It happened at a Christmas party with Rob's extended family a couple of weeks ago...
We arrived at the party fairly early that day - that morning we helped set up for the Church Christmas play, then the girls had play practice, then we popped back home for some lunch and a little down time before heading to the party, after which we would be heading back to church for the Grand Performance of a cute little play called The Baddest Angel Band.
After unfurling the foil from the cookie plate and tortilla pinwheels we'd brought, E3 and I wound up perching on the two stools at the kitchen island. Bellying up to the bar of snackage, we were. As other guests arrived,I scoped out what food they'd brought... asking, where necessary, to check their packages of chips or crackers, or what ingredients were in their dish. As a courtesy, I also sampled each dish, because YUM.
I sat there, with Niece R on my lap, snacking away and patting myself on the back for more or less accidentally nabbing the best seat in the house for both getting first shot at everyones goodies AND for policing the snacks for possible peanuts. E3 sat there too, seemingly in a competition with Niece R to see who could eat the most fresh fruit.
After a while E3 began to complain about her eye, saying it was burning. Figuring it was pineapple juice, I advised her to stop rubbing it and just blink a little. The third or fourth time she mentioned it, I suggested she go find Rob and ask him to help her flush her eye with water. She did.
(I drive myself crazy, when looking at my children's illnesses in hindsight, because in the moment I always seem to think they just need to suck it up and deal...they're probably overreacting. When will I learn that my kids very rarely overreact and that I should suck it up and deal with the situation at hand?)
She returned to her stool, and it wasn't long before she was talking about her eye again, complaining that it was still bothering her.
What does it feel like?
It feels itchy.
I told her to look at me and gave her a good once-over. Her left eye was red, from where she'd been rubbing it. There was one small hive just above her eyebrow. Crap. I deposited Niece R on my stool.
Let's go get your allergy bag.
I just want to give you some Benadryl.*
In the bedroom where our coats, and her bag, had been left I began digging around for what looked like our stuff. As I pulled out the Benadryl, Rob's Cousin K walked in and I filled her in on what was happening. Cousin K, a Registered Dietitian, raised her eyebrows and agreed that Benadryl was a good plan...and commented that if this had to happen, we were in the right place. In addition to K, who works for a children's hospital, there were also two Registered Nurses and a doctor in the house.
E3 knocked back the recommended dosage. I watched her like a hawk. I brought the allergy bag back out to the kitchen with us where I re-examined the food. E3 had been eating fresh fruit - pineapple, grapes, blueberries, strawberries. In front of her was a bowl of fruit salsa with cinnamon-sugar sprinkled tortillas. Everything else nearby was, as far as I could tell, peanut free.
I asked E3 if she'd eaten anything from the dessert table in the other room. Our tray of safe cookies were there, but there was other stuff on the table that I knew was not okay for her (I always bring a plate of safe desserts to parties like this because it's easier than asking everyone else what kind of cookies, brownies, candy they brought and what the ingredients are).
She said she hadn't.
Cousin K and I were at a loss as to what could have caused the reaction...and I'll probably never know. It's maddening. I was on edge for the rest of the night, but the hive eventually disappeared and she said her eye no longer itched.
The experience reinforced my belief that we need to stay on our current path of peanut product avoidance, no matter how tempting it may be to loosen-up just this once - yes, even that package of non-peanut stuff that says it was processed in a facility that also processes peanuts. Because if they're going to give me that knowledge, I'm a fool if I don't use it.
*Not a paid endorsement, but just a big ole BOO-YAH to those pre-measured spoon things because they rock.