It started out like any other day, the typical rushing around upstairs getting the kids ready for school. I did the usual routine like making the beds, helping the kids get dressed, washing their faces and ensuring they brushed their teeth. I noticed my son had some marker on his face so I washed his face with what I had near the sink, trying to get it off quickly. Before you know it, the kids were dressed, ate breakfast, grabbed their backpacks and we were off to school in a flash.
It was just like any other morning.
And then, my phone rang.
The school number was showing up on my caller ID.
Every single time I see that number, my heart always beats a little faster. I always worry that something is dramatically wrong – that something happened.
The nurse was calling to let me know my son’s face had mysteriously broken out in hives but none appeared on any other parts of his body – just on his face, specifically around his mouth and chin. Immediately, I began to panic and my mind raced with so many thoughts:
Did he ingest something he shouldn’t have? Did the afterschool program not clean the tables well enough from the day before? Did my son touch a child’s hand or even a pencil at school that had come into contact with nuts? Will the hives get worse? Will they spread? Is his lip about to blow up? Will his breathing change???
I was so confused and the nurse continued to rattle off a list of questions:
Did you change his breakfast routine? Anything he could have touched or eaten that would have caused the breakout? Anything else out of the ordinary, perhaps a new lotion, cream or soap on his face?
And then it hit me.
I remembered that I washed my son’s face (to get that stupid marker off) with my exfoliating cream, a cream I had never used on him before.
I ran upstairs to get the bottle to read the ingredients and before I could even get to the bottom of the label, I read the top which stated:
“Soothing, gentle scrub with micro-spheres and natural extracts of honey, ALMOND and yeast…
My son has a severe NUT allergy, he is allergic to ALMONDS.
“Sweet almond protein” is an ingredient found in the scrub that I used to wash my son’s face that morning. Total #MOMFAIL
I felt relieved in one sense that I discovered the culprit of the mysterious hives on my son’s face, but what didn’t sit well with me is the fact that after all these years of dealing with my son’s severe allergy, it’s crap like this that *still* happens and continues to spook me. It’s the idea that we don’t live in a bubble and I know there will be many more moments like this for him growing up, making an honest (but potentially deadly mistake) like putting a new cream on my son’s face.
The big lesson learned for me?
I need to read EVERY single label – not just FOOD labels, EVERY label.
Aside from what he ingests, I need to be conscious of every product that he puts on his face, in his hair, on his teeth, lips and all over his body.
EVERY single label.
Unfortunately for my son, this allergy is not going away anytime soon. We recently had him re-tested and he is *just* as allergic as he was five years ago.
And so it goes – we continue to live with this terrible allergy, one that has the potential to KILL my son. No, I’m not talking about the common cold from time to time or a cough that won’t seem to quit, I am talking about something that he could actually die from.
For the record, I know many of my bloggy friends would want to know how he is doing – Thankfully, with a dose of Benadryl he was ok. Had I used this exfoliating cream repeatedly or if he actually ingested some, it could have been a much different outcome.
This is reason #5,629 I am haunted by this allergy and will continue to blog about my experiences, hoping that if you are a mom who deals with this as well, you can totally empathize with me and know that you are NOT alone. And to the moms who don’t have children who suffer from this allergy, I hope my words resonate with you and that you find compassion in your heart for moms like me. Ultimately, my hope is that you’ll have a better understanding of why I continue to be THAT mom.
Because I just don’t have any other choice – it’s a matter of life and death.