Food Allergies are Forreal

Like that title? I speak the truth. I told you awhile ago that I’d write the story about how I nearly killed my little brother right before Christmas. Well, here it goes:

We have always known he was allergic to peanuts – since he was a wee bitty kid. Brendan  (now 17-years-old) carries around what we call, an “allergy bag.” In it is his Epi Pen, Benadryl and an inhaler (and I think a medical I.D.). The allergy bag doesn’t leave his sight. He takes it to school, hockey practice, on dates, trips to the store, etc.

He carries it everywhere, because he has no idea when he’s going to encounter peanuts. In grade school, he even sat at a special table because classmates brought in foods with peanuts. Have you guys ever watched Freaks and Geeks? In this episode, the “mean kids” put peanuts in Bill’s sandwich because they thought he was faking his allergy. Well, this is Brendan’s biggest fear. And it proves how potent food allergies really are:

Pretty scary stuff, huh? Until I went to college, I didn’t remember what peanuts tasted like. Ever since we discovered he was allergic, we avoided peanuts at all costs. We didn’t even indulge when we were away from him – because if we got it on our hands, coats or purses and brought it home, it could be dangerous for him.

So we all know how dangerous peanuts are, but we weren’t sure about all the other nuts. He loves pistachios and has eaten almonds before – but he was on the fence about pecans. I spent a few hours at my grandma’s house the Wednesday before Christmas baking cookies. Almost every cookie we made had pecans. Both my parents worked and Brendan had finals, so I wanted to bring home a plate of cookies for them to try. A few cookies were pecan-free, so we assumed Brendan would just try those.

Little did I know...

We were standing in the living room and Brendan said, “I want to try pecans – I really don’t think I’m allergic.” My mom and I agreed, so I gave him the Butterball cookie (basically dough + pecans). Almost immediately, he complained that he had trouble swallowing.

We went into panic-mode.

He took two Benadryl and my mom called the doctor’s exchange number. The nurse told my mom to have Brendan give himself the Epi Pen.

He had never had to use his Epi Pen before. 

Mom hung up with the nurse and called 911. 911 was on their way, and Brendan was having trouble stabbing himself (wouldn’t you?!). We all went around saying we would do it, but realized Brendan needed to learn to do it himself because he’s going away to college next year.

1. 2. 3. Stab. 

He said it didn’t even hurt (whaaaaa?! I’d be crying).

So we waited for EMS to arrive. They came and said he was doing fine, but suggested we go to the ER because it’s common to have a second reaction.

Off we went to the hospital and we spent the next few hours with the doctor monitoring him. He still had trouble swallowing, so the doctor gave him a steroid to help. Finally, he was fine.

Our family is officially a “no nut family.”


Whew. Worst sister of the year award? I humbly accept.

I’m so thankful he reacted so quickly before things got really bad. He ended up being just fine. 🙂

And that’s the story!


So enough with the depressing stuff, I’m off to make a killer shrimp scampi dinner, take Gracie for a walk and watch UC’s basketball game with Kev. 🙂 🙂

Other news

A few people have asked about posting my dad’s chicken wing recipe, cookie recipes and training Gracie, so I promise I’ll have plenty of recipes and other topics coming soon!

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4 thoughts on “Food Allergies are Forreal

  1. You’re a fun story teller, Gabby! Lots of emotion and literal thoughts lol. Anywho, to comment on the incident: You are not world’s worst sister. Maybe if you had simply forgotten and made a PB and J sandwhich after coming home from Valpo one day. I’ll give that to you lol. But not like this. He didn’t think he was allergic and he asked for the cookie. Not saying it was his fault by any means, but I would bank on the fact that the person who is allergic might know best. Honest mistake and now you all know for the future! He was with family when it happened, so it probably was a wonderful time to find out. Can you imagine if he was by himself at a food shop in college and found out the hard way? I see that as a sister SAVED her brother award. P.S. kudos to him having the guts to stab himself. I would be freaking out. Definately a trooper.

    As for the video clip… the peanut prank dude looks like Stevo from Jackass lol. And the one little friend who dresses up as Luke Skywalker at the end looks just like one of those bullies from Christmas Story. Too bad the kid would not have stayed that young all these years lol. Annndddd finally, I got an odd satisfaction from the fact that the kids were talking about how to optimistically ask the mother if he died. In my profession they force feed that kind of stuff. I dig it.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Liz! First of all, thanks for the compliment and making me feel better! 🙂 I know it wasn’t all my fault, but I felt so awful. Poor kid!

      And secondly, he does look like Stevo from Jackass! Glad you enjoyed the clip! Thanks for commenting!

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