For some, the most ordinary things are deadly.
As I write this, a preteen girl from our community is on life support, all because she ate a brownie at a celebration that should have been the happiest moment in a couple's life.
Not just any brownie.
It was made with....peanut butter.
The girl had a peanut allergy. She had an epi-pen, I'm told, but she couldn't get to it in time.
"school safe snacks". We turned to each other.
There are so many children with allergies. Nut allergies and peanut allergies can kill. They are not jokes.
Our son is grown, and, thankfully, he has no food allergies. But I know people who do. I even know people who developed them as adults. Their first inkling was eating out (usually in a restaurant) and having to be rushed to the ER because their throats had closed up and they couldn't breathe. It seems the most common of those older-adult allergies (at least, for people I know) involve seafood of some sort.
Meanwhile, in my youth, so many of us enjoyed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They were a staple in my youthful diet. We are all wondering: what happened? Why these food allergies? What is causing them?
What I read online is disturbing. One of every 13 children have a food allergy, according to NPR (National Public Radio). The most common: nuts, soy, milk, wheat, egg, shellfish. Some 30% of individuals with one allergy have more than one. Doctors are working on treatments to try to desensitize individuals. But why do they happen in the first place?
I can still enjoy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. For now I do not have any food allergies that I am aware of.
But tonight (I am writing this Tuesday night), all I can think of is a family who must make the ultimate decision on behalf of their little girl.
It's a decision none of us should ever have to face.