Oh Nuts! ( and paper clips)

Ingesting things that one should not be ingesting seemed to be last night’s theme.  It began with a text from my mother telling me that my 13 year old nephew swallowed a paper clip and asking me if I thought he should go to the doctor.  (don’t ask, there is no answer as to why he swallowed a paper clip.  Please refer to the song “There was an Old Lady that Swallowed a Fly.” – There was an old lady that swallowed a fly, I don’t know why she swallowed a fly.  Perhaps she’ll die.- then change old lady to 13 year old boy and change fly to paper clip and the rest of the line is the same. ) At first I told her not to bother with the doctor because he already swallowed it and he didn’t choke and it was gonna re appear anyhow at some point in time.  Then I thought about it and texted my friend Kara who is a Pediatric NP and received the same answer – more or less- as the one I gave my mother.  Until about 5 minutes later at which time she said that the more she thought about it the more she thought a call to his doctor in the morning would be a good idea.  I relayed this information to my mother and my nephew Noah will be having an x ray today.  I can’t wait to see it.  Boys are stupid.

This all took place early in the evening, around 7pm or so.  By 9 pm I had a much older boy that had ingested something he shouldn’t have and a similar conversation with him. Asking him if he needed to use his Epi Pen and/ or go to urgent care.  He repeatedly answered with a very impatient “no”  He is not nice to me when I am being helpful and he is suffering, but I can over look this because he is uncomfortable and I am a martyr.  Also because I will use his snottiness against him at a later date.

This time the boy in question was Brian and the item ingested was a nut.  He is allergic to all nuts – which is odd since he and I seem to do just fine and everyone knows I’m nuts- more so to some than others, but I can’t remember the hierarchy of reactions and usually it doesn’t matter.  More often than not when he eats a nut it was unseen and unintentionally present in something else.  Hence we have no idea what kind of nut it was. Recently he had a reaction to something he ate at a wedding.  It was Brie cheese on a cracker with jam or something.  I ate it before he did because I am generally the royal taster and detected no unusual nuttiness.  He took one bite and hadn’t even swallowed when the look on his face told me that all was not well.  He had a mild reaction and the night went on.

There was also the time when I first moved here that I totally forgot he was allergic and actually physically fed him something with nuts on it.  It was a similar situation, we were at a somewhat formal gathering, and it was also brie cheese and fruit and, well, walnuts.  I felt terrible.  He went to the bathroom, threw up, came back to the dinner and went on with life, although I was worried sick and he was less than his usual witty self since he had to concentrate on breathing and all.

He has always had allergies, but they were more severe when he was younger.  He was always allergic to cats, very much so actually, except now we have cats.  3 indoor cats actually and at least two of them regularly sleep on top of him.  He doesn’t have any reactions to them at all any more, although when he is around other cats, like in my mother’s house, he feels the allergies a little.  At one point I thought that perhaps since he developed a tolerance for cats and his allergies have all but vanished perhaps the same was true for nuts.  I mentioned this to him and he WILLINGLY AND OF HIS OWN FREE WILL tried a taste of Nutella.  Yup, still allergic to nuts.  He refers to this as the time I tried to kill him. He regularly makes sarcastic  comments about that episode that are directed towards me. I tell him that I only mentioned it, he was the idiot that actually did it.  I don’t see how I am the one in this scenario that should be targeted for sarcasm.

He only mentions cat allergies when the cats annoy him.  For instance, when one pukes in his slipper.  Or when White Kitten sits on the cable box directly in front of the hockey game.  “I’m allergic to cats” he will grump as he is removing the cat from the cable box for the 45th time.  He also mentions cat allergies when we have our daily morning exchange after his shower.  It goes like this:

The shower shuts off.  Brian steps out.  “achoo!  achoo!” I hear loudly from the bathroom.  I say “God bless you, God bless you.”  three seconds of silence “ACHOO!” then I say “Stop Sneezing!” and he says “I’m allergic to cats.”  Every morning.  He is also super loud when he sneezes and it makes me want to remove his vocal cords.  He like yells his sneezes.  For no reason other than to make me say “stop sneezing.” and for him to reply “I’m allergic to cats.”  Then I threaten to feed him PB and J for lunch if he doesn’t knock it off and then he asks me if I have paid all the bills.  I tell him not to talk to me before noon.  He asks why I can’t be normal and be awake in the mornings and  I then ask him who he is to decide what normal is and the rest of the morning goes down hill until he leaves for work or I throw something at him.

Morning people are annoying and incredibly self important and know- it- all ish.  I am up as many hours as he is, just different hours, and if I so much as think about moving, talking or blinking while he is in bed he lectures me.  I am apparently not allowed the same feeling of indignant irritation at being woken up when I want to be asleep.  Morning people, you are not the rulers of the world.  You are not the golden standard to sleep schedules!  Step lightly, morning people because night people throw things and those of us that usually have terrible aim and throw like a girl can totally hit a moving target with incredible accuracy and force between the hours of 6 am and noon and from a prone position when the need arises.

Back to nuts. The food, not the state of mind.  So last night after the long distance paper clip swallowing fiasco Brian entered our room with a LOOK on his face.  I had been in bed reading for about an hour at that point anyhow.  I looked at him and asked what was wrong.  He said ” nothing.” I then asked twice more, because it takes three times before he gives me an honest or serious answer about anything most of the time (yet he gets irritated on the rare occassion when I ask him three times but he answered seriously the first time.  He has no one to blame but himself, I have been conditioned to three sneezes and three questions.)  He finally said “I ate a nut.” Oh.  I asked how bad it was, he said it was bad.  I asked HOW he ate a nut.  We have peanut butter in the house, but I am careful about the knives and he has his own jelly for his sunflower butter and jelly sandwiches etc.  However, we rarely have nuts or anything that contains nuts.  It has become second nature to check the ingredients and if anything I buy DOES have nuts I tell him about it when I buy it and he is also very careful and double checks.  Anyone that lives with a food allergy or with anyone that has one realizes it becomes second nature.

Also, when we are in doubt I always test things for him first.  Even when it is something I don’t especially want to test.  Like in Ireland, when he ordered a traditional Irish breakfast and it came with black and white pudding.  I had to try to black pudding for him since neither of us had the slightest idea what it was.  We were both totally expecting like, pudding.  Of the chocolate variety actually.  Nope.  It was not pudding as we think of it.  So I tried it and said it was gross- I am not a fan of any sort of sausage- but it was gross in a nut- free way and he ate it.  We later discovered and by later I mean YEARS later when watching some travel show that black pudding is also known as BLOOD PUDDING because it is made almost entirely from pigs blood.  You should all be glad you were not in this house when that discovery was made. I knew what blood pudding was, I read enough nerdy history books for that.  I just didn’t realize it was also called black pudding.  The look of fear on his face was likely equal to and caused by the look of disgusted fury on my face.  So, see, I have thrown myself in front of buses for this man and his food allergies. I don’t even kiss him if I have eaten anything with nuts or peanut butter unless I brush my teeth first.

His mother sent a plate of little danishes  home with us the other day.  She had them in a container in her freezer and had taken them out to have with tea and had forgotten about them.  So she put them on a plate and covered them with foil and sent them home with us.  I had eaten one earlier in the day and didn’t think there were any nuts in them so he had no reason to believe that there were.  There were.  In at least one of them and Yup, still allergic to nuts as it turns out.  So he threw up and took an allergy pill and went to sleep.  I, of course, did not sleep because I spent the night holding his arm and feeling to make sure he still had a pulse and listened to him breathe.

He texted his mother to let her know that the nut originated in her house.  He has an older brother that is much more violently allergic than he is and also two nieces and a nephew that are allergic.  So he mentioned it to make sure if she had any more she was aware that they were potentially lethal.

Her response was priceless.  We both cracked up.  She wrote back.

“So sorry.  Don’t eat things unless you read the ingredients.  You should know better than that.”

I asked him if he told her that SHE wrapped these and sent them home and he nodded while laughing.  He said “I DO read the ingredients, however, I trusted that she did too, you know with two sons and three grandchildren that were allergic. My mother is trying to kill me.”   That may be the case, but I doubt it.  If she was going to do that she had much better opportunities.  Plus, when it comes down to it I think she knows that in the long run it’s going to be Brian and I changing her diapers and taking care of her so I think it’s probably in her best interest not to kill him.  Maybe they were originally intended for his brother Gary and she forgot.  Or maybe was using Brian as a test subject.  That’s the theory I am going to stick with.

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