Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mama, Somethings's Wrong.......

before i start, i am writing this in a few parts,
to tell what happened, what we did and what we SHOULD have done
and hopefully pass on important info to help someone else.
i will describe our mistakes at the end...
and unfortunately, we made a few.
don't we all dread those nighttime phone calls?
especially when one of your chicks isn't safely home in the nest.

this past Saturday night was pretty typical.
we went to the beach earlier in the day so we were kinda wiped out.
you know how a day at the beach does that.
we had dinner and were just hanging out.
all except Taylor,
who went to dinner and to see a ballet performance
at a local high school with one of her best friends,

about 8:30 p.m,
my cell phone rang and i saw it was Taylor
because her little girl photo popped up on my screen.

my heart stopped a little when i heard fear in her voice.
"Mama, are you there?"
after i said yes, what's wrong,
she said something like "I don't know".
i asked her if she had been in a car accident.  she said no. 
i asked again what was wrong, where she was?
Taylor said she was in the parking lot at the school with Alexis.
then she said
"Mama, something's wrong with me".
actually, she was speaking in almost a whisper
immediately, i knew my biggest fear, ever since she was a little girl,
was happening.
i asked what she had for dinner.
she said they only had a salad and meatballs at an italian restaurant 
we often go to.
that was 3 hours ago and she felt fine all night.

until intermission when they came out to the bake sale.......
and she chose the one safe thing she could see,
that she often had eaten and made herself in the past.

she chose a rice krispie treat.
a rice krispie treat, usually harmless.
soon after returning to the auditorium,
she was itching and had stomach cramps.
she slipped out to the ladies room, thinking she would be sick.
she did not throw up, but by now she was shaky
 and looking kinda funny in the mirror.
i think this shocked her in more ways than one too, so she started looking up peanut allergies on her phone,
even though she knew the signs.
 it wasn't but a minute until she sent a text to Alexis,
asking her to come to the ladies room.
when Alexis didn't get there instantly (kinda desperate now)
Taylor sent another that read
Alexis got there and they went outside to get air.
this is when she called home.

i asked if she was having trouble breathing
and she said "a little",
that her stomach hurt and she was itchy and then
" i think maybe there was peanut butter in it".
she wouldn't know because she has never had it but she also knew 
something was very wrong.


she sounded a little confused but not terribly out of breath,
 and since she and her friend were near the hospital where my husband works,
we told her to leave her car and have Alexis bring her to the ER,
where we would meet her.

we hopped in the car and my husband called and spoke to the ER dr.
to let him know she would be there in a few minutes.
when we arrived at the hospital, 
we saw them preparing to move Taylor into another room,
her friend Alexis by her side.
 the minute i saw Taylor, 
i knew for sure.
she was very hot to the touch,
one red hive over her entire body... and i mean she was red and puffy.
itching like crazy,
sinuses congested,
and short of breath.

her BP was low and her heart rate had sped up.
even though i've been out of nursing 20 years,
i knew that's not good.
but for some reason, i was scary calm, the whole time.
go figure:)
so they gave her an epinephrine shot and started IV steroids.
the whole time, she was reassuring us:)
that's Taylor.

her dr. was wonderful!
he asked what she tasted in the rice krispie treat to make her throw it away.
she said "it TASTED like peanut butter SMELLS".
you read that right.
she hasn't tasted peanut butter since she was an infant,
but she knows how it smells.
hates how it smells.
avoids it at all costs.
but it snuck up on her.
she isn't sure how it tastes, except to say it tastes like it smells:)
and he explained that 
since she had not thrown up, the peanut product was still in 
her body and could react again when the epinephrine
 wore off and could even be worse.
so she had to stay awhile and be monitored,
which she didn't mind as she was sleepy anyway.
we agreed her dad would go home and Jordie and I would stay with Taylor.
(there was NO WAY her little sis was budging from that hospital:)

i don't think it was till the next morning that
any of us truly realized what a close call this was.
15 minutes more before getting help and who knows......
looking back, 
it could have been TRAGIC and there were things
 we could have done differently.
i want to tell you about that in case you are ever near someone
this happens to.
i know this is long, so very soon i'll share some really
 important info everyone should know.
it's that important.
life or death.
and no, i'm not being dramatic.
it's scary looking back.
God protected my little girl when none of us could.
i'm smart enough to know that......
but clearly,
not all that smart about peanut allergies.

so together, we'll get smarter:)

now, about those mistakes........
Mistake #1: 
~buying something that someone else had baked from home.
~buying something not labeled,
 ~buying something a mom made to raise money at a bake sale,
not knowing there was a child with life threatening
peanut allergies who would buy
her rice krispie treats.

a girl like Taylor, who knew how to make these treats
 and never suspected that anyone would put peanut butter in them. 
a girl who has always been so careful to ask how something is made,
if there are nuts,
a girl who let her guard down.
a girl who took a few pieces off of it and thought it tasted weird,
 so she threw the rest away.
a young girl who made one tiny mistake that
could have been fatal.
now if that isn't scary, i don't know what is.

Mistake #2:  
the minute we suspected it was a reaction to peanuts,
the first thing to do would have been to take her
epipen from her purse and give herself a shot of epinephrine.

that is how we always planned it. 
once her breathing was involved,
we are to skip right to that emergency shot of epinephrine.
but, we have gotten CARELESS.
Taylor forgot it when she hurriedly changed purses.
because she hasn't really had a reaction since she was little.......
and even then, it wasn't major.
a dose of Benadryl did the trick back then.
yep......i want you to know how STUPID we were.
and how it will never happen again!
(i hope there is never a need for a crash cart near my girls again:)

Mistake #3:
Taylor had the sense to call us,
and what did we say?
after finding out she was having signs of an anaphylactic reaction,
we told her to leave her car and go with Alexis to the hospital.
this was wrong for a few reasons.
1.  we should have said "call 911". i knew that. but didn't say it.
i really don't know why.
maybe i was hoping it wasn't bad, that it wasn't a peanut reaction.
who knows.
for sure, i don't know why i missed that one!
in this case, it's truly better to be safe than sorry.
the paramedics would have had an epi-pen.
2.  we put a terrible responsibility on her friend's shoulders.
what if Taylor passed out on the way?
what if she didn't make it to the hospital,
as has happened to others in the past?
what kind of guilt would her friend have carried her whole life,
because of our stupid mistake?
"oh, she's with Alexis.  She is a smart girl, very calm.....
she'll get Taylor to the hospital."
i will never believe i did that.
all's well that ends well, but...........
(all clear.....waiting to go home:)

it's really, really, really important to me that
i write these posts.
i never thought it would actually happen to us.
but it did.......
and what a scare!

you might know someone or maybe you have a child whose friend
has a peanut allergy.
it's nothing to mess around with.
i know parents get kinda crazy on both sides.
but bottom line,
if a child has a potentially fatal allergy,
that should trump everything.
including the treat you had planned for a class party.
i had a friend get irritated at us once when it was her daughter's
4th birthday and she couldn't bring her favorite peanut butter cookies
 to share with the class, because of Taylor.
oh. my. gosh.
 i still can't believe she had such a HISSY FIT!
i mean, the poor kid already can't eat half of her trick or treat candy.
no peanut butter cups or reeses pieces for her.
no pb&j sandwiches either.
so deal with it, you know?
life is back to normal here.

i still have my little girl:)
you would never know we had such a scare.
Thank You God!

but in case anyone still doubts the seriousness of this food allergy,
let me tell you about these families who are not so
fortunate today.

 1.  the family of Emily Vonder Meulen,

who lost their 13 year old daughter 20 minutes after eating hidden
peanuts  in a chicken sandwich while shopping with her Mom.
here is a link for a Today show interview.

2. the family of 18 year old Laura Benson,

Laura died of a reaction to peanut butter in.....
while serving with her church youth group on a spring break project
at church camp.
read her tragic, heartbreaking story here.

3.  last year, 7 year old Amarria Johnson died after ingesting a peanut.
this story is so tragic, like all the others.
read her story here.

 oh there are more.......
the high school boy who died after eating
 an ice cream cone from an ice cream shop.
the scoop had been contaminated with peanuts.

then there is the high school girl who died in Canada when her boyfriend
kissed her after he ate something with peanuts in it.
having a 17 year old girl,
THAT is scary!
Taylor basically knows that any guy who is interested in her
 is going to have to swear off peanut products.
same with her children someday.

these stories are so sad.......
and to think it only takes 1/1000
 of a peanut to cause a severe reaction.

i learned SO much through this.
actually, i thought i KNEW the facts already.
 not well enough, apparently:)
i just feel really compelled to pass on some of what i learned.
if this is of no interest to you,
i understand.
no, i take it back.
i don't understand:)
because we never know when this might come in handy.

each of these victims asked someone for help.
but did not receive it until too late.
if you read all the way to the end of this long post of mine,
thank you!
this was a scary moment in our lives.
to look at us now, you would never know anything happened.
but i think each of us is MUCH more aware of what could happen
and what we should do if it does.
especially Taylor,
who needed this as she prepares
to go out on her own in the future.
be back soon!


  1. Dear Suzanne,
    I am so happy your Taylor is OK! What an ordeal for her and all of you!
    I have a friend with an allergy just like that {actually she has many allergies} and so I have learned to never serve anything with peanuts or fish when she comes to my home.
    Do take care and thank you for sharing your story. Wishing you a beautiful day.


  2. What an exceptionally scary experience. No doubt at all, the Lord was watching over your sweet child and your family. When my children were in school we always had peanut alerts from the teachers and School Board, so I just got in the habit of never buying peanut snacks and sending them to school. Even to this day I don't have much peanut products in my home. Hugs, Diane

  3. Thank goodness everything is okay now! You are so right-it is very important and everyone should know about this. What a scary ordeal for all of you, so glad that everyone is doing better. Lot's of hugs coming your way!


  4. Oh Suzanne what a scary thing for you all to go through!!
    Thank you for the post today it really made me wake up to realize that you need to question everything you or your children are putting into our mouths.
    I am so glad your daughter is OK and how smart she was that she realized it tasted weird and threw it away instead of eating it.
    Have a wonderful day!!!
    Suzann ~xoxo~

  5. So scary. You did what you needed to do. Maybe it is just a warning to be more prepared. She knew something wasn't right. So glad she is okay. That is a terrible allergy to have. WIsh they could take allergy shots to prevent it but I know they can't. Take a deep breath and don't be so hard on yourself. I know that is hard to do as our children are so important to us.

  6. Suzanne with tears in my eyes I say Thank You God! All allergies are scary but peanut allergies seem to be so quickly life threatening! I am so grateful that Taylor is OK. Yes we do unwise things in emergencies sometimes. But you learned and so did Taylor. It's easy to get complacent. My Sara has allergies but not peanut and so I've had a few scares with hives and such but never the breathing issues Taylor had. This post is IMPORTANT and I'm going to post a link on my blog to it. It never hurts to have a reminder and especially one with a good outcome...for Taylor. The other children who lost their lives, tragic! Big hugs to you and all your family. Linda

  7. Wow very scary for you and your family and especially her! Who would ever think that there would be peanuts in rice krispy treats. I have a food allergy to shell fish which is another common food allergy and I had a severe reaction to "Sea salt" not thinking that would cause a reaction too. I landed in the hospital and it is very scary. Thank goodness she is fine now and thank you for sharing. Hugs and love sent your way. Marilou

  8. Sue I'm SO glad that Taylor is okay. What a scary experience for sure. You just reminded me that I need to meet with an allergist for Brayden. He is allergic to sesame seeds the same way Taylor is allergic to peanuts. However when we had his blood tested, they also said there were many other things on the list too. . peanuts were one along with corn, rice, soy beans, sunflower seeds, eggs. . but many of them were not "severe" so I don't really know what to worry about and what no to you know? Before we had that test done he was eating peanut butter toast almost daily and then after the test I tried him on it once more and noticed that he complained his stomach hurt before he ate it all. Anyway, it's a good wake up call for sure. I felt so bad hearing Taylor had to go through that. . she's so sweet. Tell her hi for me. :)


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