Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I know I have so much to be thankful for. We only have 3 more Thanksgivings with everyone all still living at home, most likely, so I've been reflecting lately on how thankful I am for these busy years, and for how much fun we have at home with everyone here.

This picture was taken as Bob was still carving the turkey, so it looks like we had an uneventful meal of delicious food. In reality, we had a more exciting afternoon. It actually started last night when we went to a Thanksgiving dinner at our church. The meal was part of a weekly outreach that our church has to Hispanic students at a local high school, a taste of a traditional American Thanksgiving meal. Church members brought various dishes. We brought dressing, cranberry salad, and apple pie squares for 25. It was fun! Nathan reported that he could understand a lot of the Spanish.

There was a lot of food left over, and our pastor's family was going out of town, so we were all encouraged to take some of the left-overs. There was a little bit of my dressing left over, but not enough for us all to eat today, so I decided to take some of this other dressing. I didn't eat any of this dressing, but it looked pretty similar to mine, and I didn't think another thing about it, which turned out to be a colossal mistake.

I had a not-too-stressed morning cooking, since I had already made the cranberry salad (I saved enough for us out of what I made for the potluck), the mashed potatoes, and the dressing. We had brined the turkey Wednesday night, and we decided to try cooking it with the convection oven. It was WONDERFUL! We cooked it with the breast down, and it was so moist and juicy--delicious! And even though it was a 25 pound bird, it only took 3 hours to cook. I also made sweet potato casserole, rolls, and garlic green beans. It all came together, and we were ready to eat around 2:00.

As I was dishing out plates, and we were all getting ready to pray, Caleb started holding his throat and saying he didn't feel well, like he had eaten something he was allergic to. I asked him what he had eaten, and he said nothing, so I started thinking about what else could be irritating his throat. I gave him a Benedryl when it became obvious he was getting more uncomfortable, but I still couldn't figure out what had happened. After a few more minutes of complaining, I went upstairs to get his Albuterol and Flovent for his puffer. As I was getting it, I heard Nathan ask Caleb if he had eaten any dressing. It turned out he had nibbled on some. It also turned out to have chopped walnuts in it, which was what Nathan had discovered when he looked at it carefully. Argh!! Walnuts are Caleb's biggest allergen on his prick tests! His throat was feeling more swollen, so I got out the Epi-pen, but Caleb got all agitated and didn't want me to give it. I felt like his panicking was making everything worse, so I told him to just calm down, and I wouldn't inject him. Bob took him off to the ER, which is only a few miles away, where they gave him a shot of epinepherine, LOL.

So Thanksgiving dinner ended up being a bit of a let-down for us all. Jonathan and the girls really didn't eat much at all, I think because it's hard to see someone else have an allergic reaction like that. I finally did eat after Bob and Caleb left, but my plate was pretty cold, and it was hard to enjoy it, since I was feeling so incredibly guilty for not thoroughly checking the dressing. And poor Bob and Caleb--they didn't get to eat until they got back, hours later!

We did have the McCs come over for dessert, and they were still here when Bob and Caleb came back. The kids all watched "Cars 2" while the adults visited, so that was a nice quiet activity for Caleb, poor guy. I was very glad to have them over, because I think otherwise I really would have obsessed about being careless.

And obviously I have gotten complacent. Ironically, at the dinner and at most potlucks, Caleb only eats my stuff, or things he is sure are safe. But since I was the one bringing home the other dressing, and serving both dressings in the same bowl, he didn't think about being careful here in his own house! We actually have quite a few people with nut allergies in our church, so it really didn't occur to me that there would be chopped walnuts hiding in anything. I guess I figured that nuts would either be really obvious, like in the pecan pies, or that there would be a sign, like at other church potlucks where people have brought dishes with nuts. To be honest, I just really didn't think about allergens at all, which was a huge mistake. Since Caleb outgrew his milk allergy last year, I've gotten careless because nuts are in general so much easier to avoid, and have so much more publicity than milk allergies. But clearly I still need to be really conscious, so today I am really, really thankful for ER doctors.


Anonymous said...

People who have never witnessed one of these allergic attacks have no idea how dangerous the situation is. We have experienced too many close calls with Melinda that we really do sympathize with you all, and especially Caleb. It really takes the joy out of eating for those with food allergies. Because I realize the seriousness and possible consequences of one of these attacks, I am glad that Caleb got the immediate, necessary attention.

Melinda's Mom

Anonymous said...

Claire- How crazy for Caleb. Boy, I totally understand how he feels. I only eat what I bring and I will eat fruit, veggies, and cheese. I think that is a "normal behavior" for Caleb.

FourBoyMom said...

Hi, randomly ran across your blog tonight and looking forward to reading more - seems we have lots in common including Christian, severe milk allergies, classical conversations (i'm interested in doing), etc. You need to add a "contact me" button!