Posts Tagged ‘allergies’

small steps toward justice

Two years ago, I submitted a complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice.

My older son’s school had recently changed owners. I was sad to see the old owner go; she’d been so sweet to both my sons. On the other hand, she’d had to close the school baby room, which meant I’d had to move my then-infant son to a school that cost more than twice as much.

The new owners would be reopening the school’s baby room. If I could move my younger son back there, I’d pay half as much for his daycare. I was relieved by the prospect.

Unfortunately, two factors converged against his enrollment.

First, he’d recently been diagnosed with a severe egg allergy. Where he went, so went his EpiPen. Read more…


Epinephrine: Saving lives, when administered

To the Honorable Ricardo Lara:

My son’s child care center does not “accept the responsibility of Nebulizer care or the administration of Epipen or similar injections.”

It refuses responsibility based on recent changes to Title 22, Division 12. It almost certainly does so with reference to the Community Care Licensing Divisions’s July 2015 Transmittal No. 15FCCH-01 ( describing administration of EpiPen as an “Incidental Medical Service” which “a licensee may choose to provide.”

Offering child care providers the choice to administer EpiPens means, conversely, they have the choice not to administer. My son’s child care providers are exercising this freedom to enroll severely food allergic kids at their centers while also choosing to withhold life-saving epinephrine from them. By this choice, they endanger the lives of the severely allergic children in their care. They do so in contravention of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Read more…

The ADA, food allergies, and one rude-ass administrator

Yesterday I wrote about how the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) applies to people with severe food allergies.

Today I had the opportunity to speak with my son’s school’s new owner. I began by calmly introducing my concern, giving a high level overview of the ADA as it applies–per the Department of Justice–to child care centers and kids with severe food allergies.

The owner quickly jumped in and explained that, because of teacher-student ratios and “mildly ill” student provisions, he’s permitted to decide whether or not to administer certain medications. He spoke in a manner Anthony would call “shouting,” but which I’d merely describe as “heated.”

I said that was inconsistent with everything I’d read on the ADA so far, since it must be construed to protect more affected individuals than fewer. Could he please point me to the provisions overriding the ADA?

“You’re not going to scare me!” he barked.

Startled, I said, “That’s good, because scaring wasn’t my intention.”

“Beside, this–” he said, thumping the school’s handbook. “–was put together by a bunch of lawyers!”  Read more…

Allergies, child care and the ADA

My sixteen-month-old son, Littler J, is severely allergic to eggs. My husband and I keep an Epipen with us at all times, and leave its twin with Littler’s child care.

My husband and I were considering moving Littler to his older brother’s school when it opens its infant room soon. Unfortunately, a sentence in the handbook provided by the school’s new owners concerned my husband.

I hadn’t actually read the sentence when my husband revisited it last week.

“This pisses me off!” Anthony exclaimed. “Can they even do this?”

He started reading the offending sentence. “‘We do not accept responsibility-‘”

I was talking with a friend. I waved him off. “Of course they can’t accept responsibility for outcomes! That’s a standard disclaimer.”

“I don’t think that’s what it says, Deb.”

I wasn’t listening.

I finished reading the sentence this morning. I immediately understood why Anthony was enraged, and unwilling to entrust Littler’s care to the school. Read more…

To be more

I’ve spent a lot of time skirting Tearsville recently.

Tonight, having read my five-year-old son to sleep, I saw what was clutched in his fist and smiled. Item one: a chopstick. Item two: beads from Sunday’s pride parade.

Returning the chopstick to the kitchen, I smiled anew recalling two memories freshly made there. (How happy my mom would be to hear I’m making memories in the kitchen! That’s twenty steps above memory-making while pregnant and clothing shopping with my husband.)

Tonight my older son, Li’l D, asked me to show him again how to use his brother’s new EpiPen. We sat on a wooden chair in the middle of our kitchen, swapping the test pen as he tried over and over again. “He could die without it, if he eats egg?” Li’l D asked as he shoved the pen against his leg.

“Yes, which means you could save his life, if he eats egg.”

Li’l D beamed with pride at being entrusted with such a responsibility, even hypothetically.

Just a night before in almost the exact same spot, my boys sat and played together on the kitchen floor while I prepared dinner.

My toddler, Littler J, began wailing. “What happened?” I asked Li’l D, a little sharply. (Never again will I ask, “What did you do?!” or any variation thereof.)

“I just tried testing the pen on him!” cried Li’l D, revealing the extended test “needle” as he pulled Littler J to himself and comforted him.

“Oh, sweetie,” I said with a tousle of his hair. “You use the test pen on yourself. You only use the test pen on the baby if he really, really needs it because he’s having an allergic reaction. It’s very sweet of you to be concerned.”

Li’l D rocked Littler J until he stopped bawling and started babbling again.

I am overwhelmed thinking of these small, enormous moments. Happily overwhelmed.

There’s lots of big, distressing stuff on my mind these days. But when I’m in the moment, this very moment of breathing and listening and feeling and wonder, instead of versions of others moments future and past, distress lives far away.

I find I probably don’t need to think more to solve my problems.

I simply need to be here more.

To be more.

Even Amazons weep

Last week I wrote that I feel I’m living one straw away from a broken back.

My littlest one had to go home sick that day, one week after having spent two days home sick. I told his daycare I was 99% certain his spontaneous illness was food related; since he’d just eaten French toast with them, I bet it was wheat, milk or egg.

It didn’t matter. He still had to go home, and stay home the next day.

Since I recently accepted a contractor position to lessen a horrifying commute, each of those unpaid hours distressed me. With all hours put in, one-quarter of my gross income goes to my youngest son’s daycare. One-quarter goes to rent. One-quarter goes to health insurance. With the last one-quarter, I buy groceries, gasoline and pay my other bills. Read more…

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