Should he or shouldn\'t he?

Posted on: Fri, 05/19/2006 - 2:31am
perpetually perplexed's picture
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HI Everyone,

My 9 PA DS will be attending a new school next year. He is currently in a smallish private school, with attentive to his PA, teachers and administration. He does not wear medic alert bracelet there. It is our choice and I am comfortable with it. The new school presents kind of a different dilema. The new school is located in a very, very socially and economically depressed area with a crime rate way much different than what we are use to. The school is a "magnet school" for gifted and academically talented children. He was accepted into the gifted program which is quite a big deal. (quite a feat in itself)The kids in his new class come from all over the county. Some drive 30 miles each way. The neighborhood kids also attend the school but are in different classrooms. I have been on 3 different tours and an orientation for new parents and my son has been to class there a full day. (he loved it!! "Mom, I was in a class where kids actually wanted to learn. That was so cool!") We are very excited about this opportunity.

Now for the question. Should he wear his medic alert bracelet? My instinct screams NO to me. Keep this between the teachers and administration. The neighborhood kids have no business knowing. I am afraid of what they will do if they found out. He will be able to carry his epi with him in his backpack. This is another thing the neighborhood kids don't really need to know. Two of his best friends will be attending the academically talented classes and he has another friend in a higher grade AT class. (His mother is up there all the time and is aware of DS PA). Also, on one of my tours I was told by the secretary that she is analyphlatic to milk and carries an epi. That was some relief for me knowing that they already have some experience with deadly allergies. The school district had known of DS PA before they admitted him. He was in the pullout program for 3 years and I listed it in capital letters on his application to this particular school.

Please give thoughts on this.

Thanks
PP

[This message has been edited by perpetually perplexed (edited May 19, 2006).]

Posted on: Fri, 05/19/2006 - 2:41am
Peg541's picture
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Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

I am not questioning your decision to send your child to a bigger school. This was the way we did it.
We kept our son in small private schools until graduation. He's 21 now and in a small private University.
My thinking was if this big group of kids he does not know are all eating together in a BIG room or an even BIGGER yard and my son is reacting he will not be able to get through that big group of kids to help. Especially if they don't let him carry a cell phone or epi pen which our public schools will not allow.
So if your son is in a similar situation the only thing he might have that identifies him as an allergic person is his medic alert bracelet.
Lets face it, a medic alert bracelet is for when you cannot speak for yourself. In my estimation it is already very late into a reaction if you cannot speak for yourself and have not had epi.
I think the bracelet is window dressing. It helps my son remember his allergy. He's not likely to forget but it is there to remind him.
I think a nine year old boy is old enough to wear a medic alert. Bracelet or necklace. I question their affectiveness in anaphylaxis but since they are there, they are well knows, we should use them.
Peg

Posted on: Fri, 05/19/2006 - 3:00am
perpetually perplexed's picture
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Joined: 02/12/2005 - 09:00

Peg, Thank you for your quick response.
I forgot to mention that his current school has 600 kids and his new school has just under 300. The new school is only 3, 4 and 5 graders.
I like the suggestion of the necklace. This sounds better to me. DS has been "trained" on PA for a long time now. (6+ years) He knows not to sit by one eating nuts and to wash hands frequently etc...He is allowed to carry meds on him at all times. (Florida state law and gladly accepted by schools)
It is very difficult for me as his parent to give him more responsibility with this. I have always been around or saw to it that someone knowledgable was around. It is very hard for me to learn to trust my DS by himself with this aweful allergy. Parental instinct I guess. I don't want to let go. How in the world did you do it PEG? Please clue me in.
Thanks
PP
[This message has been edited by perpetually perplexed (edited May 19, 2006).]
[This message has been edited by perpetually perplexed (edited May 19, 2006).]

Posted on: Fri, 05/19/2006 - 3:19am
Carefulmom's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

My daughter who is graduating elementary school will also be attending a gifted magnet as will 30% of the kids she is graduating with. She has worn a medic alert bracelet since her first anaphylactic reaction at age 2 1/2 and I consider it playing Russian roulette not to. The reality is if you are in a car accident with your son and the two of you are unconscious, no one will know about his allergies without his bracelet. Or if something happens at school and he is unconscious. About the neighborhood kids, we have that too, but the magnet kids are in totally separate classes. There will be no neighborhood kids in your ds`s classes unless they happen to be in the gifted magnet. After all, that is the whole point of the gifted magnet, right? And about having to make his way through a huge crowd to get help, his friends will know about his allergy and they will get help for him if necessary. With staggered lunches as they do in crowded shools, it is not like the child is making his way though thousands of kids to get help. Your school only has 300 kids anyhow, but even if there were more kids in the school, the lunches would probably be staggered.
About a necklace, I went to the fire station to talk with paramedics a few months ago about getting my dd a gold medic alert bracelet and would a paramedic notice it. The answer is that they are trained specifically to look for a silver bracelet, not gold, not a necklace. A gold bracelet or a necklace is something they might notice and might not. I don`t think that is a chance to take. Just my opinion.
I think everyone should have a medic alert bracelet for their food allergic child. Accidents are never planned. If he is unconscious, he won`t be able to speak or take care of himself.

Posted on: Fri, 05/19/2006 - 3:40am
Peg541's picture
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Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

PP, although our son was diagnosed at age 4 or 5 he never had a reaction till age 14 and 15. Both BIG ingestion reactions. So I think our ignorance carried us thru till then. We really had no idea how horrible a reaction could be till we saw his first.
I made sure he knew everything I knew about PA. He learned right alongside me. We talked about it every day and we still do, a little bit at a time.
We role played every single day in the car on the way to school. I drove him every day from K till graduation. Yes I am protective, over protective even but he did fine and is on his own now and doing fine. He's a bit of a Renaissance man and does not drive. He'll get there.
I did every single thing I could do to help him stay safe and learn to handle this himself.
When I first joined here I was blasted because people thought I was doing everything and not asking him to be responsible for himself. He and I were partners. He did his school work and I started the ball rolling to get his college prepared. You can't imagine how stressful 11th and 12th grades are.
Once he finished school and stared college he was on his own. I've prepared him for that since day one. He's responsible for educating everyone in his dorms and every one of his professors.
From day one he's carried his epi pen and has known when and how to use it. I also gave him permission to overrule the decision of ANY adult who might not think he needed the epi pen or wanted to "wait and see."
I think there was only one recent incident where he drank something I considered highly questionable. A Starbucks chocolate thing. I called him on it and he was irate. I still think he was wrong and we don't discuss it. He's 21, responsible for his own mistakes too.
I'm scared all the time. Not so much now but when we are together I hold my breath when he takes a first bite of restaurant food. Even though he has carefully prepared the wait staff. Every time he leaves the house I say "choose carefully" and he knows exactly what I mean.
I'm angry that something as stupid as a peanut can kill my son and his life is different because of that.
His life is good however. He's happy, smart, well educated and ready to take on the world. He and I are close. DD too, we are very close. That's just the way I did things. I like it this way, the kids do too.
I think that finding out about his PA gave me a bigger purpose in his life, a bigger responsiblity than other parents and I took that and ran with it. What choice do any of us have? You do what you gotta do.
I nearly died when he went off to college. It was the same week our daughter left for a semester in London. My nest emptied out in one swell foop! He's got one year left, she's got a job in Hollywood and will be in her own apartment any day now and I might actually be looking forward to my empty nest again!
Good luck.
Peg

Posted on: Fri, 05/19/2006 - 4:30am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

I just wanted to add my .02 in here...
I would encourage your child to continue wearing the bracelet. Most of the time, after they've worn it for years, it is so much a part of them that they don't fidget with it much and therefore, it doesn't stand out. Taking it off for school sends a very bad message IMO.
I also want to offer Peg my heartfelt thanks for sharing so much about her son. My daughter's personality is so very similar... and Peg has given me a virtual roadmap for how to turn her allergies over to her. Training, training,training, with emphasis on my it all matters so very much. And the knowledge that I am always her safety net. For now. But that someday all these decisions will be hers to make-- and that they are [i]all[/i] big decisions for [i]her[/i] when it comes to food. Just the way it is.
Again, thank you, Peg. The thought of my daughter's teen years would have me reserving a rubber room if it weren't for you. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Fri, 05/19/2006 - 4:56am
Peg541's picture
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Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Thank you, I appreciate your thanks.
One thing that affected me was the two times my son called me from college about peanut exposures.
The first time he was crying. I was so sad for him. They had set out a bowl of chopped peanuts for ice cream sundaes and he had to leave the cafeteria. The food service people know about his allergy but their manager is the one that rolls his eyes. My son felt so disheartened to see those peanuts there. I felt horrible for him but he and I talked it over and he turned it around by speaking to the disability coordinator. It was tough to hear him cry though.
The second time was when he had an airborne reaction in a theater in the small town his college is in. Again he was upset to have to leave the play before it was over and miss the second half. He and I agreed he would go back to his dorms where all of his hippie friends are and where he'll get the support he needed right then.
I was so glad he called me. He knew what to do, he took Benadryl before he called me, he just needed to talk and I was glad it was me.
It won't be me much longer. He's older and wiser and doing fine. I am just glad I was able to get him to this point and we could share his successes and failures.
Peg

Posted on: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 3:16am
perpetually perplexed's picture
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Joined: 02/12/2005 - 09:00

I just wanted to follow up on this topic. I did get my son a bracelet from "Lauren's Hope." It is "sweet" as my DS would say. Very high quality and I would recommend them to anyone that doesn't want to go the medic alert route. I wanted a few extras engraved on the back and they magically worked it in! I was skeptical at the price but now would order again from them!
DS wears it all the time and I don't have to remind him to put it on in the morning. He puts it right next to his glasses and sharktooth necklace. He doesn't like to sleep with jewelry on.

Posted on: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 4:40am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Quote:Originally posted by perpetually perplexed:
The new school is located in a very, very socially and economically depressed area with a crime rate way much different than what we are use to.
And this would have supposedly affected your son's ability to wear his MedicAlert bracelet how? Wow!
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
------------------
If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane, I would walk up to heaven and bring you back home with me.

Posted on: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 5:24am
perpetually perplexed's picture
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Joined: 02/12/2005 - 09:00

double post
[This message has been edited by perpetually perplexed (edited August 12, 2006).]

Posted on: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 5:27am
perpetually perplexed's picture
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Joined: 02/12/2005 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by perpetually perplexed:
[b]csc: And this would have supposedly affected your son's ability to wear his MedicAlert bracelet how? Wow!
One year, my DS was chased around the cafeteria by a child with a pbj. He wanted to see what would happen. Then last year a kid taunted DS with a pbj saying.."I am going to KILL you". He is the son of a bigshot city police detective. Mind you that this was a private Catholic school that these events took place in.
The kids in his new school have been exposed to terrible violence most of their short lives. Many of them are being raised by grandparents because their parents are currently in jail. They are sort of immune to the evil of violence. I do not want to find out what they would do just for spite. So far they have demonstrated nothing but kindness and respect. (even tho the 5th graders were in trouble on the first day)
[/b]

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