You see, I know what the stereotypical allergy parent is. Of course, we're all neurotic and obsessed with our kid getting a bit of an upset tummy from a tiny bit of this or that. We've probably made the whole allergy thing up, you know, for fun.
Except, we have not.
We don't consider it 'fun' that we have to pester others about not feeding them 'this or that', or anything that 'may contain', and to carry the Epipens at all times, "even if it's just to the park and they're not eating anything". It's not fun having to tell a toddler that the rest of the party can eat that cake, all except them. Planning any day out or holiday or even school or nursery is a military operation.
Not because they might get a poorly tummy, but because they could die if they ate that food.
I hate even writing that sentence because it sounds morbid and a bit sorry-for-ourselves, but the fact is, I had to accept the potential danger to my child's mortality when he was seven months old. I take every precaution possible, and I want to yawn when I hear myself talking about the allergies again, and still, there's a risk.
Carrying two Epipens does not take away the anxiety of daring to step away from your child and leave them in someone else's care, but it does mean you have a second chance if someone gets that first attempt wrong, which is easily done, or if the pen fails. I've never administered it myself, so my knowledge is only theoretical, let alone the person who might be with him if he ingested something; I'd like us all to have more than one shot (pun intended).
If we only had one pen, I'm pretty sure I couldn't set foot on a plane, or let's face it, anywhere not within very easy reach of a hospital or ambulance. I'm not certain I could send my child to nursery or school. However much you ingrain the importance of safe eating in your child,
there's the risk of cross-contamination - an unknowing adult slicing something with an allergen-infested knife, or a child having eaten the allergen and spreading it with typically sticky-toddler hands.
Nobody is asking anyone to feel sorry for us, because our children are lovely, bright, marvellous, enviable, empathetic little beings, and we protect them like superheroes.
But don't let prescriptions be reduced to one pen only when we desperately need two in order to lead a normal(ish) life with our families.
If you care, there's a petition here: https://www.change.org/p/