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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 6:51 pm 
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Turn to page 9 to see an article on relating while sharing a cottage
http://www.metronews.ca/uploadedFiles/P ... 1_2006.pdf
I found it interesting that she recognised that a reaction to lack of knowledge is anger. Why do we get angry? Why do we equate lack of knowledge with lack of love?

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:25 pm 
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Well, I'm not sure that a lack of knowledge in and of itself makes us angry....I think it's more when people act out of a lack of knowledge in spite of attempts to inform them otherwise. . . .then there is anger on both sides.

It becomes a question of authority (often in intergenerational allergy battles) or credibility...people don't like to admit that they are wrong. I think parents/grandparents can sometimes feel like we are undermining their parental authority and also that their capability to take care of their child/grandchild is being questioned. (here as elsewhere, an authoritarian approach to family relationships is damaging.)

When family members cause me anxiety because they think that my allergy concerns are over the top and just won't take the necessary precautions, I sometimes do feel like they are being uncaring. (although I don't see my grandparents' actions this way). It might not be a lack of love exactly, but a lack of empathy. In healthy relationships, people attempt to understand how their loved ones feel and also are not dismissive of the things that they care most about.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 9:01 am 
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Helen wrote:
I think parents/grandparents can sometimes feel like we are undermining their parental authority and also that their capability to take care of their child/grandchild is being questioned.

Yes -- I agree with this. Recently we went to visit my inlaws and we haven't seen them in a while. My MIL was taking my son to the playground and while handing her his epi-belt, I commented that I should have brought his epi-trainer with us just to refresh how to administer. She is understanding of his allergies and demonstrates a desire to learn about them -- but in this case, she seemed offended. In a bit of a huff she said, "I'll be fine" and dismissed my comment :roll: .


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 9:13 am 
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Location: Burlington, Ontario
That's a great article. I printed it out to show my husband.

A lack of knowledge from my in-laws makes me angry because I provided them with websites and info. I would have thought they would have read everything but they didn't bother. I think they just don't want to deal with it. In our particular case, there is definitely self-centeredness from their part. They haven't asked us any questions and I have had to repeat a lot of info, which showed me that they didn't listen to us in the first place. I think there's some denial in it as well.

I met with the same ignorance from my MIL when the girls were born and I was breast-feeding. She made all sorts of comments about the fact that she had 4 children and never breastfed them and they turned out fine (well, that's debatable for some of them! :lol: ). She just couldn't let it be. It's as if she were jealous that I was doing something better than her. She tried to knock it down whenever she could.

Helen, you are right when you say that it is a question of authority or credibility. My mother-in-law craves authority and she has to have the last word on everything. It's to the point where I just nod and let her babble on and I don't care. However, you can't do that with food allergies, you have to learn to stand your ground, as the article says.

It's hard though, as I hate to confront her, and my husband doesn't seem to want to get involved, in spite the fact that I told him that we have to show a united front about this. What gets me too is that they totally go out of their way to accommodate my SIL who's vegetarian, going as far as cooking her a separate meal (usually fish, the only meat she eats).

I think it's also a question of apathy. People just don't want to deal with it. I remember telling my neighbour last year (before my daughter's reaction) that I only bought peanut/nut free Nestle bars to give out on Halloween so that allergic children could enjoy them too. She replied in a rather firm tone that she didn't care about that, that it was up to the parents to deal with it. This shocked me as she is a very nice lady, I wasn't expecting that. What difference does it make if you buy this candy or that candy? At least, with the peanut/nut free ones, more little ones can enjoy them. It's not that hard!

Thankfully, we don't share a cottage but they asked for the girls to come spend a few days with them this summer. I told my husband to say no, that we will wait until everybody has a better handle on this. (Plus my daughters don't want to go as they say it's totally boring there, there's nothing to do! :lol:. ) I have a feeling that we'll have to argue about that one, but there's no way they're going there alone until everybody can manage the allergy perfectly.

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15 year old - asthmatic, allergic to cats, dogs, horses, waiting to be "officially" diagnosed for anaphylaxis
12 year old - asthmatic, allergic to tree pollen and mold, OAS
Husband - Allergic to amoxycillin
Self - Allergic to housework only


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:22 pm 
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Location: ontario
Quote:
I'm not sure that a lack of knowledge in and of itself makes us angry....I think it's more when people act out of a lack of knowledge in spite of attempts to inform them otherwise. . . .then there is anger on both sides.


I completely agree with this. We just recently came back from a vacation at the beach (sharing a condo) with friends who have a 3 year old. Despite knowing about our son's allergies, my friend insisted on cooking eggs, serving cheese and milk (of course there were spills)... IN MY SON"S PRESENCE. Now that makes me angry!! It'll be a long, long time before we visit those friends again!

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son Connor - 27 months:
allergic to milk, wheat, rye, barley (hives, postive SPT/RAST)
spinach (hives)
eggs, nuts, salmon, tuna (bf exposure only, postive SPT)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 9:11 pm 
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Location: Gatineau, Quebec
I think there are some people who really can't make the mental leap from "food" (which offers most people comfort and fun) to "poison" (which is what some foods are to those of us on this forum, or our loved ones). I don't know why they are like that, though.

Some people can make that leap, whether because of compassion or a good imagination or having dealt with a similar situation, and they are very good about the whole thing and take the kinds of precautions that we ourselves would. And of course we love and admire them for being like that, and hang around with them more.

Others just... don't. Or can't. Or won't. And I think sometimes, if education doesn't do the trick, that avoidance is the best way to go.

Maybe we should treat those kinds of people as we would a deadly allergen. The only way to deal with them is avoidance. :?

Just a thought... :)

K.

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Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 3:05 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
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Location: Canada
Karen,

you're on to something here! plus I've noticed that people who aren't so careful with handling raw meat aren't as good at dealing with cross contamination. . . the reverse is also true.

i came to the realization that my grandmother will *never* get it when she accidentally cross contaminated my dish water with ant poison. she's getting kind of forgetful plus she doesn't worry about such things as much. the ant poison in question was boric acid and she had just spread it on the ledge above the sink with a kitchen spoon (well, she *thought* she spread it there, but it kind of got on the counter too . . her eyesight is going) . . . and then she threw the spoon in my dishwater which I was using at the time. She caught it right away . . . but it was then that I realized that she won't ever get the food as poison thing . . . if she messes up with the poison as poison thing there isn't hope that she'll get the food as poison thing :) Somehow that incident made me feel better about the food allergy situation.

I'm at the point where I cook for myself over there. this is really tough for my grandmother because she sees feeding her guests as her role. Even when I'm cooking for myself, she wants to help . . . and sometimes just pitches right in. I try to cook when she isn't in the kitchen. My sisters were visiting recently . . . and she turned my sister's vegetables over (which my sister was cooking herself) with a fork that had touched fish and a potato, both allergens. Then she feels really, really badly if people have to throw food out. And she gets stressed about making mistakes about food allergies.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:09 pm 
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Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Well, I would make a special exception for grandmas (as you are doing). :)

I wouldn't avoid my Nana if she were still around, even if she didn't get it, but I'd do like you are -- try to take preventive measures to make sure I didn't get contaminated food. Man - that's a tricky situation. It's never easy, is it?

Okay, so avoidance isn't always possible (just like with allergens)....

K.

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Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 6:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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The kitchen has traditionally been the meeting place for women. I wonder if Helen's grandmother just wants to be part of the group of women who are gathered there. If it was possible for her to peel potatos or dry dishes that might be enough of a role to satisfy her but if she is elderly and frail that may be too much for her.
Ultimately, we need to maintain the safety of all over the desires of a few but it's sad to think that she can't be included.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 8:44 pm 
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Location: Canada
Yes, my grandmother wants to be included, and she wants to cook for me. But there are just so many avenues of cross contamination--I haven't explained it all to her because it would stress her out and what I have explained hasn't really sunk in.

My grandmother doesn't remember the handwashing thing. Might not even think it is necessary. Once I watched her eat a piece of cake with her hands (would have contained egg and possibly almonds) and then handle my food. I pointed out that she might have egg residue on her hands. And she said . . . that she didn't eat egg. She only had some cake :shock: I pointed out that the cake would contain egg . . .

We have made some progress lately--my grandparents now put the nuts away before our visit and they try not to eat nuts while we're there.

But my allergy issues there include:

1) now that she can't see so well, her pots and pans aren't always totally clean. I bring my own . . . I think that is better than pointing out that there is some food residue in her dishes. (I do use utensils and glasses and plates of hers that are run through the dishwasher . . . but if we're running out of utensils and there are crumbs in the utensil drawer, I use my own utensils too.)

2) I want to use my own dishwater and a clean dishcloth as the food she serves often contains egg and possibly nuts.

3) There are often allergens on the table . . . I like to set my own utensils on my plate rather than the table.

4) I don't use her ziploc bags to store leftovers. She reuses ziploc bags and somtimes uses them to store nuts (in the freezer). And she uses washed peanut butter jars to store leftovers in too. That would probably be okay, but I'm not comfortable with it.

At the very least she really wants to *buy* food for me and that can be problematic too.

The last time I was down she had dinner waiting and ready for me and my mom in spite of the fact that we told her I'd preparing my own food. . . I knew it would be hurtful if I didn't eat her dinner so I took a deep breath and ate it and hoped for the best. She went to a lot of trouble . . . she had remembered that I was on a few foods diet months ago and was kind of confused about the fact that that diet was only temporary.) She had bought turkey because it was on the diet . . . but when I tasted the turkey I could tell that there were ingredients added. I didn't have a reaction, but I couldn't very well eat any more of it without knowing the ingredients . My grandmother felt *so* badly.

And she remembered me having pear juice on that diet so she went to more than one grocery store to find 100% pear juice (with some sugar added, however). My grandmother has macular degeneration so reading ingredient labels is a huge effort. She was happy that I could have the juice, but I coudn't drink the second bottle she had bought because she accidentally bought another type with banana in it. Again, she was *so* disappointed.

But she has a lovely vegetable garden and was happy that I could eat her home-grown produce + that I ate lots of her homegrown oregano.

It's hard because my grandparents have a lot of health problems to deal with---I don't want to be the cause of more stress.


Last edited by Helen on Tue Dec 19, 2006 1:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 9:43 pm 
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Location: Burlington, Ontario
Hi Helen, I guess you needed to point out that it is really delicate in your situation. You don't want to hurt your grand-mother's feelings and you're trying hard to be accommodating and understanding about the fact that because of her age and cultural background, she might never "get it". She loves you however and only wants to make you happy the only way she knows how, and like for a lot of women, that's by cooking for you.

I think you're handling the situation very, very well. I think you're lucky to still have your grand-parents and being able to enjoy their company. :D

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15 year old - asthmatic, allergic to cats, dogs, horses, waiting to be "officially" diagnosed for anaphylaxis
12 year old - asthmatic, allergic to tree pollen and mold, OAS
Husband - Allergic to amoxycillin
Self - Allergic to housework only


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 9:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Wow... sounds a bit like visits to my parents. LOL. Well, not really. That's being a bit unfair to my folks.

But there are similarities. My mom is very sweet and keeps all the lists of kid-safe foods that I've sent over the past few years in a binder -- which normally would be great and make things easier -- but then I have to explain that the kids don't like X or Y any more... More because their tastes are changing than because of the allergies, but it still complicates things. When you think about it, our dietary restrictions must be very confusing to those "on the outside". (And then you get to add "kid pickiness" to the mix...) And I have caught myself rewashing pots and pans at my place after my dad has helped do the dishes -- WITH NO SOAP. :shock:

I think you're right that people did muddle through a lot of things and survive, but I also think that allergies weren't quite as deadly back then - or perhaps it was more that people didn't realize they were - so they weren't taken as seriously. And of course there's the personality aspect too. Some people are bigger risk takers than others... Lots of factors, eh?

K.

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Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 10:23 pm 
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Helen, I think you're doing a tremendous job at trying to understand where your grandmother is coming from while still protecting yourself.
She sounds very sweet and very dangerous.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 10:27 pm 
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Location: Gatineau, Quebec
_Susan_ wrote:
She sounds very sweet and very dangerous.


:lol:

I meant to say, like Susan did, that it sounds like you are a very caring granddaughter. I'm sure your grandma loves you a lot. :)

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:47 am 
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Location: Canada
Thanks, guys :)

Apart from the allergy situation my grandmother and I do have a good relationship. I always really loved visiting.


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