Saturday, July 6, 2013

We had a garlic reaction

Vance had an allergic reaction today. It was by far the scariest moment of my mommy life.

My mom, Vance, and I decided to go on a shopping trip and look at getting me a new laptop for my upcoming birthday, but decided to have lunch first. I guess I thought that it wouldn't be that hard to find something or be able to modify something in a way that I could eat it garlic and egg free. We go to a soup, salad, and sandwich place where you order at the counter and then you get your food when your pager goes off. I ordered a "Tomato and Mozzarella Panini" after checking that there was no egg in the bread and that everything else was garlic free. When I get my sandwich, I notice that there is a red tomato sauce on the sandwich that I know more than likely contains garlic. I take it back up to the counter and tell the person actually making the food that I cannot have anything except tomato and cheese because my son is anaphylactic allergic to garlic. He even repeats everything back to me to make sure he has it right.

The guy brings me out a new sandwich and I lift up the corner to make sure that it didn't have sauce on it like the first one; it looked fine. I always pack Vance food when we go out because food he can eat isn't always available. He didn't want his food today, he wanted what I was eating so we shared. About half way through the sandwich I noticed that one of the tomatoes looked different than the others. I pull back the bread and notice some sun-dried tomatoes that have obviously been made with some herbs and I know that the majority of sun-dried tomato recipes call for garlic (like anything else Italian). I freak out and tell my mom what I discovered and after talking with her we decide just to leave instead of me making a big scene. We get to the car and I give him a dose of Benadryl which is the first step on our "Food Action Plan" when we believe he has been exposed. He seemed fine so we decided to continue with our shopping trip and Matt decided to meet us at the store since he just got off work.

We went into Best Buy and started looking at the computers and my mom walked around the store with Vance while Matt and I nit-picked over which one to get. She comes back over and Vance is whining and wanting me, so I put him in the Ergo thinking that he just needs to fall asleep. He is really not having it and won't even nurse and starts screaming..... and then pukes all over everything. It is down the whole side of my body and there is so much that it's dripping on the floor. We all just kind of stand there freaking out for a second and I'm screaming, "Oh my god it's the garlic!" until we are snapped back into reality when he starts puking more and more and more. I start running for the door while leaving a trail of vomit from the back to the front of the store and yelling at some people that I was sorry. We get to the car and I strip down to my tank-top and jeans and take all of Vance's clothes off besides the diaper and we crank the AC up thinking that would help. He starts acting pretty normal so I don't give him the injection of epinephrine and I call the allergist.

The allergist ends up calming me down and saying I did everything right: I gave Benadryl when I thought he had been exposed, I realized he was having a reaction and watched him closely, had my Auvi-Q ready if he started showing signs of breathing trouble or heart trouble, and then called him. We were told to keep an eye on him for the next 24 hours or so to make sure it doesn't flare back up, but that him throwing up was probably his body's way of getting rid of it. We sit in the car another 15 minutes or so because we are about 1 minute away from the hospital, whereas our house is about 30 minutes (not by ambulance). Matt and I head home with Vance and I sit in the backseat with him to keep watch. He falls asleep, but wakes up about 5 minutes later and pukes all over himself and the car seat. When we turn onto our subdivision street I decide to take him out of his chair and hold him for the last little bit and he pukes all over me again and the seat.

When we get inside I change my clothes and wash myself off with a bath cloth and do the same for Vance. He lays his head down on my shoulder and I think he is going to get sick again, but he doesn't. We are thinking about giving him another dose of Benadryl, but before we can even get it ready he decides he wants to nurse and falls asleep within about 30 seconds and stays asleep for a couple of hours in my arms.

Both reactions Vance has had -to eggs and garlic- neither my mom nor Matt were around, so they have never seen him in that position. It's not that they don't believe he has food allergies (we have the tests to prove it), but I don't think you can fully comprehend the seriousness of it and how frightening it is unless you have seen it first hand. I also can't imagine how Vance feels during all of this. I know how much I hate throwing up, so I bet Vance was scared and wondering what was happening to him.

I feel so badly....I should have known better to trust a place like that (or any place, I guess) to be fully prepared to take food allergies seriously. I guess I was just coming off of the excitement of being able to go to a restaurant for Matt and my 3rd wedding anniversary where they made us specialty dishes that didn't include garlic. I let my guard down and got slack and look what happened.  As of tonight he is doing really well though and hasn't gotten sick in about 8-9 hours. I'm really glad we didn't have to inject him, but at the same time all these doubts creep in..."Did I do the right thing; should we have just done it because it could have gotten worse; should we have just gone straight home and not shopped...?". I guess there is a lesson to be learned in all of this and I hope we never make that same mistake again and just always eat our own food that has been prepared at home.

As a final note, I just want to remind everyone who deals with food allergies to always, ALWAYS, carry their medicine with them. I can't imagine being in that position and not having the tools to be able to try and do something about it. And don't think that if you keep it in the car it will be good enough; it needs to be on your person at all times....seconds matter! Oh, and big shout out and an "I'm sorry" to the people of Best Buy that had to clean up puke from the carpet.


  1. You should definitely tell the restaurant what happened. Probably not, but maybe the people preparing food will learn something!

    1. OH, believe me, the corporate office got a strongly worded email. I hope to also talk to the manager of the store here to try and inform them about food allergies.