PayDay idea yesterday on April 1.

--Tracy

On Apr 2, 1999

Hello All, I have to say we can make a choice to let people's ignorance get to us or we can choose to (attempt to)educate them. When I get too frustrated and down I have to remind myself of how many people are supporting me and truly do care. I am ever thankful that if nothing else, and least my child has ME to look out for him. How many of you know someone who is very casual about their own child's safety? Or are putting their child in danger unknowingly? I suffered for years because my parents thought my sickness was 'all in my head' My son will never have to feel the aloneness I did.

On Apr 2, 1999

I know this is a really nasty thought, but I was kind of hoping that these narrow-minded, self-righteous people would end up with a peanut allergic child (although I would really wish that on no one). They scream so loud and hard and nastily about their "rights to peanuts" being taken from them that I am just positive that they would make great advocates for "our side" should they ever have to be in our situation. Some people just do not have the ability to have empathy for another person.

Tracy, I really chuckled over your PayDay remark. You know it is one of my favorite candy bars. My boss always buys candy for the office and I was begging him to get some Paydays for me to chomp on at the office. I was relating a story to my office mates regarding my "stupid" days. I was out at the grocery store alone and thought I would pick up a PayDay at the checkout to eat (while alone). I hopped in my car and starting scarfing it down when I noticed that it was crumbling up and falling all over the car. I freaked out and spent the next week decontaminating my car. Boy, I will never do that again.

Back to the issue of comedians, radio personalities making fun of this allergy: I have to say that some parents (peanut and non-peanut allergic) are REALLY obnoxious. I have witnessed this at recent PTA meetings. The subject could be anything and some parents have the knack of being so condescending, obnoxious, all-knowing, whatever, that I want to puke!! I can't help but wonder if some parents of peanut allergic children (probably the one's driving Explorers!!) come off this way at some time--being beligerent and pushy. I think it is very important to get this out in a tactful, calm, informative matter. That is why we need good spokespeople for this. Earlier someone mentioned using Kathie Lee Gifford. While she doesn't bother me too much, so many people are against her anymore that I think it might make our plight even worse. Rosie is a great choice. Christine

On Apr 3, 1999

Go Anne! [img]http://client.ibboards.com/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] It is scarey how some people find it unbelievable that a peanut can do so much harm. I have had one person, since explaining Seans allergy to them, actually start bringing peanut contaminated food into our home. I am going to have to approach the issue again. I am praying that I can do it in a calm, informative manner. It is so hard when you are dealing with your child's life.

On Apr 8, 1999

I was trying to explain peanut allergy to someone today. It was clear that they were not quite getting it. When I likened the severity of allergic reaction to shellfish and bee stings, the light bulb went on. Has anyone else used that type of analogy?

On Apr 8, 1999

Steve, I use the bee sting analogy all the time when people have a blank look on their faces when I'm explaining allergic reactions and anaphylaxis. It always seems to click in their heads when I mention bee sting and then they understand the seriousness.

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