Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Eating Out

Up until our recent vacation, I was pretty easy going about eating out. I would look at the menu and find something that looked safe for the boys, such as a hamburger, and would ask them to make sure that they didn't put ANYTHING on the bun ... no butter, etc. I didn't necessarily get into all the details of all the foods they were allergic to.

But while on vacation, we stopped for lunch in Sausalito and looked at the kid's menu, which consisted of:
  • Fish and Chips (nope, probable egg or cheese in the batter)
  • Chicken fingers (nope, same reason as above)
  • Pizza (umm, obvious NO)
  • Spaghetti and marinara (okay, finally something they can eat)

We ordered the spaghetti for both of them. And MY FAULT, I didn't quiz the waiter about what they put in it. In my mind, you would only put noodles and tomato sauce in this dish. Plus at the same time, my husband is complaining that the beautiful outdoor seating overlooking the bay was too hot ... and then Big Guy was squinting and complaining, so I had to ask to be moved inside. Needless to say, I was occupied with lots of things at the time.

Okay, here comes the food. Little Guy takes one tiny bite, about 2 inches of noodles and sauce and within 3 minutes starts telling me his tongue hurts. SHIT!!!!! I quickly down my glass of wine and fish tacos. I don't give him anymore to eat and we wait. I ask the waiter if they put cheese in the kid's spaghetti, he insists that they don't ... just noodles, tomatoes and herbs.

A couple minutes later, Little Guy tells me he has to throw up. I scoop him up with the napkin and race off through the crowded restaurant to the Ladies room. We stand in front of the toilet ... nothing. "Do you need to throw up? Because this is the place to do it. I'll give you some medicine when we get back to our table." He tells me he wants the medicine and isn't going to be sick. Okay, I hope so.

Back to the table. On the way back, the nice hostess asks if everything is all right. I tell her he has a food allergy and I think the marinara might have made him sick. Another waiter is standing and also insists there is no cheese in that dish.

Little Guy sits nicely at the table and takes the benadryl. My husband says he'll take him out of the restaurant, just in case. I wait and wait and wait with Big Guy for the waiter and the bill. FINALLY, I get it and we leave.

Outside, there stands my husband in a wettish shirt, "he threw up on the way out of the restaurant. All over me and him, the wall and a lady walking in." Oh no! But it is, in a perverse way, funny too. I have the mental image of my husband holding his fingers over Little Guy's mouth (as he described later to me) and the puke spewing out. Luckily (1) my husband has a similar sense of humor to mine, (2) I know the boys' allergies aren't so severe that there could be breathing issues.

Then we look at Little Guy's legs and see some hives too. He definitely had an allergic reaction to the noodles. We give him some more benadryl and drive away.

To defend the restaurant, I didn't explain what Little Guy's allergies are (but I am not totally thrilled with the waiters' snooty attitude). I realized I need to be the person who starts out the conversation "my son has a lot of food allergies ... can you help me find something he can eat?"

We did that that same night at a restaurant in San Francisco and they were VERY helpful. There was nothing on their kids' menu that Little Guy could eat, so they grilled a piece of chicken for him and gave him some french fries and steamed veggies.

I guess I haven't been that particular and stringent about it in the past because I've been lucky and his reactions aren't life threatening, but I hate to see poor Little Guy feel bad, so I need to be better about it. And reading posts like this help me to know that I'm not alone out there.


Angel said...

Of course you know more about your children's medical history than I do....but vomiting is a sign of early anaphylaxis (the body is trying to get rid of the "toxins"). It's not just breathing problems.

When my son had a severe reaction to peanut butter, he got the swelling and welts on his face, and threw up. He got his epipens the next day the pediatrician's office was open. He's been seeing an allergist for 2 1/2 years now.

Maybe give his allergist and let him know?

How very scary for you!

ChupieandJ'smama said...

I'm glad nothing worse happened!! I know how scary it can be. Sometimes no matter how prepared we are, or how many precautions we take, there is just that one time we slip up. It happens. Glad he's ok!!

AB's Mom said...

My DD has a severe allergy to peanuts. She's never had a reaction in 4 years, thank God! I am particularly worried about him vomiting when he gets a reaction. It sounds like your son was having early signs of anaphylaxis. Please consult an allergist and ask if you can get a prescription for epipen. Once you have it, don't let your child go anywhere without it. Good luck!