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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Real World Test (December 2008)

I just got back from the Colts game vs. Cincinatti. It was just Ben and me, and we lucked out with fourth (yes, fourth!) row tickets. We had an amazing time.

Preparing for the game, I made Ben a wheat-free soft pretzel -- similar to those sold at the stadium. We also picked up some "safe" candy. When there, we stood in line for the prerequisite $4 (yes, four dollar!) soft drink. I had our Epipen safely packed in my bag and we settled in to the first quarter.

It was an amazing experience seeing the action that close AND being one-on-one with my first born where he doesn't feel like he has to compete for attention with his silbings. It was a real jor.

But during the second quarter, the dopes behind us became increasingly drunk. I winced as four-letter (yes, four letter!) expletives flew. I encouraged Ben to just focus on the game, and I tried to do the same.

Then I put my arm around Ben and I realized that his chair was covered in peanut shells! ARGHHHH!

I quickly and surreptiously swept the shells onto the floor and then tried to casually push them on the stoop below us. The biggest loser behind us noticed my contortions, and sort of offered a half-apology. I muttered to him that my son was allergic to peanuts and would appreciate it if he could just put his shells on the floor rather than my son.

Ben didn't really notice this conversation, and while I could have made a really big deal and asked them to put the peanuts away (offering, of course, to buy them an alternative snack), I decided not to.

I wasn't chickening out (one dude did run about 6'4" and 280 lbs), but I was trying to listen to our allergist, Dr. Holbreich.

I had just been with Dr. Holbriech at the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation that mroning talking about food allergies, and he once again emphasized that the majority of peanut-allergic kids can be in close proximity to peanuts and peanut products and still be safe. Since I know that Ben can eat at a table with someone else eating peanut butter, I took a leap of faith.

And I knew I was prepared -- we had Benadryl, our Epipen and my cell phone. Ben wasn't aware of the situation -- so his anxiety wasn't kicked into overdrive...and I was managing mine.

We continued to enjoy the game.

There were great plays right in front of us. I enjoyed chatting with the Bengals wives that I was sitting next to, and Ben drank all of his $4 Sprite.

At the end of the game, Ben finally noticed the peanut shells under his seat. I told him that the people behind him had been eating peanuts the whole time and he had been fine.

It was a big moment for both of us, as we realized that sometimes we let fear of a reaction affect our enjoyment of activities -- and that hadn't happened.

With one minute left in the game -- one of the losers dumped his entire beer into my open jacket, but that was the worst thing that happened. I was going to have to wear my jacket inside out on the walk back to the car in the 4 degree (yes 4 degree!) weather.

We had completed a real world test of sitting basically in peanut shells and Ben had not reacted in the slightest way.

It was an amazing thing.

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