Food Allergies

Peanut explosion disrupts reaction-free week on vacation

As we prepped for our spring break trip, my husband said “let’s do this right and make sure he doesn’t have a single reaction.”  This relates to our string of experiences eating out over the past many months, as I discussed in my post on fear of restaurants.  Determined to avoid any displeasure, we planned and packed a significant amount of safe food and treats for the long drive to FL and back.  Very quickly into our trip, we realized that we could all enjoy our meals out so much more knowing he was eating what we packed.

So all was well and good.  Even our day trip to Legoland went well, again we packed his meals and he and we were happy.

But then there was the peanut explosion.

Back at my mom’s house, with my son’s siblings and 7 cousins, things were hectic.  So hectic in fact, that no adult took notice of two of the kids opening and eating a bag of peanuts on the porch and in one of the bedrooms.  There were peanuts everywhere, I mean everywhere.  Peanut shells, peanut dust, uneaten peanuts, in the crevices of the patio door, in the carpet, on a chair, on my son’s bed!

Did I freak out?  Almost.  I felt panic setting in, but I kept my cool and decided that I had to focus on clean up first.  My 7 year old who was part of the peanut eating frenzy was heart stricken when he realized the potential implications.  I think he was so thrilled to be somewhere that had peanuts!  In all fairness, and in full disclosure, I had seen the bag of peanuts on my mom’s porch the first day, and the adults all discussed that it would be best if we didn’t open them during our visit.  I obviously should have had those put away.  I’ve added it to my growing ‘live and learn’ list.

After an hour of cleaning up, including vacuuming, sanitizing, and changing the bedding, I was done, and pissed off — at myself and the kids.  I mean, couldn’t they have eaten them sitting in one place?  But also grateful.  Us adults kept saying we really got lucky.  With peanuts everywhere, who knew what could have happened!

My son did have a contact reaction from the peanuts; a swollen eye and hives, but luckily that is all it was. We failed at our goal of no food allergy reactions.  And yet I felt so very successful that in all the meals out he was safe, content and we were more relaxed than we have ever been eating out.

I’ll spend more time reflecting on what did go wrong, and surely put more effort to allergy-proofing our environment in the future.  And I’ll look for other people’s live and learn lists, so hopefully we can avoid other disaster prone situations in the future.