Thursday, May 27, 2010


I split from work for a half hour or so mid morning. It was sunny and warm. The perfect time to escape the workday cavern for a couple of errands. As I shot down one of the streets near my office, I caught a fluttering of white rising up out of the corner of my eye.


Someone on that street must train them to release (and, I'd think, return). I slowed down my car to a crawl in the middle of street, since no one was behind me. What a beautiful sight to see the doves circle the house together, several times. There had to have been at least 10 of them. Flutter, flutter, flutter.... disappear... Flutter, flutter, flutter... Bright white ribbons weaving in and out of sunshine between the trees.

It made me happy.

In other news, Sean has to carry an Epi Pen on him this summer at the camp he will be attending. The allergist said that eight years old is the perfect age to be able to self-administer; good thing, because he'll have to self-administer at camp. This has me nervous for the simple fact that historically, Sean's few major anaphylaxis attacks have been pretty swift and violent. I'm concerned he won't be able to respond appropriately once he realizes what's going on, or that he'll panic.

I was talking this over with Mike, the father of one of Sean's closest friends who will also be attending the camp. A friend and coworker of his runs the snack bar at the beach where Sean will be at camp. "He has guys fill in for him at work, and he's there all the time," Mike said. I know the guy. I make small talk with him whenever I see him at the snack bar in summer. He always waves when I'm out walking the dog(s) down there or around the neighborhood, and I used to live around the corner from him in my old divorced-mom apartment by the beach.

In short, I trust him.

And since he's a firefighter/EMT, it's reassuring to know that someone who knows how to handle a possible emergency allergic situation will be there for Sean. And I'm sure Sean's not the only kid with an allergy who will be at the camp this summer.

"I'll tell ya what," Mike said. "I'll introduce Seany to him, and maybe he'll even keep an epi for him in the back somewhere, just in case, even though Seany'll be carrying one." Hey, man. Why not? All of Sean's closest friends have epi's at their homes.

Perhaps the most challenging thing in all of this is making sure Sean carries his medicine with him, and that it's adequately shielded from extreme temperatures and light. So I've begun the process of browsing for carriers. Not just any carrier. But one that an eight year old boy won't think is lame and will actually keep on him. Wish me luck.

I've found a few, and I've considered just making one since I can drive a sewing machine pretty well. But the specialty fabrics required for insulation and UV protection are just as pricey as some of the carriers. Might as well buy something already made.

I'm grateful Sean is surrounded by lots of caring people. It makes the transition into greater autonomy and independence with respect to responsibility for management of his allergies all the easier.

But who am I kidding? I'll be worried. Every day. Despite the fact that the firehouse is three blocks away from the camp, and that the engine from that house spends most of its time down at the snack bar during summer anyway. I'm Sean's mom. He's got some serious food allergies. He's growing up and growing into his place in this world. I worry. It's what I do. I'm prone to anxiety anyway, something I've been managing for years. But like anything, this is a fear I must simply face, accept, float through, allow to pass. I can't control every aspect of Sean's life or allergy management as he gets older. I can't be there every minute. But I can prepare him for it.

Face, accept, float...

Flutter, flutter, flutter....



Anonymous said...

From one nut-allergy mom to another: Did you select the particular camp at all based on how safe/unsafe it might be for him? For instance, do most camps serve stuff like peanut butter?

Milk Money said...

No, I did not choose camp based on whether it is nut-free. He is currently a second-grader in a school that is not nut-free. It is my experience that, apart from daycare and pre-k settings, most schools, camps, etc reflect the world at large; i.e., they're full of nuts! Literally and figuratively! Neither school nor camp serves peanut butter, and they discourage--but don't prohibit--nuts of any kind. My son will navigate this terrain the way he does at school, carefully choosing where he sits for lunch and not swapping food items--ever. Since most of his friends will be with him in camp, and since most of them are keenly aware of his allergy and have asked their parents to stop making PB&J sandwiches so they can sit with him, I think he'll be okay. But it's still...unnerving. :o)