Saturday, January 24, 2009

Joel Stein's OP/ED for the LA Times

So I was at a birthday party today and a friend asked me if I had read Joel's OP/ED for the LA Times, poking fun at the "hysteria" surrounding food allergies. Joel is a friend of ours and a few people, banking on the fact that I seldom have time to read newspapers, thought that maybe they should hide it from me. Knowing that Joel gets his jollies from playing Devil's Advocate, I decided to read the article with a grain of salt. If it had been anyone else, I would probably be organizing a lynch mob through the Hollywood Hills rather than typing this. But I am going to not lose my mind over this, after all. The reaction to the article has been intense, deservedly so.

It is important for me to mention that if I had not been through my particular experiences, first when I found out that I am allergic to shellfish and second, when I found out that Ella is allergic to everything else, I maybe could see his train of thought. If you have never been around a person with severe food allergies, it would be hard to have sympathy for the situation. I get it. We must all seem like needy freaks to the outside world. But believe me when I say this, I would do just about ANYTHING if it meant that I could take Ella's allergies away from her. ANYTHING. This is not the life that I would have chosen, but I really do believe that these things happen for a reason. Even if that sounds like a cliche', I truly mean it. I wish more than anything that Ella could live life like a normal kid, afraid of nothing. And I do my best to try and normalize things for her. I wish that we could throw caution to the wind. But because she is the love of my life, I need to do everything in my power to protect her. She is 3. She is not capable of doing that for herself. As I have mentioned before, we are so very thankful to all of our friends and family for having so much patience with us.

Pistachios are Ella's Achilles heel. If she touches one, her throat WILL close within 15 minutes and her breathing WILL stop. There is no disputing this fact. It is our personal HELL, I assure you. Thankfully, her allergy to peanuts is not as severe, because her chances of running into that nut are much more likely. And peanut allergies tend to be the deadliest, especially with the little ones. There are several kids at Ella's school with this particular allergy. I feel so horrible for them. From the school's standpoint it just makes sense to have a no nut policy. It is a liability issue. Yes, this is an inconvenience for other parents. But it is a bad that is vastly outweighed by the good. Kids across America are now getting to eat something other than a PB&J for lunch! There are worse things that could happen!

Now that I have ranted, I will let you read the editorial. Joel and his wife are about to have their first child and I am sure that Joel's view of the world will change very soon. Gabe and I used to sit around talking about this and that, and were very opinionated about all kinds of things regarding children. Almost everything that we swore never to do, we have done. It happens. It is part of the process of giving up yourself for that little bundle of joy. In any case, I am going to calm my heating mechanism over this but it is worth a read, if you are interested.,0,3149168.column

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