Thursday, August 26, 2010

That Went Well!

Things have been busy around here, but I guess I should follow up on how the allergy summit (as we affectionately refer to it) went. In short, it went great!

We met with Georgia's two teachers, the head of the school, and the head of the early-childhood portion of the school on the day before preschool started. We all gathered around a preschooler height table, sitting in tiny preschooler sized chairs. Ha!

I don't want to bore anyone with all of the details, but we discussed such things as:
-The basics: We went over Georgia's allergens (tree nuts, peanuts, sesame, fish and shellfish).
-Snack time: We'll send Georgia with her own safe snack everyday. Plus, the teachers agreed to send a note home to all of the other parents asking them not to send in snacks with Georgia's allergens. Essentially, a belt and suspenders approach. Hopefully the other parents will cooperate, but Georgia will be eating our food anyway. Georgia is a half-day student, so we don't have to worry about lunchroom issues this year.
-Substitute teachers: they'll need to know this stuff, too, so we discussed communication. I'm actually not horribly worried about this since Georgia's pre-K class has two teachers. It's unlikely they'll both be out on the same day.
-Treats: We'll bring in a stash of safe treats to be stored at school for Georgia to consume on days when special occasions like birthdays or holidays are celebrated with food in the classroom.
-Medication: One of Georgia's EpiPens will be in the office across the hall from her classroom, the other will be in the school's main office. We also supplied Benadryl. We used the trainer EpiPen to teach everyone at this meeting how to use one in case of emergency. We handed out an Emergency Medical Plan to be stored with the medications. It describes different levels of possible reactions and that kind of thing.
-I feel like there was more to it, but that's all I'm remembering right now.

The Cons:
-One of the women present twice accidentally referred to Georgia as a boy. I hate to say it, but this woman is a bit older, and I think the slip ups might be related to that - like a little short term memory issue. Which is totally no big deal, except that in the context of conveying information that is critically important to our daughter's health and safety, it didn't make me feel great that everything would be remembered and carried out according to the discussed plan.
-I made reference to storing the Epi's in an unlocked place, but someone misunderstood and later in the conversation referred to locking up the Epi's. A simple miscommunication that we cleared up, but I just hope that everyone got the gist that these things need to be very accessible. Fortunately, we have never even had to use them. But should the need arise, from what I've been told, seconds really count. If I had my druthers, the medication would be stored in the classroom, but apparently it's against school policy.

The Pros:
-This was not all new to them. The school has had allergic children before. They do not have formal policies or procedures in place, but at least we weren't having to fully educate them from square one, which was fantastic.
-Both of Georgia's teachers have some experience dealing with children with food allergies.
-One of Georgia's teachers was taking notes, which made me feel wonderful. She is also the one who suggested (before I even could) that she write a note to all of the other parents letting them know that there is a student in the class with allergies.

I will admit - I was totally nervous about this meeting. But I survived. It was fine. It was quite pleasant, actually. Silver lining of having an allergy kid: we got a chance to meet the teachers a day early. And though we may now squarely be labeled as the High Maintenance Parents, at least they know who we are. (I hope they like us!! What? I can't help it.)

Georgia's made it through one week of preschool, and already I feel so much more relaxed. She's doing a great job eating only our snacks and wearing her bracelet. As for my mental health, I'm not worrying about allergies on a daily basis. So all is well.

Maybe the fact that she has cried about going to preschool every single day and has been suffering from some serious separation anxiety has a silver lining to it, too: all of this allergy business has been put on the back burner. This week I've had bigger fish to fry in the motherhood department, if you know what I mean.

Not that we can fry fish in our house. (Hardy har har.)

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