Now that my son is 14, I’m kinda done as an allergy mom. I started to realize this last May when Jacob earned a spot at the Canada Wide Science Fair to be held in Montreal. As I walked to the parent information session, I was making plans, since I thought one parent was allowed to attend with him. I was then informed that the ten students who qualified from our city take the trip alone with two chaperones, they’d be staying in a University residence, and they would be gone for one week.
This was Jacob’s first flight ever, and he flew without me and without any advance preparations. He’s severely allergic to peanuts and all tree nuts, but at this point, I knew he’d be fine, because I realize that he moves about the world safely. This includes taking city buses where people may be eating nuts, working in a store, and attending high school where there are no restrictions on allergens. I realized that he can be on a plane where people may be consuming peanuts or nuts and remain safe.
While he was in the air traveling to Montreal, I took our dog for a walk in the woods. I realized while looking around that while a person could pull an ominous mound of poison ivy from the sides of the path I was on, I’ve always been able to move about without incident, and that by analogy Jacob could do so in the presence of his allergens.
Jacob met with the Chef at the University residence the morning after he arrived, to learn what was safe for him to eat. Any remaining concern I had evaporated when I spoke to him on the first night, since he chose to eat lettuce and cucumbers for dinner because he hadn’t had that meeting yet. There were events he attended that had food trucks or theme foods, and he stayed away from those foods while still having a great time, and he was reaction free.
Jacob’s in his first year of high school now, and for the first time there was no authorization to administer epinephrine to hand in, and no meeting with any teachers about keeping him safe. None of that is necessary any more, nor would it be appreciated by Jacob.
What Jacob does have is a medical ID on at all times, an epinephrine auto-injector in his pocket with back up in his bag, and certification in anaphylaxis first aid. I wouldn’t settle for less or do anything more.
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