Aug 15, 2010

A Lot to Be Thankful For

Tonight our family has a lot to be thankful for.  We had something of a close call this morning.  It was promotion Sunday and third Sunday at church, which meant that Stella would be going to the 2 and 3 year old Sunday School class for the first official time, and it was also my turn to serve as extended session coordinator.  Since Cille still hasn't had her immunizations, she and Daddy had to stay home.  When I dropped Stella off with her teachers, I forgot to remind them about her peanut allergy.  When I came back to the nursery area for extended session, she seemed fine.  She was having a great time in her class and seemed like she had really learned a lot.  Later I took some snacks into the room.  She was still great.  It wasn't until the next time that I went into the room that I noticed she had dark circles under her eyes.  I felt her to see if she was feverish, thinking to myself, "Great; she's getting sick and she'll infect all the other kids and their parents will be mad!"  There wasn't a lot I could really do at that point.  Jamie was there and told me that Stella had been scratching her eyes.  She had been doing that after her bath the night before so I assumed that she was allergic to the soap or shampoo she had used at Mawmaw's house.  When church was over I noticed that she was getting a little red rash under her armpits, and in the creases of her elbows and knees.  She was still running around playing and being her general rambunctious self, so I figured nothing too terrible was going on.  They were having a spaghetti lunch fundraiser so we finished up our extended session duties (with a little help from Jamie) and went to get a couple of plates to go.  On the way home I called Damon to ask him to get some Benedryl ready for Stella.  Literally as we were going home her condition started to go downhill fast.  Maybe it was the heat in the car.  I started to get a little scared.  By the time we made it home, both of her eyes were significantly swollen, and she had hives all over her body.  We decided to take her to the emergency room, and both got busy preparing for our trip.  I think Stella and I were in the house for a sum total of 5 minutes before we hit the road.  Missy came over to stay with Cille until Rosie could get there and watch her until Mawmaw and Pawpaw arrived.  Damon drove and Stella watched Mary Poppins and slept while I endured the most terrifying vehicular experience of my entire life.  I am pretty sure Mr. Sharbono would be a little proud of Damon's emergency driving display and also a little bit horrified at his general lack of regard for the speed limit/traffic laws/other motorists.  Somehow we arrived at Children's Hospital in one piece and were with a nurse taking large quantities of Benedryl in a matter of minutes. 

After her symptoms were under control and we had been reassured by the doctor that this allergic reaction had not turned life-threateningly serious yet, we began to try to retrace everything Stella had eaten since the type of reaction that she had indicated she had ingested an allergen.  I was sure it was the snack I had fed her during extended session since her symptoms seemed to show up after I gave her that snack.  We went back to church to investigate and eventually uncovered the mistake.  Remember when I forgot to tell Stella's new Sunday school teachers about her peanut allergy?  Well, the sweet ladies who were brave enough to take on 8 two-year-olds at the same time had given them one small snack.  It was a chocolate covered wafer cookie that was in a ziplock bag in the Sunday school pantry.  They assumed it was just a regular graham cracker cookie, which seemed logical.  One of the ladies remembered Stella having food allergies, but she thought that Stella had received an all clear after her two year old tests, which is partially correct.  Stella is allowed to have milk now but still no peanuts.  The teacher even asked Stella if she was allowed to have a church snack or if she had one in her bag, just to be sure.  (Stella of course had a bag full of snacks, but she's not one to pass up a chocolate covered anything, so she fudged a little.)  Through a well-meaning accident, Stella had in fact been given a chocolate covered PEANUT BUTTER cookie!

Reflecting back on the day, I know that it is totally my fault that my child's life was put in danger because I forgot to mention her food allergy.  This is a tough thing to admit and accept responsibility for, since as a parent you always try to protect your child.  Today I learned that what seems like a small mistake can have a big price tag attached to it, and I'm not talking about the bill from the emergency room.  I am so thankful that Stella's heavenly father was watching over her when her earthly mother screwed up.  I am so thankful that there were only enough cookies for each child to have one.  I am thankful that Stella's friend who also has a peanut allergy skipped Sunday school today and didn't get a cookie of his own.  I am thankful that Damon drove like a wild man to get Stella the medical attention that she needed, and I'm thankful that God put angels around our car and kept us safe during that perilous journey.  I'm thankful for the chain of friends and family who stepped in to care for Cille at a moment's notice.  Above all, I'm thankful that I have another day to love my sweet Stella and kiss her poor little swollen eyes.  Thank you, God, for protecting my baby when I couldn't.  Please help me to fully surrender her care and protection to You each day, and give me the faith to trust that You will meet all her needs. 


Marylou said...

Scarlett- don't beat yourself up. Unfortunately as parents, we all make small mistakes that can have potentially big consequences every day. I looked away for a minute and tris slammed into our fireplace running the other day. If her head had been turned differently we too would have been headed to the ER. No doubt that the Lord was watching over you guys and we are so thankful that everyone is ok!!

Emily Raney said...

Ok. I'm with ML on this one. I think you are blaming yourself a bit too much. You and Damon are doing a fantastic job with those girls! They are so blessed to have two caring and loving people as parents and at the end of the day, that's what Stella and Cille really need.

I can think of so many times when God protected Cohen. We are so blessed to have a heavenly Father who cares enough about us to watch out for our little ones. I'm so happy to hear that Stella is doing better, and the next time I'm at church, I will personally go toss all those peanut butter cookies. No one should have to go through all of that for a sweet treat.

Jane Anne said...

Oh,I am so thankful that your daughter is okay. I have a peanut allergic son (found your blog through my google alert on "peanut allergy") and your story was riveting to me. I could imagine every step. In fact, once when he was 2 he was given something at church that resulted in a reaction. I understand how nerve wracking this is. I applaud you for thanking God for protecting your child. And, like the others, I'd like you to know that you are doing a great job.

I write about my son's peanut allergy from time to time on my blog. Just click on the Allergy label on the sidebar: Gravity of Motion

Our Life Version 6.0 said...

Oh that's so scary!!! You are an awesome mommy!!
Something that our church does for peanut and other allergies is this: they have paper wrist tags with ALLERGY written in all caps on it. When a parent signs their child in for nursery, they can grab one of the wrist bands and put it on child's arm. The bands are the type that you have to cut off when you are done with them. Suggest those to your church or pick up some at Office Depot.

Gabrielle (aka Peanut Free Mama) said...

DO NOT beat yourself up! I have absolutely been in your shoes - there are so many things to remember when it comes to keeping your child safe who has food allergies. It has happened to all of us.

I'm also a PA blogger - - I'm bookmarking your site :)