Please take allergies seriously

  • Apr. 9, 2008 9:00 a.m.

Submitted by Karen Fladmark¬How does one begin an article, what does one say, when a flow of emotions get in the way?If you’ve been watching Global TV or BCTV, they have had a series on allergies. Stating allergies are on the rise and how severe they are. The smallest amount of material that gets transferred from one person to another from under a finger nail, smear on a ball, or a simple wipe of a mouth on the back of ones hand, is all it takes. Please do not stop reading here; we have a very important message. For all of you that do not know what I am talking about – here is our story. Our son has a severe allergy to peanuts and some tree nuts. Soccer Saturday has begun on Haida Gwaii /Queen Charlotte Islands. Damon had packed all his soccer gear and his medication (epi pen – epinephrine) and had stayed at a family friend’s house the night before. He went over earlier to Sandspit to watch his friends play soccer. After the game, they all had gone for a bite to eat. Our friends diligently spoke to restaurant owner about Damon’s allergy and she promptly washed down her counters and utensils that she as going to use to make Damon’s sandwich. With the epi pen close at hand, they kept a watchful eye on Damon as he ate – success, no reaction.They all came back to the field and Damon found me as his game was starting at 12:15. His friend Davin wanted to stay and watch the game. He let his parents know and they left to catch the ferry. At 12:30 the ball was dropped and the game began. I was chatting with the other moms about the work gone into organizing and what we still had to do for the Tlell play days. It was 12:50, and one or more of the players yelled that someone was hurt. I remember so clearly, my son running towards me trying to say that he could not breathe. The fear in his eyes will always be burned into my heart.All that I knew was that I had to get to my son and to get his needle. I ran towards him and grabbed his hand and ran towards his back pack. I reached into his bag and pulled out his epi pen, unscrewed the top and popped off the light grey cap, and said, “Ready!” I jabbed the needle into his butt and held it for 15 seconds. As I pulled it out, I had to check to see if the needle had come out, as Damon’s breathing was still rapid and hoarse.I held him close reassuring him that he was going to be okay. Rubbing is back – waiting, which seemed like an eternity, for his breathing to slow down and return to normal. As it slowed down, between sobs, I ripped off his jersey and knew that I had to wash him down. I steadied him as we walked, everything seemed to be a blur and a buzz of noise all around us. We made it to the bathroom and washed his face, arms and hands with soap and water. Then I froze, I didn’t know what to do next – Heather came to my aid – stated that we needed to get Damon to lie down. My car was just outside of the doors. Audrey asked if we needed an ambulance, and Mike the paramedic confirmed that they were on the way. Only 7 minutes had passed since I had administered the needle – seemed like a lifetime, waiting to see if I had to jab my son again. Peggy was also there watching over Damon. Ruby called my parents and brought my car home. Damon’s friends collected his belongings from the side lines.The ambulance arrived and we were on our way back to ferries and to the hospital. All of Damon’s vitals were good – plus a little slow. We got to the hospital and my parents were there – anxiously waiting, not knowing how he was. They monitored Damon for awhile and Dr. Morton and a medical student (sorry, do not remember your name) confirmed that it was an allergic reaction. How he came in contact with nuts, we still do not know. Hyland, thank you for getting a hold of Mike.We thank everyone, family and friends that were there for support, a lending hand, and/or for knowing just to step back.One of the greatest things of living in a small community – sense of family – as the saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child”. Thank you for all your calls and pats on the back.Damon is doing well. With a new realization of how serious his allergy is. If there are nut free areas (or other allergens) or a whole school – we plead with you, please follow these rules as it does mean our son’s life, as well as others. We realize it is time consuming reading ingredient lists, again we plead with you as it means our son’s life, as well as others. It is not something to we take lightly and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for complying.

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