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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 796
Location: Vancouver, BC
Since DD was diagnosed 3 years ago with the peanut allergy, DH and I have had several disagreements about how to handle the allergies, how careful we need to be, what the kids can eat, bringing epipens, etc. Since every allergic person and parent has a different comfort level with what they feel is safe, how does everyone else deal with this?

I am quite careful, but like Susan was saying in a thread a few weeks ago about going to the fair, I want to be careful, but at the same time, let them live a normal life, so yes, there are certain risks you take after asking all the right questions, and know that your epipen is with you. I think that out of the people on this forum (who are likely more careful than the average allergic parent), I'm pretty average, and fairly in line with doctors' recommendations and tips that I read in articles, etc.

DH is much more carefree, and thinks I am totally paranoid. He has come a long way, though, from when she was first diagnosed and he thought he could continue giving her blueberry muffins from the coffee shop because she hadn't reacted to that type before (prior to her diagnosis) even though the clerk couldn't be sure what was in them.

He thinks that if they go for a walk around the block, they don't need to take epipens because 1) they aren't eating anything and 2) if there was a reaction, he would just carry both kids and run home. My rule is that we always take them even if we aren't planning to eat because where to do you draw the line, and it's easier for the kids just to have a hard and fast rule. He now takes them, but we frequently disagree on how careful we need to be, with the most recent incident being last night.

We are going to a friend’s cabin on a lake this coming weekend. Last year, our friend took DS out on his boat on the lake on their own. I didn’t feel entirely comfortable, but said to myself that the lake is only so big, and if anything happened, they’d be back within a minute or so, and I was waiting on the dock carrying the epipens. During discussions about what to bring for food, etc, I mentioned that it would be great to give all the adults a quick overview of anaphylaxis and epipen usage so he could go out on the boat with another adult, or they could visit other parts of the ferry with another adult and I would feel OK about it. I sent three links from the epipen.ca website: one with the simple visual instructions, one with the ‘how to use’ video and one with info on anaphylaxis and symptoms. The response I got from the wife of our friend was ‘I think to play it safe, either you or your DH should be with the kids at all times’ to which I responded, ‘yes, that’s fine’. DH is pissed at me for ‘bombarding’ them with too much info and scaring them into thinking that they will be responsible for the allergies, and that I have set us up for not being invited back to the cabin becuase we're too high maintenance. He thinks the chances of a reaction while out in the boat is miniscule and if we’re going to live based on 1 in a million chances, what’s the point? He also thinks that briefing the adults is not inherently a bad idea, but I should have done it in person and just shown them the epipen. I had thought about this, and of course planned to show them the epipen in person, but I also wanted to give them the list of symptoms beforehand because I think telling someone a bunch of symptoms once is not enough for them to remember them.

DH started talking to me in a accusatory manner during this disagreement, saying ‘Well, YOU did this, and YOU would just do this, etc’, and I told him to stop because I didn’t like the tone he was using, so the discussion hasn't bee finished. The two issues I see are: He thinks I’m ‘paranoid’ (about other safety concerns, not just allergies) and have the kids in a bubble, and he’s very relaxed about almost everything. Also, we as a couple don’t handle disagreements well.

Arggghh – I think a doctor would side with me, so if he came to an appointment and got the lowdown from a doctor, he may be more likely to cooperate without grumbling, but because the appointments are always during his work time, he just leaves these things to me.

I guess I'm just looking to find out what you do when the other parent doesn't agree with your allergy parenting!

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DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:27 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2010 1:05 am
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This is exactly the type of argument that I have with my wife. I usually think she is being too careful and she thinks I'm not. However, this is also the same type of argument that I have with others: typically they think I'm being too careful, and therefore unreasonable, and I think they aren't careful enough and therefore unreasonable.

The problem, I think, is "reasonable" is a pretty subjective term. My wife thinks that any risk is unreasonable while I think some risks are reasonable on the assumption that the odds of my son having a reaction are so slim as to be negligible. In short, what is reasonable really is about how much of a risk one is willing to take.

However, finding the balance between what is reasonable and what is livable is somewhat of a different matter. I sympathize with both of you and encourage you to discuss and agree upon such matters so that your daughter will fully understand the choices, and process, that she will have to undergo when she decides what is reasonable and livable.

Michael


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:07 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
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Location: Vancouver, BC
Thanks for your comments. It's true - 'reasonable' is totally objective, and my husband thinks I have gone over the top and we might as well put our children in a plastic bubble, while I think what I'm doing is not only reasonable, but necessary. I'll try for a more productive chat when we're both calm. . . . .

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DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:29 am 
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DH and I don't have arguments like this on Allergies/Asthma, but he lets me take care of what needs to be done and brief him on the outcome or requirements, which can be really frustrating because I don't always remember what he does and doesn't know.

What really helped us understand each other was having a conversation mediated by someone else who does not know either of you, like a therapist. It really brought in a perspective that neither of us thought of and I found I was less likely to be accusatory around someone I don't know. It also helped me understand his way of thinking because I had a translator.

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Hiebs
Me - Allergic to Dogs, Cats, Dairy, Nickle.
DH - Celiac Disease
DS1 - Allergic to Horses, Cats, Dogs - Asthma, Eczema
DS2 - Allergic to Cats - Eczema, Asthma


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:16 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
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Location: ottawa
a9mandm9.. You are very articulate and I am going to 'ditto' what you said. What you said is pretty much true in our home also. (I'm still the wife in your scenario) :lol:


Alison's mom, take time to cool off and grab a coffee and sit down with DH for a really good chat. I will add that totally empathize with you!! I remember reading a great article in A.L. last year about a mom who felt like she was doing all the allergy 'stuff' alone. Then it gave some insight from the husband's perspective. I'll see if I can find it.
Also, if friends are really friends they will know that you are only trying to protect your child's life.

....also....I know, I always have more to say... :freak ....As far as wearing the epipen. Our son's epipen stays on his body once we go out the front door. Even to play sidewalk chalk out front it goes on. In the backyard I leave it in the house but the front door is my boundary. You never ever know when something might happen, say even a new allergy to an insect sting!! If it is on their person then you can relax enjoy the walk to the mailbox and don't have to be thinking about allergies. Commenting on a heated issue between a husband and wife is a little iffy but I have to say it - what if your son had a reaction while on the water and the boat broke down then what!!! See if your DH is able to make an allergy appt. next time, maybe that will help.
:huggy

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 6:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
sorry to hear this :( I thought your idea of asking your husband to go with you to an appointment is a good one. Also, you are probably the one doing the research and assuming the responsibility for the allergies....is there any way that you could say that you'd like him to see where you're coming from and then go through the research with him.

One reason why you don't want to run home in the middle of a reaction is that seconds count...the earlier you get medical attention, the more likely you are to survive the reaction. Carrying an epi is like wearing a seatbelt, no? It's just something you do as a precaution..a habit you don't think about. You want your child to get into the habit so that when she needs it (and at some point in her life, she probably will) it will be there. In most situations, it is no big deal to carry an epi. I personally find that having the epi handy and knowing what to do in an emergency makes me feel *less* fearful, not more so.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:54 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Gwen found it for me. Here's a great article from a previous A.L..

Laurie Harada column called Sharing the Load.

http://allergicliving.com/index.php/201 ... ergy-load/

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 796
Location: Vancouver, BC
Thanks for the support, everyone.

We did sort of have a discussion about it, but we need to talk more, and Laurie's article is great. I'll get him to read it and use it as a tool to set up some ground rules.

Yes, regarding 'every second counts', I totally agree. I thought about the scenario of the boat breaking down too, and to that, he would say 'OMG, there's a better chance of being struck by lightning! I refuse to live like that' However, having the hard and fast epipen rule would negate these 'one in a million' chances. I also used the seatbelt analogy, saying that yes, there are some parents who don't buckle their kids for short rides thinking they won't get in an accident, and chances are, they won't, but if they do, then what? He said seatbelts and epipens are 'totally different'.

I think he'll agree that the habit is worth instilling - that once the kids reach rebellious teenager-hood, it would be hugely beneficial if they always grabbed the epipens out of habit.

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DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:30 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
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Location: ottawa
Has your DH ever been there when your son has had a reaction? It is terrifying! Unfortunately it might take that to happen for him to really grasp just what you are dealing with.
My husband plays DS's allergies down every now and then infuritating me. It will inevitably end up coming out that he is just be going through a difficult time (as we all do now and then) in dealing with/accepting our son's allergies. Denial due to sadness.
Keep the dialogue going as having both parents on the same page with any parenting issue is important, with allergies it is almost vital.
:huggy

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 796
Location: Vancouver, BC
Thanks BC.

DH has been at home for most of the reactions, so he has seen the results. It's just his personality, which is much more carefree, and while I used to think I was carefree, I am turning into my dad in my old age, which is terrifying because he really is paranoid.

I think part of it is maternal instinct, to keep your offspring safe at all costs. Perhaps dads don't have the same thing.

I had the same experience as Laurie talked about in her article when first diagnosed. I was in tears when I came to the realization what a huge change we were having to deal with, and was grieving for all things my DD wouldn't get to do, and DH also said 'it's not that big a deal; I'm not sure why you are so upset'. My parents and MIL also basically said the same thing to me, and I was so bothered that nobody seemed to understand what an undertaking it would be to keep my child safe.

Like Laurie, I need to delegate some responsibilities over to DH. Being a stay at home mom, and having that 'take charge attitude', I have really taken over all the allergy stuff, which is not beneficial to either of us.

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DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:26 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
another thought. re: the lightning analogy. Being struck by lightning is one of those things that probably isn't going to happen to any one of us. But some one with anaphylaxis to a common food is *likely* to have an anaphylactic reaction at some point in her life. [I wonder what the statistics are. is there a 100% chance of having a reaction? I'd guess so.] So that's why I see carrying an epipen as similar to wearing a seatbelt.... in both cases, an accident is likely to happen at some point in one's life (although I have personally never been in a car accident. Hmmm...maybe going into anaphylactic shock is a *more* likely scenario for me?)

I hope things improve, Alison's mom. It sounds like your husband has come a long way already...so maybe you can get him fully on board.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:30 am 
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I remember when dd was very young and had poorly controlled asthma, one parent would feel that we should take her to the hospital and the other parent didn't think it was bad enough...
(I cringe typing this-like, how badly do you have to suffer, until your lips are blue? :roll: we were still learning :oops: poor child!)
...after one such episode, I told dh that this would drive a wedge through our relationship as nothing is more important to a parent that feeling that the other parent is risking their child's life. After some discussion, we decided that if one parent felt we had to go to the hospital, we went.

I mention this because nothing is worse that feeling that the other parent is on the opposite side of the fence on issues of health and safety. It becomes a level of distrust and anxiety and can be toxic to your relationship.

It sounds like you are very concerned about your dd's physical health and feel that your husband is not on the same page. At the same time, I see that your husband is very concerned about her psycho-social health (how allergies will impact self esteem and relationships).

It is important to know that you are both very concerned about your child and are not just sticking your heads in the sand. You are on the same page, just looking at different parts of the map.

Where do you both want this journey to go? What are the messages that you want to send to your family, friends and most importantly your child?

How will your dh insist your teenage daughter always take her auto injector if he doesn't? Life is full of surprises, boats break down, opportunities to go for brief visits, grab a snack etc. happen. Carrying your medicine just make more options do-able.

Perhaps you can agree to educate a little less agressively if he is willing to always carry her medicine. I'm not saying don't provide info. Just act more like a 'horse whisperer'. Let others know that you'd love dd to be able to go out on the boat in a more casual and relaxed way. You are willing and able to discuss her allergies and how to use the Epipen with them whenever they are ready. They will be more recptive to the info whenthey ask the question.

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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: Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:01 am 
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Location: ottawa
Quote:
It is important to know that you are both very concerned about your child and are not just sticking your heads in the sand. You are on the same page, just looking at different parts of the map.


That is a great way to express the situation Susan. I am glad to hear others talk honestly about this issue, we have had similar episodes in our home....to all of the mentioned above by both you Susan and Alison's Mom.
Helen your way of explaining 'more likely' is very true. Chances of an allergic reaction are pretty much 100%, it may take 5 -10 years to happen but inevitably it is going to happen. I agree it isn't unlikely or less likely but 'more' likely or certainly going to happen, at some point, some time. So keep that epipen on!! Compromise on anything else but not that, once it is habit it won't even be an issue anymore.

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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BC2007 wrote:
Quote:
So keep that epipen on!! Compromise on anything else but not that, once it is habit it won't even be an issue anymore.

Oh yes! This allows us to be much more spontaneous!

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Moderator
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: Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:26 pm 
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Posts: 796
Location: Vancouver, BC
Thanks for the great insights, Helen, Susan and BC. I totally agree that having the epipen at all times is rule #1, and should never be broken.

I like your analogy about lightning and car accidents, because yes, the chances of a car accident and a reaction (especially with 6 allergens between the two kids) are about as likely.

You're right, Susan, about this driving a wedge in our relationship, and we really need to sit down for a calm and frank discussion about how we will deal with these types of differences going forward. I appreciate you trying to show me DH's perspective - that really helps me understand where he is coming from - thank you.

FWIW, I had a chat with our friend's wife while the others were out 'fishing' on Saturday, and she said that to be honest, she did feel bombarded by too much information and felt like 'whoa, I don't have time to look at all these websites, and it would be easier just to make sure there was a parent around all the time'. I think in future I would list symptoms in bullet form in an email and just send the one link of poster with the simple epipen instructions, plus show them the actual unit in person?

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DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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