Thursday, December 6, 2012

You Said He is Anaphylatic! But, You Never Said He Could DIE!!!

I realized I was making a huge mistake when I was educating people about the boys allergies.  I was making the assumption that everyone knew what anaphylatic allergies were.  I realized after 2 years of explaining food allergies, I was doing it wrong and getting mad at others for not understanding the severity of it.

I was having our big boy sleep over with a very close family member because baby Bee was having surgery the next day.  James was loaded up with epi pens, benedryl, safe breakfast, lunches, dinners, and snacks.  I gave two options for dining out options as well.  My sweet Honey was going to also teach her about the epi pens and benedryl.  He pulled out the needles and began to educate Aunt Michelle (names have been changed out of respect). She looked at him in absolute horror.  She asked in a panic, "what are these for!  I did not know he needed needles!?!"  Honey explained that our oldest son will need the epi pen in case he accidentally ingests eggs,  so that it will keep his airways open until 911 emergency responders can arrive and again emphasized only foods from home were allowed."  Panic stricken Aunt Michelle exclaimed, "But you just said he has anaphylatic allergies!  You never said he could DIE!"

This was my mistake.  I wrongly assumed everyone knew what anaphylatic allergies were.  I assumed people knew how serious the situation can become when I exphasized the word anaphylatic.  And I also assumed if people did not understand the term anaphylatic they would ask for more information. It never occurred to me that people would need more of a explanation. 

So now, I assume nothing.  Now, I know that I have to spell it out in the most simplistic way possible and then build their knowledge from there.  I tell them that the children have "life threatening allergies", also called anaphylatic allergies and go on to clarify by saying if they ingest these allergies (or are stung by an ant) that it could be fatal. Depending on who they are I attempt to give them more information and educate them fully.  I just wanted to remind everyone that we cannot  assume people know as much as we do about our little one's needs. 

How do you explain?  Do you have an approach you feel is very well recieved from others?

Our oldest little man enjoying the view from a beautiful tree

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