Going to take a little break from all the recent posts on social media and focus on something that was influential in starting Allergy Friendly in the spring of 2013. At the time the majority of information and blogs available were focused on children and nut allergies. While we have a lot of the same struggles and concerns whether it be a child or a spouse with food allergies some things were different. There were also numerous blogs and sites focused on nut allergies, but not as many that talked about multiple food allergies. I wanted to help fill this void and talk about how dealing with food allergies as an adult is different than a child, and no one was writing from the view point of the spouse which I thought was interesting as well. Since then I’ve dug a little deeper and gotten more involved on social media I’ve found there are several sites that talk about multiple allergies and even a few adults dealing with food allergies, but still feel my viewpoint as a spouse is important to share.
Some things that are the same:
I worry about his safety daily; yes he’s a grown man and knows what he can and can’t eat. He has his epi pen and his coworkers know he has food allergies, but he often works outside the office. I also worry about if he needed his epi pen and couldn’t get to it do his coworkers know where it is and how to use it? What if he’s out on the road and left it at his desk? I know he doesn’t worry about these things because when I express my concern he laughs and says his reactions have never been that bad that he’s needed to use his epi pen. This attitude concerns me even more.
When he does have a reaction I immediately feel guilt. I go over everything in my head multiple times trying to make sure I did everything I could to keep him safe. That sounds like more of a parents concern, but I always go back to our vows in this instance; “in good times and bad times” and “in sickness and in health”. I’m in this with him through thick and thin, and everything in-between.
Clean takes on new meaning. I remind the kids to wash their hands constantly. I use the sanitize feature on the dishwasher, everytime. We have two different colors of pots and pans, black for allergy friendly food and the blue set for everything else. There are little bottles of hand sanitizer everywhere in the house and cars, air purifiers in the family room and bedroom, and dye free-perfume free laundry detergent.
We have weird rules that others would frown at; like Shane always dishes his plate up first, just in case. Most of the family understands this now and doesn’t comment, but I’ve seen some looks at larger gatherings and potlucks when he gets in line in front of the kids.
Being excluded. Both children and adults with food allergies are excluded in different ways. A child has to sit at a special table or even by themselves at lunch. Parties in the classroom, parties at a friends house, and even family gatherings. For an adult it’s being excluded by coworkers or friends who want to eat a specific restaurant, or the entire family being excluded from invites because people are just scared or uneducated. Either way, being excluded because of food allergies sucks whether you’re a child or an adult.
Things that are different:
That attitude. If you have a teenager with food allergies maybe you do understand what I’m talking about. That laid back attitude, I don’t want to carry my epi-pen everywhere, my reactions aren’t that bad attitude. It scares me, I know he takes his food allergies seriously. We’ve changed our entire diet because of it, but why not take every aspect of it seriously? Maybe this is some macho invincible thing that I just will never understand as a wife, but it doesn’t make me worry about him any less.
As an adult he knows what he can and can’t eat. Thankfully, I don’t have to explain to him what he can and can’t eat or worry that he’ll accept a piece of food from someone containing a food that would make him sick. He knows what to look for on ingredient labels, even the weird terms that secretly mean soy or wheat. In fact I hate grocery shopping with him because he’ll fill the cart with his favorites: Ian’s chicken nuggets and fish sticks, Enjoy Life Bars, all natural Cheetos and Ruffles, and bottled soda made with real sugar.
Did I miss anything? What one thing about food allergies has affected your life the most? Share in the comments so we can all say “oh yes, so true!”