When Four Minutes Away Is Four Minutes Too Far
The 'simple' is never simple for food allergy families. You can plan all you want, but sometimes the best of plans go off the rails and you're faced with the unexpected. Unprepared. As in without your child's epinephrine within easy reach. In a risk-filled environment.
Read this post by Allergy Force guest author, Francesca McGuire, and find out when four minutes away is four minutes too far...
On Thursdays I drop Miles off at school at 8 AM, go to the gym and run errands until I have to pick him up at 11 AM. I do not bring his epinephrine auto-injectors with me since we keep them at school and it’s four minutes door-to-door, then I’m on the run all morning without him. He has auto-injectors at home and at school. Every day we head straight home, FOUR minutes with no epi. That’s it.
Today my errands included picking up formula for his baby sister Mia and two different places were out.
11 AM came quickly. Too quickly. I needed to stop looking and pick up Miles. I decided to pick him up and head back to town to keep trying to find formula for my daughter. We walk into the supermarket and Miles runs straight to the apple bin and picks one up asking if he can have it.
Immediately it hits me.
We don’t have our auto-injectors. We are out in town. At a grocery store that has a restaurant in it and prepared food everywhere. Miles is touching everything he can (this kid LOVESSSSS the grocery store.) My heart sank. HOW COULD I BE SO STUPID?
Now, if you’re not an allergy parent, you’re probably thinking— what’s the issue? It’s just a grocery store. He’s not eating anything. Calm. Down. You’ll be home soon. It’s not a big deal.
If you ARE an allergy parent, you get me. I know it. You are conditioned:
To always, always have your auto-injectors on hand, knowing allergens are everywhere. All. The. Time.
That you can never be too cautious.
That the chances of something happening there truly are very small, however, you can’t take a chance with “very small.”
That the ultimate fear is your child needing an epi and it’s not available (lay on the guilt that it would be your fault, you didn’t grab it… the mother… who knows better.)
All these things run through your mind, weigh on you, weigh you down, right?
I just wanted to go buy formula for my baby. Carefree. Just like most parents do without thinking twice (except for the darn formula shortage, but that’s a topic for another day.)
Instead it turns into an absolute internal panic, conversations about not touching anything, bee-lining in and out (after grabbing the last two cans of formula found far far away at the back on a bottom shelf) and praying at the same time. So much emotion exhausted on a simple grocery store run.
This… this is my allergy life. This is our allergy life. The simple is never simple.
(And, for the record, I now take a set of auto-injectors with me in my purse all the time, with or without my sons. There’s no such thing as carrying too much epinephrine, and this way it prevents me from not carrying enough and avoiding this mistake in the future.)
About the Author: Francesca McGuire is a resident of Normal, IL and is a wife and mother raising three children, two with multiple food allergies. She has a Marketing degree and MBA from Illinois State University, and works full time as a business consultant. Francesca has a passion for writing and advocating to keep those with food allergies safe. She is an active contributor in the NNMG Food Allergic Family Forum FB group and you can connect with her on Instagram.
Image: Courtesy of Francesca McGuire, with permission