Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Walnut pesto mayo. Are you kidding me?

I feel like I'm beginning to bore myself with so much recent allergy talk, so I'm going to make a long story short:
  • Went out to lunch with the girls last Friday.
  • Looked at the menu online ahead of time for safe options.
  • Ordered her a ham and cheese sandwich.
  • Told the waiter about Georgia's allergies (nuts, fish, sesame). (Aka, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and sesame.)
  • Tried to hand the waiter a small piece of paper with Georgia's allergies written down clearly in all caps. (My shoddy version of a chef's card, I guess.)
  • Reminded the waiter to be careful not just of her food but of cross contamination from other food (e.g., the person who just prepared a PB&J shouldn't handle Georgia's sandwich).
  • Food arrives. Georgia eats one bite only. She's normally a big eater.
  • I notice one hive and ask my sister to wipe Georgia's cheek, thinking it might just be a contact reaction to something.
  • I notice the mayo on Georgia's sandwich looks a little funny and ask my sister to investigate.
  • Turns out, they put walnut pesto mayo on Georgia's sandwich! Are you kidding me?
  • Remain calm. Wait to see if medication is needed. Decide medication is needed, because Georgia is acting like a spaced out zombie.
  • Give Benadryl. She immediately perks up.
  • Total reaction amounted to about 2 hives, zombie-like state, loss of appetite, redness on her cheek, one or two coughs (which may or may not have been related to any of this), and whatever the hell else may have been going on inside of her that I will never know about. (See below for more on that.)

I was kind of mortified that this all happened in the company of my sister's friends and their children, because I felt like we were causing a bit of a scene, even though everyone couldn't have been nicer about it. Good news is that Georgia ended up fine. Bad news is that this was a very frustrating experience. I'm normally so embarrassed (I know I shouldn't be) to address Georgia's allergies head on in restaurants, but this time I think I really did everything I was supposed to do up front. There was just a breakdown in communication between the waiter and the kitchen, I guess. Because I am a huge nerd, I have since written the restaurant manager a letter to tell them what occurred and that I think they may need better allergy policies or staff education in place. Basically, I just want to keep this from happening to someone else.

Silver lining here is that Georgia and I had a nice chat about her reaction on the way home. Any reaction, though unfortunate, is a data point that we can learn from, an experience that will help Georgia to better identify and articulate in the future when she thinks she may be having a reaction.

I feel like an idiot, because during our chat, I asked her if it felt funny when she ate the bite of sandwich, and I totally misundertsood her anwer. She responded by saying that it felt like she had a pipe in her mouth. A pipe? I was picturing the type of pipe a person would smoke tobacco from, and I couldn't even think of where she had seen a pipe, other than Curious George books, or maybe pictures of Santa. So I figured there was no way she'd really know what having a pipe in your mouth would feel like and basically chalked her response up to toddler nonsense. But later that day, when Joe got home from work he asked her about what had happened at the restaurant, and Georgia again told him that her mouth had felt like it had a pipe in it. "A pipe? What kind of pipe?" he asked. "You know, a pipe. Like how water goes through pipes," she said. Ohhhhhhhh. Duh. So, I gather that she was feeling some constriction of her throat or swelling in her mouth or something, based on this description. Which makes the whole experience just a little scarier in retrospect, but I am not going to dwell unnecessarily on that, because the point is that she recovered quickly and is fine.

(Wish I could have said the same about my mental state that day. I was still replaying everything in my head and worrying unnecessarily about hypothetical situations by the time I went to bed.)


Melissa said...

BTDT. Sometimes it seems like the meals where I take the most precautions are the times I get burned.

And as an adult with allergies, I applaud everything you're doing to keep G safe. I didn't have that and it's *hard* to make that change as an adult. But as a mom - I can't afford to have a reaction.

Kelli said...

Hi! Totally new to your blog but I am so happy to have found it!

My daughter Ella has severe food allergies as well (peanuts and eggs) and I am so totally there with you on this restaurant experience-I am constantly frustrated at how waiters/waitresses can blow me off when I have JUST told them if they don't do listen I'll have to stab my sweet child in the leg with an epi-pen! :)