Horrible 4th....now what?!

Posted on: Mon, 07/05/2004 - 3:29am
seanmn's picture
Joined: 10/01/2003 - 09:00

Yesterday we went to my brother's house for the 4th. My mother reminded my SIL not to have peanuts or nuts because of my DS. My whole family knows exactly what he is allergic to-peanuts, dogs, cats, horses, pollen, ragweed and mold. So, when we got there I checked out the food table. Of course, there were two pans of bars marked WITH NUTS on them. One was fudge and the other I did not look at because I assumed it was tree nuts. He is not allergic to tree nuts and she had them on the counter where the little kids could not get them so I was ok with it. Well, 4 or so hours later I went in the house and my mother quickly stuffed something in her mouth so I would not see. I asked her what she was eating, she did not answer, so I lifted the cover off the pan of bars I thought contained tree nuts. To my surprise there they were PEANUTS. I asked her why she was eating those and she said she could not resist ONE. My SIL was standing there and said my mother had been eating them all day. I was so upset I said "Thank you for putting my child's life in danger." I told
my husband we were leaving.

All of our stuff was at my mother's house a few blocks away. We were going to stay overnight, but my husband blew up and said we were not. He was first upset at me because he did not know why I was so angry. My mother was home by then and said she was sorry for eating them. Of course, I was also upset with my SIL. But, my mother has read a few books I have given her so she knows exactly what can happen to him and how fast it can happen. By the way, we go there frequently and she still has nuts and peanut butter in her house.

My mother always thinks she is right and I am always wrong. I am 36 and she still thinks she can control my life including my children. She even tells me how to get their hair cut.

Anyway, I am at the end of my rope explaining to my family about his allergies. Like I have posted about my family before, they think everything is a joke and don't take anything seriously. My oldest brother is the only one who seems to understand. You would think, if they were
concerned about it, they would want to know everything about it.

I guess, if my mother ever contacts me, I am going to tell her she can't have any peanut stuff around at all. We go there so often that peanut gunk could be anywhere. My DH is finally on my side about this whole thing. The whole way home last night to our house I was crying telling him no one understands but me how severe it is because I was the only one to see his initial reaction. Since his testing in April, he has become more allergic than before, a 4 out of 5.

What would you do? I know some of you are comfortable taking your kids where there are nuts and peanuts, but I am not. The nearest hospital is 20 minutes away from my mother's house, too far for me. We live 1 minute away from a hospital. I am most comfortable in my own home and probably will be for a long time.

Thanks for listening!! You opinion would be most helpful.

Posted on: Mon, 07/05/2004 - 4:02am
darthcleo's picture
Joined: 11/08/2000 - 09:00

What a miserable experience you had. I'm sorry you had to go through this. I know how it feels.
I've been dealing with the PA for 6 years now, and I've come to understand that *most* people do not understand that any allergy can be dangerous. They picture a little sneezing like a ragweed allergy and that's it. It's almost impossible to ask someone to stop eating a peanut product like your mom did. It's going in her body, not your son's. Yes, you and I know what could happen, but this idea hasn't sinked into *her* yet, and it may never will, unless she sees a reaction, or unless there's a major education campaign going on. I'm lucky, in Quebec, there's a lot of awareness, but it's not the case elsewhere. And my parents were not targetted by the campaign, because it was done at the day-care and school level. So yes, I did find my dad shelling peanuts on the balcony once. He's never done it since, even though nothing happened. And that's the worse, if nothing happens, they will think you're making it up.

Posted on: Mon, 07/05/2004 - 4:48am
momma2boys's picture
Joined: 03/14/2003 - 09:00

seanmn, how terrible that this is how you spent your 4th. I think its time you stand your ground and tell them if that from now on they can choose what they have at family gatherings....peanuts, or your family. If they have any problems with that decision then you don't want to be there.
I have a friend whose mother tries to control her as well, so I can imagine what you go through. The only way it will stop, is when it stops working.
I agree with darthcleo, though, most people don't get it to the extent we do. And as far as that goes, until I came to this site, we still had p.b. in the house, etc. I about went into shock when I started reading these boards. So if we don't all totally get it at first, its hard to expect others to. But if they know you mean business and you aren't coming if there are peanuts, maybe they will think twice about how serious it is.
Good luck, and I hope you are feeling better. Stand your ground!

Posted on: Mon, 07/05/2004 - 7:06am
Claire's picture
Joined: 04/19/2000 - 09:00

Well first of all there is NO way she would ever get her hands on my son again if it was me in your situation. My family would never do such a terrible thing.
I do feel so bad for you because we had such a wonderful time and wish you had as well.
I watched Chris eating food all day long and he was having such a great time with all the family,.
We were even with complete strangers on Saturday (long story) SIL relatives. I over heard them all talking about how serious my sons allergies are. I didn't want to let them know i was listening to them because I wanted to see what they had to say.
They were all warned by my SIL and my brother as to what dangers there would be if he got into any unsafe foods.
They made a ton of safe foods just because they love children and wanted a good safe day.
I thanked them later in the day and they were so nice.
Good luck to you and i feel so bad for what you own mother did to you and your son.
It sounds like she is a "ME" person and I have no use for that life style.
good luck and you had every right to leave angry.
take careCLaire

Posted on: Mon, 07/05/2004 - 7:25am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

I am so sorry to hear about what happened. I think if I were you, I would feel betrayed. Your mother reminds SIL not to have peanuts, then when they are there, you mother eats them? My take, and obviously I don`t know the people involved, is that some people`s lives REVOLVE around food. I was not brought up that way, but it seems like since my daughter became pa 4 years ago, the people who give us the hardest time are the ones who are food obsessed. This is apparent when there is a problem with another parent in school or in my daughter`s brownie troop which I posted about a year ago, and finally pulled her out of. The leaders were food obsessed control freaks and every event there was a mega discussion about peanuts.
As far as what to do, what I would do is on the next occasion that you are invited over, tell SIL or mother, that you need to know if peanuts will be served in any form. If so, you will not be able to put your child in such an unsafe situation. This makes it clear, that you are not doing it out of spite, you are doing it because it is your job to keep your child safe. If they beat around the bush, you just tell them "is that a yes or a no?". If it is yes (having peanuts or can`t be sure or might have peanuts), I would say something like, "I am so sorry but given how dangerous that would be for ___________, we, of course, will not be able to come and put ______ in such an unsafe situation." On the other hand if they say no (no peanuts), you go, and if you see peanuts you leave. That is my opinion, this topic comes up from time to time on these boards, and I always say actions speak louder than words. If they serve them and you stay, the message to them is "this is not really all that unsafe". I would not feel safe taking my dd to an event with peanut products. For one thing, the relatives always want to kiss her. Sometimes I don`t see it in time to stop them. Reactions have been reported from kissing if the kisser has eaten peanuts. If peanuts were served I would leave. About pb in your mother`s house, I personally would not have a problem with it, as long as it was put away before you came and was not brought out until after you left. I don`t think I would care if they ate pb when my dd was not there as long as it was at least 24 hours before.
[This message has been edited by Carefulmom (edited July 05, 2004).]

Posted on: Mon, 07/05/2004 - 7:29am
seanmn's picture
Joined: 10/01/2003 - 09:00

Thank you for your support. I need it today. All I had was nightmares last night about what a terrible parent I am.
By the way, my DS has had PA since the age of 16 months and turned 4 in March, so my
mother and the rest of the family has had plenty of time to get educated about it.
She is a "ME" person for sure. She does a lot of things so she gets praise. She also does not want any "fights" in the family. I would imagine it would look bad on her. Even though she has not spoken to her own brother and sister for over 15 years.
Thanks again

Posted on: Mon, 07/05/2004 - 7:35am
California Mom's picture
Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

seanmn, I agree with everyone else. I am so sorry this happened to you and that your holiday was ruined. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] It sounds like they don't get it. But, since your mom has already read books about pa, it seems hopeless to try to educate her any further. At this point I do think I would insist that all family gatherings must be peanut free if your family is to attend.
I'm so sorry that you are going through such a hard time.
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] Miriam

Posted on: Mon, 07/05/2004 - 8:21am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

seanmn, I am so sorry to hear about the horrible 4th of July you had. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]
In reading your first post and then others that followed, of course I had questions [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] but you did answer them in your subsequent post about the age your son was diagnosed and how old he is now.
Yes, your Mother has had plenty of time to "get it".
Do you normally go to see her that often?
I honestly don't know what it took for my MIL to "get it". She was in denial for quite some time, along with her son (my DH) about the severity of our son's PA.
She did have enough sense, when Jesse was about 2, to scoot him out of my SIL's when my SIL decided her girls were all eating pb sandwiches that day. But I still don't think she really "got it".
She had a friend tell her that Jesse would outgrow his allergy and when she repeated this to me, I explained that no, Jesse would not be in the 20% to outgrow his allergy because of his anaphylactic reactions.
I haven't lived close to my MIL for 6 years now. My own Mother it's been 3 years now.
But, when we were going to my MIL's to visit during March break this year (a wee journey for us, but a journey regardless), she even got on the phone to my son and reassured him how her house would be "safe" for him when he came to visit.
If she did have pb in her house before our visit, it was gone when we came. She had scrubbed down everything just in case of residue. The only thing that even presented a problem was that she did have a lot of "may contains" in the house - bakery goods and stuff like that.
When my son mentioned to her that he didn't feel comfortable with her eating them, she washed her hands right afterward and very nicely told Jess how she had washed herself well and that he would be okay.
For some reason, during our trip, which I did post about here, Jesse had PA related fears that he NEVER has at home or in places that we go into here. Many PA adults posting here told me that it was perfectly *normal* given that he wasn't at home or in a city that he knew (really remembered).
I honestly don't know if it has just been many conversations through the years with the woman or if when she has come to visit how she sees Jess strap on his Epi-belt every day or what, but to me, she really "gets it" and I'm quite thankful for that.
We are about to move closer to family within the month and I'm actually not looking forward to moving closer to my SIL again. I'm really not clear what she's going to be like about my son's PA and I'll be here posting if and when my head does explode.
I liked what Carefulmom had to say - that basically you give your Mother a very clear statement about peanuts or us. Then, the ball is in her court and if she does decide to serve peanuts when she's said that she wouldn't, you leave, end of story (although not really because it is terribly heartbreaking [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] ).
Carefulmom just worded it so clearly and calmly and I think that is what is needed because it is SO emotionally charged and people don't understand what we're getting so upset about.
I've resisted peanut products (mostly because I didn't care for them anyway), but also tree nuts (which I do miss, and which my PA son is not allergic to) for 5 years, so the "I couldn't resist" argument isn't okay with me at all. You can resist something when it means the life of your grandchild.
Somehow in the mix too is your SIL and how there were peanuts and tree nuts there (although kudos, yes, for the tree nuts being put "up").
I am not okay with my son being around other people eating peanut products and he's 8-1/2.
To-day, an odd thing happened to us and I certainly don't have to tell the whole story as I usually do, but we ended up going through a drive-through at McDonald's for chocolate sundaes. Well, when you order (which I wasn't, because Idiot Woman here doesn't drive [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] ), I guess you have to say "no peanuts please" at the drive-through because when the sundaes were handed to the woman driving at the window, we got four sundaes and four packages of crushed peanuts (I knew that the peanuts were in separate sealed plastic bag things).
But still, the sight of them even freaked me out. I knew that they couldn't contaminate the sundaes. But it was just knowing that they were there. Can't really explain it, but can only used the loaded gun analogy again. Like the served the sundaes with a gun through the window as well.
I believe my son is aware and empowered about his allergy and that he is quite responsible. But I also like the security, if you will, of knowing certain things and one of them would be that if we're going into a house, that it is peanut free, if only for the short time that we're there.
My MIL kept her home peanut free for a week for us and I'm sure she didn't feel the need to run out and buy peanut products as soon as we left, so it can be done.
I'm so sorry that your day was ruined, especially when a lot of members did have very good days yesterday.
I like the advice that you got. Also, from your last post, sounds as though you're waiting for your Mom to call you (don't know how often you normally speak), and I also think that's a good idea. Just so you can calm down (one time, I had a PA incident, and I had to unplug my phone for several hours or overnight because I simply could not deal with the person and I knew that she would call me after what happened).
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Mon, 07/05/2004 - 9:07am
seanmn's picture
Joined: 10/01/2003 - 09:00

In regards to your questions, my mother sees the kids almost every week and we talk or e-mail each other daily. In the beginning I cut her some slack because it was not easy for us to get used to, but it's
not ok anymore for her to eat them on purpose when we are around.
I also freak out whenever I see a peanut.
I don't know if I should send all my family more information on it or not. I don't know if it would help, but maybe if I put on it that he could die within minutes of coming in contact with it, they would get the hint. It's unbelieveable to me that strangers or other people we come in contact with are more concerned then the people in my own family.

Posted on: Mon, 07/05/2004 - 9:44am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

seanmn, sorry, me again. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/redface.gif[/img]
Okay, so your son has been going to his Grandmother's once a week basically since his diagnosis and she's always had the same peanut eating habit? I mean, not blatantly eating them while your son is in her home, but her home has never been "peanut free", wiped of residue, or anything?
Has your son ever had a reaction or anything that may come to mind that may have been PA related because of his weekly visits to your Mother?
(I just realized this year, SIX YEARS LATER, that my son's two asthma attacks *may* have been PA related, but kinda hard to tell now, six years later, it was just something that dawned on me. I also just realized within the last week that what I thought was an anaphylactic reaction to residue 1-1/2 years ago at school was actually an ingestion reaction as far as I can tell).
Okay, in assuming that your son has been okay all of the times that he has visited at your Mom's house, the reason you now want her home to be more like yours (if you will) and her not to eat peanut products before your son comes over is because of what happened at your SIL's?
Sorry, trying to word really carefully so as not to offend, but also trying to figure out.
Have you heard from your Mom to-day? Would you normally have heard from her by now?
If you see your Mom weekly, does that mean that you live fairly close? What about to the SIL (and sorry, but is she married to your brother?)?
If you read posts by Claire, she lives very close (and I shouldn't be speaking on behalf of Claire and she can certainly correct me if I have any of the information wrong) to her in-laws (next door, I believe) and yet, she doesn't, for the most part, see them. PA does factor into this decision (not clear if that is the only reason that she does not see them often).
Do you think you'd be able to give your Mom the "peanuts or us" words?
You also mentioned, I believe, that your son is allergic to cats, dogs, and horses. Do either your Mom or your SIL have any pets? If they do, what do they do about their pets when your son comes to their homes?
See, here's what I'm thinking. If your son has always been okay, and he has seen your Mother weekly since time began, and all of a sudden you have some new wishes that you would like followed when you visit, you're Mother is either going to wonder why all of a sudden or she's going to KNOW that it was because of what happened at the SIL's.
Not that that matters bottom line - the health/life of your son is much more important.
It's kinda like she is going to know why all of a sudden things have changed so even though you can use the "peanuts or us" words, it's going to also have to be said, in some way, "hey, you screwed up badly at the SIL's yesterday, Mom, and because of that we are so uncomfortable that....."
Otherwise, I do think that she could take your wishes as being angry or vindictive based on her total lack of judgement (caring, concern, etc.) yesterday.
Do you know what I mean?
(To whoever posted above, yes, there have been reactions to kissing, amongst, um, other things).
Just really still sad about the whole situation for you, seanmn. 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, 07/05/2004 - 9:49am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Included the link for one of the threads re reactions from kissing, this one in particular because it really struck home with me at the time:-
seanmn, how do you feel your SIL "gets it" re PA? Well?
See, if your Mom has already read books you have given her (more than my MIL or Mom would do and they do love their Grandson), what other information could you possibly give her whereby she'll "get it"?
The only thing I can think of (and the kissing threads might actually be useful and *good*), are the Media ones where deaths have been reported. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


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