The Weekend From Hell

Posted on: Sun, 07/18/2004 - 11:46pm
Lisa Melchers's picture
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Joined: 06/22/2004 - 09:00

I am so upset about a weekend trip to my sisters' and am desperate for some sympathetic listeners. Sister is always pushing to have my 9year old tna, pa daughter stay with her for a few days without me there. Her daughter and mine are only 8 months apart and very close. Am always hesitant to do so as she has severe pa(5.9 RAST). Friday night brother-in-law takes out a jar of peanuts and starts eating them in front of daughter and asks"what's the matter?" when I give him the evil eye. I next have to explain to him, which I can not believe I am doing, do you not remember that Dana is severly allergic to peanuts. When he replies, well she isn't eating them. Then I have to go into my speech and explain things again about smelling, touching, etc. WHEN WILL PEOPLE UNDERSTAND?Then Saturday sister serves hot dogs, macaroni salad, etc. Ask her again, she goes over ingredients and replies " why would there be any nuts/peanuts in these things? with a defensive tone. AGAIN, WHEN WILL PEOPLE UNDERSTAND? This is supposed to be my sister who "would never do anything to hurt her". Dana eats a hot dog and some macaroni salad. Ten minutes later Dana develops a hive on her lip. I try not to freak out in front of her and then start grilling my sister because at this point, I am starting to get nervous that something worse is about to happen, no other symptoms yet. Ask sister about bowls used, utensils, etc. Any chance of cross-contamination as I know her kids eat peanut stuff when we are not there. Sister then begins to yell at me stating " How many times are you going to ask the same question? and storms out of the room stating that she has already answered my question and there is nothing on bowls, etc. Dana is still fine at this point, but hive is getting bigger and more annoying to her. She is now crying and getting really nervous. I decide to try the Benadryl, as no other symptoms have developed and try to console her and calm her down, while freakin gout on the inside. Sister is now not speaking to me. Thankfully, hive went away and no other symptoms developed. Had epi-pen with me as I always do, but thankfully did not have to use it. I am so upset and hurt and my sister STILL DOES NOT GET IT. She wants me to leave my precious daughter there for a few days without me? Not a chance in hell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I want to scream!!!!!!!!AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! IT is a sad state when you can not even get your own family members to understand. I finally got Dana out of a month long anxiety and she was finally coming around about trusting food at other peoples houses when they are checked by me. How can you be safe when people can not even comprehend what you are talking about? I don't want to leave the house with her now. I hope that she will be o.k. I hope that I wil be o.k. Thanks for listening.

Posted on: Mon, 07/19/2004 - 1:09am
tcperrine's picture
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Joined: 03/01/2002 - 09:00

Lisa,
I wish I had a magic answer for you. But we are going through the same thing now but it is my father-in-law. I allowed DD to stay over one night and, luckily, all was well. Since then, however, he has eaten peanuts multiple times right before our visit. Last week I found one on their counter where I had just finished preparing her lunch. They've been told we won't be coming over anymore. Period. The environment isn't safe - especially since my DD is only 4 (and also over a 5 on the RAST). The only suggestion I could make is to always bring your daughters food. They do not get it. They will never get it. They do not live, eat, and breathe this.
Personally, I think that the medical community (and us) do PA a disservice by calling it an allergy. Our collective knowledge tells us that an allergy will give you a runny nose and make you sneeze. It is VERY hard for most people to get past that definition. I will occassionally say my daughter is anaphylactic to peanuts. A big medical word seems to convey more seriousness to the general ignorant population. (Sorry, that was rude, but I am bitter. I used to live among the ignorant and be one too.)
I send you a great big cyber {{{hug}}} and truly hope you can work it out. I hope your daughter wasn't too upset over the incident.
Carolyn

Posted on: Mon, 07/19/2004 - 1:19am
StaceyK's picture
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Joined: 05/06/2003 - 09:00

Wow. I am an only child but if I had a relative who acted this way I would simply not deal with them anymore. *She* was angry with *you*? I would think it should be the other way around. I have to wonder when I read these stories...are this many people really ignorant or is some of this passive aggressive behavior?
It's easy for me to say as an only child, I know, but she would be history as long as this was the treatment my family received at her house.
I'm so sorry that happened!!

Posted on: Mon, 07/19/2004 - 1:22am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Lisa Melchers, well, I wouldn't be letting your daughter stay at your sister's anytime in the near future, that's for sure. If your sister mentions your daughter staying with her again, go over what happened this past week-end and how you're just not okay with having your daughter stay there.
I always read with such sadness here when family doesn't "get it".
We're about to move closer to family within less than two weeks. Yesterday my DH was telling me about his sister, who we will be living close to and who apparently is very excited that we are moving closer - her children will finally get to know their cousins, etc.
Well, she doesn't "get it" re PA. She even had some argument this past week-end with my DH about a "peanut free" classroom and how it was okay for her to send peanut products in because her children are always removed to eat them (it was unclear as to whether or not they washed their hands afterward or not).
I said to DH yesterday, very clearly, that when we get there, when we go to visit his sister, if there are ANY problems re PA, I will be leaving with the kids (one PA, one not). He "got it" and understood completely, thank heaven.
There are so many positive things about us moving back to the big city and closer to family, but I do have to say that PA goes on the list of "cons" as to why it isn't a great idea. I haven't had to deal with family not "getting it" for six years (really shortly after my son's diagnosis). From reading here, I believe I have escaped (and my son has) a lot of heartache.
I can see my SIL having something to say about how I deal with the school (and as far as I can tell right now, it is going to be the same school her children go to) and it will go to my MIL, around the block a few times and then get back to me. It is not going to be easy and I'm not looking forward to it at all.
I have seen almost complete strangers "get it" so that they could include my son in birthday parties and other things and I think that's why we find family not "getting it" so difficult. They're related to your child and yet there's this big blip as far as your child's allergy.
I'm going to hazard a guess that my life, away from family, has probably been really easy for us. We have a peanut/nut free home and we've never had to worry about going into other people's homes and if they would be okay or not.
I just wish there was something concise, to the point, that wouldn't take up too much of people's time that they could read and "get it". I certainly don't want anyone walking in my shoes the way I walk every day, but just to have PA recognized and dealt with well when I'm there, that would be great.
Is it *normal* for you to be in touch with your sister to-day? What happened as you were leaving? Did she speak with you by then?
Big hugs. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Mon, 07/19/2004 - 1:37am
Lisa Melchers's picture
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Joined: 06/22/2004 - 09:00

Sister called to see if we arrived home ok. No mention of situation. I am still very angry. She basically treated me very cold for the rest of the visit and I did the same. I am considering sending her some info just to make me feel better. I can try to educate her further, but as we all know, if you don't live it, you are not in tune to it all of the time, like we are.
I will definitely bring my own food if we do happen to visit again. If so, it will be a long time from now. I just feel bad for the kids as they are close in age and are so close. I just thank God that nothing else happened. Thanks for listening everybody!!
An apology or some understanding from her would have been nice, but she is not that type anyway. I am still very upset, but venting here definitely helps!!

Posted on: Mon, 07/19/2004 - 3:51am
KarenT's picture
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Joined: 10/30/1999 - 09:00

It is hard when family does not get it. I have a BIL that has told my DD "You cant come to my house because I have nuts!"
When your DD had the hot dog did your DS butter the bun? If it was an open container of margarine or butter chances of cross contamination are very high in a house of peanut butter lovers.
Plan other fun things to do for the summer to get your mind of your extended family.
------------------
Karalot

Posted on: Mon, 07/19/2004 - 4:06am
CorinneM1's picture
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Joined: 06/20/2002 - 09:00

Carolyn--
I totally agree with you on the use of the word allergy and what I think most people believe a food allergy to be.
Most of the time when I state to someone that my son is allergic to peanuts, there is little to no reaction, but if questioned (and more times than not I am) what that means and I give details of what an ingestion can do to him and actions required--*then* people seem more apt to "get it".

Posted on: Mon, 07/19/2004 - 4:34am
pgrubbs's picture
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Joined: 10/27/2003 - 09:00

My Dhs family is like this. I am thankful they live 3 states away. I am sorry you had to deal with this. I'm thinking of you. You did the right thing!
paula

Posted on: Mon, 07/19/2004 - 5:19am
momtomitchell's picture
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Joined: 04/20/2004 - 09:00

Lisa,
I'm sorry you had to deal with that. It is very frustrating when family does not understand. Last week we went to my SIL and there on her kitchen table within reach of ds was a jar of nuts!!! I told her I would put them away for her. Then comes dinner and she puts a jar of mayo right infront of ds!! Nevermind I don't eat anything in front of him he can't, but he could have got a hold of it!
Is your dd allergic to eggs? I'm thinking the mayo may have given her the hive?

Posted on: Mon, 07/19/2004 - 5:22am
mcmom's picture
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Joined: 06/15/2004 - 09:00

Lisa, sorry to hear what happened at your sister's. You were 100% in the right. I have a big problem with my MIL not getting it. She thinks I'm just overprotective, and has accused me of keeping my DS "in a bubble". At the start of the summer, I agonized over whether or not to let him go to 2 weeks of morning day camp - his best friends were all going. But it turned out that the kids would all be bringing snacks (of course) and there were only 2 adults supervising *all* of the kids -the "counselors" were 12 and 13 year olds. Not even remotely within my comfort zone for my five year old. I felt terrible about him not being able to go (I also have a 3 yr old, or I would have just gone with him and volunteered to supervise the snacktime, etc myself!) So when my MIL finds out, she tells me that my son has "no life". I was absolutely crushed, and haven't called her since. I kept trying to make her understand that this is a life threatening situation, but she's clueless. On the other hand, the librarian who runs the craft/storytime my son attends takes his allergy so seriously she even called me at home to make sure he could use the crayons there, bless her. Like Cindy said, it's funny how random people will just "get it", and then the people who should care the most about your child don't.

Posted on: Mon, 07/19/2004 - 11:44am
Kimari's picture
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Joined: 04/14/2004 - 09:00

Hi There,
I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I had a similar experience with my own BIL not too long ago, I also posted about it here. (He is such an idiot) I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that nobody, including family members, is ever going to totally understand what it is like for the parants of a PA child, or for that matter the child herself.
All you can do is what you are doing. (Does that make sense...it's been a long day.)
Take Care,
Kim

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