In the middle of my Preschool Series: Choosing a Preschool, Nut Allergy in Tow, I was presented with this article (thank you Christina!). Please read it and some of the comments that spawned from it (at the bottom of the article) and then continue on...
Have you ever witnessed your child dying?
He clung to my husband's neck, desperately, pleading with his eyes...Daddy, please help me breathe.
The very first time it happened we got the call the day we brought our younger son home from the hospital, 3 weeks shy of our oldest turning 2. "Kadyn is struggling to breathe. We think he might have put something up his nose that is now obstructing his airway. We're going to take him to Urgent Care (closer than the ER)."
My husband raced to the Urgent Care to meet them while I stayed home with our newborn son. After a series of tests determining there wasn't an object obstructing his breathing, yet having an O2 level of 61% and the inability to get a reading on my son's lungs, the Dr determined it must be pneumonia.
My husband called me with the news.
I was screaming in to the phone. NO! He isn't sick. He wasn't sick. It is NOT pneumonia. Despite my plea, they were prepping him for x-rays to determine the type and severety of pneumonia all the while wasting precious seconds of my son's life.
My little boy clung to my husband's neck, desperately, pleading with his eyes as if to say Daddy, please help me breathe. His breathing quick, shallow, and gasping all at the same time. His nose had ceased to function...there was no air coming or going. When he tried to talk, his voice was inrecognizable as his own. He limply lay in my husband's lap, his face ghost-like in whiteness, the normal exuberance g.o.n.e.
Fortunately (praise God!) he had a button up shirt on...the only reason x-ray tech asked my husband to take my son's shirt off. And what possibly could be what saved his life.
As soon as my son's shirt came off, my husband was clearly able to diagnose him himself. IT'S AN ALLERGIC REACTION! He screamed. The blistering hives covered his little body. In some parts it was so severe the lumps were purple, the size of raised quarters. How the Doctor missed this during intake is beyond me.
What happened next is all a blur of quick reaction and life-saving efforts.
Until that point we had no idea our son had a life threatening allergy to most tree nuts. We are so grateful it happened when it did and not out in the middle of nowhere camping; no medical support in sight. So grateful for the quick response of those caring for him to take him right to Urgent Care. So grateful that he had a button up shirt on. So grateful he's beginning to recognize his allergy for what it is, knows the seriousness of it, and understands that it's okay to be different. So grateful that foods are labeled as safe or unsafe so we can begin to teach him (someone had commented on Facebook the other day "I think it's ridiculous that things like rice need to be labeled with food allergies...it's rice." If you don't have to look for those labels in protection of life, you don't understand their importance.) So grateful that he's alive. And...
We are so grateful that we found a preschool that is willing to work with us on this.
I was saddened at reading this article, not only because it angered me at the parent's response to publically protest by picketing but also because I can understand how it seems extreme to parents that don't have to deal with life-threatening food allergies. To an extent I get both sides; really, I do.
What really gets me though, the entire purpose of the whole post I've written, is in regards to the comments after the article...all 31 pages of them. I was appalled at some of these comments that followed the article. APPALLED. To say that the child in this article must be homeschooled is absurd; just like all the references to "some parents can only afford to feed their kid peanut butter" not everyone can afford to live off of one income and homeschool their children. To say that this child should be kept in a bubble? How dare you. To say that I'm a bad parent for sending my child to such an unsafe environment and out of my protection? Who are you to judge. To say that it's ridiculous to rely on prayer? God is bigger than that. We are fully aware that the next time it happens he may have even less time, will require an epipen, and e.v.e.r.y second will count. But we're striving to do our best, give him the best, and teach love and acceptance of everyone. And we will continue to be prayerful the entire way.
Despite all of this, I will have grace and recognize that until someone has watched the early stages of death, they wouldn't, and couldn't understand.