Kindergarten + food allergies = holy smokes am I tired.
On a cheerful note, five years of freaking out about allergies actually made this one of our easiest back-to-school seasons yet because we sort of know the drill by now. Before Eva goes to school we need to have meetings with her teachers, a doctor’s appointment to go over her heath plan and check her meds, and we need to stock both Eva and her classroom with whatever she’ll need to stay safe.
Not too hard to do but a little exhausting, especially when you have another starting preschool for the first time and a third in your tummy dropping your sugar levels and kicking your kidneys.
Eva’s doctor’s appointment to do her skin test went really well. We’ve switched to a new allergist, making this our third since her diagnosis, because we’d heard great things about a new-ish clinic and it was more convenient all around. I feel like it will be a good switch because we liked her doctor and we covered a lot of things in the appointment that we hadn’t ever talked about before. Not all of it was positive (did you know people don’t really have a chance of growing out of shellfish allergies?) but at least a couple of her more minor allergies seem to be getting a little better so it wasn’t all bad news.
She’s still at the ceiling limits for nut allergies and we’ve now hit the point where she would have gotten a little better if she was going to grow out of them so we’re hanging our hats on someone finding a cure or a treatment or a something to make things a little easier. Sadly, the whole allergy community took a kick to the shins recently when the prices for Epi pens skyrocketed. It’s not an optional thing to have up-to-date pens so I guess we’re all just going to have to hope someone notices how badly we’re being skewered. Did you know we spent more on Eva meds last year than we spent on a week at Disney World? At least we had it, though, and didn’t have to pick between meds or groceries…
As for school, we had a bit of a panic attack when we found out that Eva’s teacher quit over the summer but we’ve been in contact with the new teacher and had a good meeting covering all of her needs. I always feel like I’m dropping an overwhelming bomb when I show up with Eva’s meds and papers but she handled it well and we have our fingers crossed tight for an uneventful year.
Finally, Eva has been getting used to wearing her Epi pack since she’s doing a not-so-traditional school program where she won’t just be in one classroom all day. Instead of moving the meds around, we’re going to keep a pack of Epi pens in the front office and Eva will wear a pack on her belt so she has them with her always. It’s a bit of a pain because the Epi pack is not small and Eva is small so she’s basically wearing a big brick to school but in theory it will be less noticeable once the weather gets colder and clothes get bulkier.
I admit that my new worry is that the Epi pack and her silver med bracelet are going to make her stand out as some kind of target among her new classmates but I’m really hoping the kids are too little for those kind of differences to matter. Kindergarten kids are pretty flexible about that kind of stuff, right? I guess worse case scenario she’ll just be that different kid that turns into a teachable moment about accepting people but I kind of hope that nobody notices or they think she’s just accessorized.
We opted out of doing a lunch program this year but I’d love to hear how you’re preparing to send your allergy kid to school, esp if they’ll be eating! Separate lunch tables? Labeled lunch box? No accommodations beyond meds? I’m really curious in case we decide we want to switch it up…