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Peanuts

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My story begins with me at a family party. I was two and a half years old and I can’t remember much. The most of what I can remember is that I loved peanuts. I can remember that all the grownups were in the dining room talking. All of us kids were in the computer room and I would dash from room to room to grab peanuts and bring them back with me. On one of the times the peanut bowl was moved to the middle of the table.

Now, there were two bowls of peanuts on the table, regular and Spanish peanuts. One of the parents, I don’t know who, (they all looked the same) had taken some of the regular peanuts and placed them in the middle of the table. Being very short I couldn’t reach them but I could reach the Spanish ones. I can remember my mom telling me before that I wouldn’t like that kind. But I wanted peanuts so I took some.
This is where my memories get more distorted. I remember eating the peanuts and feeling very hot. Not the spicy hot, but hot all over. I started having trouble breathing and sat down in the living room in between the dining room and the computer room. I didn’t call for help, I don’t know why. I sat there for probably 5 minutes wheezing. It felt like 20 minutes but waiting always feels longer than it really is. During the last 2 minutes, I started to seal cough. I vaguely remember two people walking toward me. One was my mom; I think the other was my Aunt Audrey. At this point I can’t remember what happened next. My mom says that I was puffing up and puking.

My next memory is in our minivan on the way to the closest hospital. I was sitting at the edge of my car seat with my body as straight as possible. I didn’t move at all because my breathing was so shallow. I had my face against the window to cool off my face. There was no sound in the van. I looked at my sister sitting behind me and tried to smile to show her I would be Ok, but didn’t have the strength to smile, even though I wanted to.

My next memory is of me in a helicopter. (At this point I was blue) My mom got in with me and they strapped us in. (As it turns out I was hallucinating this part) Then she brought out some Sesame Street cards. They were cards with the Cookie Monster and Big Bird with words in the picture and you had to say the word. The first card I looked at was the Grouch (Again this was a hallucination). I looked up at the pilots then looked around, if there were other people in the helicopter I didn’t see them. The helicopter was, from my point of view being two and a half, very spacious. At this point I passed out. That’s where my memories end; I can’t remember anything more about the incident.

I found out later that I had inhaled a peanut and the doctors heard it in my lung. They also noticed that the peanut had gone from one lung when I was in River Falls hospital to the other when I was transferred to Children’s hospital. I went into surgery but the doctors couldn’t find the peanut and didn’t know what happened to it. My parents were scolded for letting a two and a half year old eat peanuts. They removed me from intensive care because I was taking up space and didn’t need to be there. My parents were given an epinphrine-pen (epi-pen) and were told not to let me eat any peanuts until I saw my doctor. An epi-pen is just a tube of adrenaline that gets injected into my thigh if I react to peanuts.

I didn’t have another encounter with peanuts until I went into elementary school. I can’t remember what grade it was in but I think I was in second grade.

The next notable incident with peanuts I had, was when I was in elementary school. It seemed like a normal day. But for lunch that day we were eating something that I didn’t like, so I had brought a bag lunch. When the lunch bell rang I went to my locker and got my bag and went to the front of the line to get milk. When I went to the table I drank my milk first, then ate my carrots. Strangely, I ate my sandwich last. When I took a bite I knew instantly that something was wrong with the sandwich. I quickly opened the sandwich and saw jelly and peanut butter. I got up and ran to the garbage can and spat and spat repeatedly to get the peanut butter out of my mouth. Eventually my teacher came up to me because we were supposed to ask for permission before we left our seats. It was Mrs. Will; she came up to me and saw that something was wrong and I told her my sandwich was peanut butter and jelly. That freaked her out. She stared ranting,” Are you ok? Should I call an ambulance?” and started turning in circles. I told her I was fine, that I didn’t swallow any of it but she insisted that I go to the office for the nurse to look me over. Honestly, I pouted. No recess! But I followed her down to the nurse and she checked me over all the while Mrs. Will was pacing behind her. As it turned out I was totally fine. There was nothing wrong because I didn’t swallow.

These two instances were the only real scary events that happened to me. Other times it was only brief encounters with peanuts. I still feel awful when I’m around them, which tells me that I’m still allergic to them.

Since I have been careful, I haven’t needed to use my epi-pen. I have gotten careless for the past 5 years and haven’t taken my epi-pen anywhere. I haven’t taken a test to make sure that I’m still allergic to peanuts because if I am still allergic it can make it worse. The test is just putting me in a prepared room and literally smearing peanuts on my skin. If I break out I’m still allergic, such a simple test. I still have hope that I will grow out of being allergic to peanuts. Even if I was cured I don’t think I would eat peanuts for fun. Not to have the risk of breaking out would be good enough for me.





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