Friday, January 2, 2009

A Big, Bright Sunshiny Day

Tabitha is now required to eat peanut butter cookies every day. Doctor's orders.

I kid you not:

This is a great day.

It was about six and a half years ago now that we discovered that Tabitha was allergic to tree nuts and peanuts. We discovered this the hard way, with a high-speed trip to the emergency room from which some traffic laws have yet to recover even now. Since then we have been vigilantly guarding her against a return trip - not an easy thing to do, especially when she spends her days in an elementary school, where up to half of the student body routinely bathes in peanut butter and the other half has a cold.

"When everybody is really out to get you," said the immortal Dr. Johnny Fever, "paranoia is just good thinking."

Fortunately, we have a remarkably understanding family, network of friends, and school district, all of whom have been more than eager to accommodate us in our quest to keep Tabitha healthy. Not everyone in our situation can say that - I've certainly run into some people whose refusal to take this issue seriously made me want to reach through the Internet and beat them to death with their own limbs - so we thank you all.

Despite nearly quadrupling in frequency over the last 15 years, nobody really knows where peanut allergies in particular or food allergies in general come from. Or why some people outgrow some of them but not others, or why these allergies are getting more frequent, or a whole lot of things, really.

One thing we do know, however, is that if you outgrow a peanut allergy, you are then required to eat what you have previously been required to avoid, otherwise there is a good chance the allergy might come back. They're tricky that way.

Thus the prescription, signed by her doctor and everything.

When Tabitha did not react to an accidental bite of a peanut butter cookie last month, we called Dr. K's office. He said to bring her in, and we could do a properly supervised food challenge. He even managed to get us an appointment less than three months in advance, which under normal circumstances is roughly equivalent to dropping by Buckingham Palace unannounced and being asked in for tea by the Queen. He's a busy man, Dr. K.

The appointment was this morning.

We skidded to a halt in his office at precisely the appointed hour, bringing with us a box of peanut butter cookies that Kim had made at a friend's house (see comment by Dr. Johnny Fever, supra) and a jar of peanut butter sealed in a plastic bag. Because you know the last thing you want to do is bring unsealed peanut butter to a pediatric allergist's office.

That's just waaaaaay too ironic.

Dr. K - a genuinely friendly man whom we enjoy talking to very much - sat us down in his office and gave Tabitha bits of peanut butter on a stick. She was a bit weirded out by the whole thing, having studiously avoided this very thing for most of her life, but she bravely ate what was offered.

And did not react.

So now she can have all the peanut butter she wants! We stopped on the way home and bought her some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups - the king of all candy. Because a celebration was definitely in order.

Congratulations, kiddo. It's a good day.

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