how would you react?

Now that summer in our house has officially come to a close there are quite a few memories that will last a lifetime. My Cecelia breaking her first bone, winding up at the ER not once but twice in only five weeks, and our visits down to the in-laws. One particular time has stuck in my mind since it happened and I even had a nightmare about it recently. 

We were enjoying a perfect day of swimming, barbecuing, and ice cream with friends and family. We were waiting in line behind a family and this conversation took place-

Man: Does this flavor have nuts in it?

Ice Cream Server: Is there an allergy?

M: Yes.

ICS: Well we only have the one carton so we can’t safely say there isn’t cross contamination but there is no nuts in that particular flavor.

M: Oh that’s fine.



I ordered for my Cecelia, stated her allergies, and found a place to sit in the shade while my husband watched as the Ice Cream Server removed the top carton from the freezer while getting a clean scoop and opened the fresh carton underneath. She scooped it into a dish and immediately handed it to my husband so no cross contamination was possible. She then scooped the other flavors we requested.

While enjoying our ice cream the man with the allergies started clearing his throat and scratching his arm. He had gotten through no more than half of his ice cream. He asks someone with him if they had Benadryl. My ears perked up. He went to his car continuing to clear his throat and scratch his arm. They found children’s Benadryl and started reading the label for dosage. He took some and then says he was feeling a bit warm and turns his car on to blast the AC. Another family member said they could drive him to their house right around the corner. He declines and says he’ll drive and meet everyone there once they finish their ice creams.

As I tried not to let my anxiety show while watching this whole situation unfold I watched my daughter happily eating her safe chocolate ice cream with her epi-pen and all her allergy medication in her backpack at her feet. Yet right behind us was another person with food allergies that seemed to be severe and very nonchalant about it. He had nothing with him and downplayed his allergies to everyone. He was showing at least three systems reacting to the ice cream. 


If my Cecelia had shown a reaction involving just two systems we would have immediately epi-ed her and called 911. This is in our action plan. I have never been more scared for a complete stranger in my life yet I was helpless due to the fact that this was a grown man. He drove away by himself before I had a chance to offer any help. This all happened in the matter of minutes.

What would you have done in this very situation? Would you have stepped in? Offered your child’s medications? Called 911?

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