Monday, July 23, 2012

His Allergy, His Life

Have you ever walked into a school classroom or a day camp and noticed one of these signs?

That's my son they're talking about. Well, it's him and usually at least 1 or 2 other kids in the class. In my daughter's class there was 4 kids out of 22 with anaphylactic allergies. It's something that is becoming more common and more talked about and yet I still see people who don't understand how serious it really is.

My son is allergic to Tree Nuts. More specifically he's allergic to pistachios, cashews, hazelnuts and pine nuts. I know, who would have thought pine nuts?! It means he can't eat Nutella, he can never eat pesto sauce, he can't try some of my favourite dishes from the local Indian or Thai restaurants, nor many types of chocolates or ice creams due to cross contamination.

What happens if he comes into contact with his allergy? He goes into anaphylactic shock. The doctors have told us that within minutes (possibly seconds) of his next exposure to any of those nuts means his face and throat will swell to the point where he won't be able to breathe. He will have abdominal pain, a fall in blood pressure and possibly fluid in his lungs. The symptoms are endless. Based on his last exposure, watching his little face swell beyond recognition, it's simply something that we never, ever want to happen again.

What does he need to live after exposure? An ambulance to get him to a hospital. He carries an EpiPen but that will only help to open his airways for 10 - 20 minutes so it's essential he gets immediate medical attention. I had someone ask me if he would need help administering it. YES, he's 4, of course he'll need help but even older kids would need help because they'll likely be in a panic because they can't breathe.

Basically what I'm asking is if you see the above sign, or one like it stating someone has an allergy, please take a moment to ask the instructors what the allergy is. Sometimes you don't have to do anything but sometimes making a few slight modifications on a lunch or snack you would normally send along could mean saving the life of someone like my little Ham.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Is There an App For That?

A while back I was in a meeting and was talking to some other women about keeping our schedules straight. As a joke I started talking about building an app that would take my daughter's school schedule/appointments/special days/library book due dates and it would automatically put it into my phone calendar. The women went nuts with their excitement about this idea and kept talking about how great it would be and that I should develop it.

I was stunned. What no one realized is that I was joking. I had only made the comment in jest because I thought it was crazy that I was too busy to take the time to do it myself. Already the school uses a system to email us each time they make an update of information which includes all the above info. It's convenient and helpful and yet it's still not good enough. I need something EASIER. Isn't that kinda sad?

While I understand that there's many useful apps I also know that many are not necessary. I should make my daughter's schooling enough of a priority that I can take a few moments to check out the email I was sent and put the information in my calendar. It allows me that time to make sure the information actually registers in my mind.

So, though I love social media and technology I also need to take a step back and make sure I'm not getting wrapped up in the hype of making things easier. Instead I need to make sure I'm taking the time to sometimes go the longer route in ensuring my priorities stay a priority.