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Nuthin But An Aller-G Thang

I suppose I should preface this post with a brief apology for my temporary absence; my blog template never recovered after the Blogger crash, so I finally settled for migrating all of my content to a new template. Fortunately, I was able to salvage all posts and comments, so here we are with everything from before, just a slightly different look. Thanks for sticking around!

One of the things that is quickly forced down your throat as a new parent is the looming danger of allergies. The majority of these are food-focused, so there are no less than 9,385 rules about what you shouldn't feed your child before a certain age. Milk products, soy products, eggs, seafood, strawberries, nuts are all off limits, so all you new parents out there, make sure to avoid feeding your newborn any salmon omelet parfaits.

All kidding aside, we respected these warnings until Ava reached "the age", and were excited to have her try some new foods. Well, imagine our displeasure when she had a mild reaction to peanut butter. As someone who loves peanut butter so much I'd eat it out of a hobo's armpit, my initial reaction was disappointment that she may not be able to enjoy it. But then after a quick reality check, I realized that it's actually a much bigger deal than missing out on the occasional scoop of Jif. Peanut allergies can be deadly, and if severe enough, can force parents to carry around an EpiPen (basically a shot of adrenaline to deal with allergic reactions) at all times.

The monocle should have tipped us off that he was dangerous.

So it was a no-brainer to go get her tested. The brain-scratcher was her results.

The peanut allergy? It showed up as moderate. No EpiPen needed, but still no peanuts for her.

Minor surprise? She also had a mild allergy show up for egg whites. She may have inherited this problem from me; every time I eat scrambled eggs, it rains out of my butt for a good 12 hours.

The huge surprise? The peanut allergy wasn't her most severe. What was? DOGS.

This might not seem like much of an issue for the casual reader, but there's some important information to take into account here: We have two dogs. Two large dogs. Two large dogs that shed like there's no tomorrow. Two large dogs that shed like there's no tomorrow that our daughter LOVES.

My reaction to the news was nothing more than a single expletive. What can you say to that? Of course, immediate thoughts swirled through my head: What can we do to help it? Do we need to buy anything special? And of course, most importantly, do we have to get rid of the dogs?

The same concern had clearly run through my wife's head, because she asked the latter of the three and relayed the nurse's hilarious response:

"You don't have to get rid of them, but Ava needs to wash her hands every time she touches them, they shouldn't lick her and she can't bury her face in them."

OHHHH! So we don't have to get rid of them, we just have to build a clever series of tunnels throughout our apartment so Ava and the dogs can travel through it without seeing each other and being tempted to make any kind of contact. Well that makes sense! Thanks Nurse Ratched!

As someone who suffers from terrible allergies (seriously, I had so many allergens listed when I got skin tested, they might as well have just said 'THE OUTDOORS'), I was worried to say the least. I hated to get rid of the dogs. As much as they caused me grief and the occasional poop finger (damn holes in the plastic sacks), they are honorary members of the family. Plus, over the past few months, my daughter has grown to absolutely adore them. She loves to give them "loves" (aka burying her face in them...oops), and one of her favorite activities is to harass Tucker (the basset hound) until he scurries around like a puppy howling and nipping at our feet.  Hell, one of the first noises she learned was saying 'Fuf fuf' when we asked her what a puppy said. Dogs are her thing. Her steez. And she apparently has a biological aversion to them. Great.

So where does the allergy situation stand today?

The dogs are still here, and Ava hasn't had any sort of severe reaction. She takes Zyrtec every day, we bought an air purifier (my work-related knowledge of HEPA filters finally found a real world application), and we vacuum as much as possible to keep the hair out of the carpet. And believe me, there's a lot. Every time we vacuum, we probably fill the canister 3-4 times. All the black and white hair makes it look like we shaved the Bride of Frankstein's head into the trash can. Totally disgusting.

Quite frankly, the (supposedly) less severe  peanut allergy is the bigger pain in the ass. Do you have any idea how much stuff is made with, around, near or on the same conveyor belt as peanuts? I started to peel a banana the other day that had a warning about it being grown next to some peanuts. Okay, not really, but's pretty absurd. Plus, we have to deprive her of the sheer joy of a peanut butter sandwich. It breaks my heart. And I don't care what you say, almond butter and cashew butter are not acceptable substitutes.


Yeah that's what sucks about living in the third highest city for allergies. I just sneezed three times while typing this. The peanut butter travesty, my condolences.

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