In May of 2010, my then 17 month-old son Colin got his hands on some trail mix that his older brother and sister were eating. Within minutes, he was vomiting, coughing, wheezing, and struggling to breath. It seemed pretty clear to us that he was having a severe reaction to the peanuts in the trail mix.
As we watched his respiratory situation deteriorate rapidly, my husband and I frantically debated whether to make the 20 minute drive to Children's Memorial or take him to the local hospital around the corner. We decided not to chance to 20 minute drive.
After an extremely unpleasant few hours in the emergency room, medical personnel declared that my son's situation had stabilized and I was free to take him home. They suggested we make an appointment with an allergist as soon as possible.
A few days later, an allergist confirmed that Colin is severely allergic to peanuts, treenuts and eggs (that's a whole other story).
So now we are a food allergy family. No nuts in the house. We have Epi pens in the kitchen and diaper bag. I read food labels and bring our own snacks to playdates and parties.
Like thousands and thousands of other families in similar situations, we do what we have to do to prevent our son from having a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.
The truth is that, on a daily basis, my son's food allergies really aren't that big of a deal. We've made the necessary adjustments. We're taking the right precautions. And we're moving on with our lives.
However, there are a few situations that can be particularly nervewracking. Like being on an airplane where the person next to us is throwing back bag after bag of peanuts. Or attending a baseball game at a stadium where spectactors are participating in the time-honored tradition of cracking peanuts open with their teeth and throwing the shells all over the ground.
Just last Friday, my husband and I took our two older children to a Cubs game. As I sat in my seat surrounded by peanut eaters, for the first time I realized that Wrigley Field was going to be a tough place to bring Colin. My husband and I decided that, due to his current status as a crazy and restless toddler who couldn't make it through more than two innings, Colin wasn't going to be attending a game anytime soon so we would deal with the situation when we had to.
Then yesterday, I saw this story in Chicago Tribune about how the Cubs had announced that they were going to designate the centerfield Batter's Eye skybox as a peanut-free zone for next Monday night's game so that little Cubs fans with nut allergies could enjoy a trip to Wrigley Field without their parents standing by with Epi pens at the ready.
How great for kids with really severe peanut allergies, I thought. So smart of the Cubs organization to be sensitive to this issue.
And then I took a look at the comments made about the story -- where most people were either making fun of the situation or acting totally put out by the idea that they might not be able to eat peanuts for 3 hours of their lives. People can be really stupid.
So in conclusion: (1) Boo to the total idiots who are all hot and bothered by this situation. (2) Hooray to the Cubs for making this small accomodation for a group of their fans. (3) And to the kids who are going to the game on Monday -- I hope you have an awesome, safe time.