Saturday, November 15, 2008

Oh No!!! He Has Asthma Too!!! Links to Get Started With

As I was bribing my sweet little boy to use his nebulizer this morning by allowing him to play the PlayStation (which I HATE) while he sat there, and was thinking back to what it was like when we discovered Conor also had asthma.  It wasn't as overwhelming as the food allergy discovery, and I knew it was a possibility since he is as atopic as they come, but it was still scary, confusing and a new world of medicines, instructions and funny devices.

So, I went back, and tried to find what sites I had saved on my computer, that I looked at to try and help calm me down.  Below is some of the ones I located on what was left of my bookmarks bar since the old computer died.  Hopefully you don't need them now, and won't need them in the future, but just in case......

This is the Allergy and Asthma Network's Mother's of Asthmatics website.  This is a great website filled with tons and tons of information.  There is so much information that I have come nowhere near looking through all of it, but it is a great resource to start searching for what ails you.  (or your child)

(click on Tips Brochures to read them first)
This is the really really great American Academy of Allergies, Asthma and Immunology, and there is so much good stuff on here not only for food allergies, but for asthma.  There are great general overviews on what asthma is, what the medications are, and how to use them.

This is the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America's website, and is also filled with great info on everything generally dealing with asthma. Check out the asthma overview.
Also look at the glossary of asthma terms here.

This is a great overview of what asthma is, and how it effects the lungs and breathing.  There is a ton of great general information here and a great place to start reading.

This is a great checklist from the Jewish National site about early warning signs of an asthma attack.

This explains how to create as asthma action plan with your doctor, so you have a clear picture of what you need to do and when.  It also gives you helpful tips about what to ask your doctor in developing your plan.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Why Super Epi Pen is my Super Hero

I am sure you have all been wondering recently what my obsession is with super heros, and why I feel the need to dress up all sorts of things around me as super heros.  My husband saw me dressing up the epi pen as Super Epi Pen, and thought all the recent stress had gotten to me, and I had finally, officially lost my mind.  But no, there is some sort of bizarre logic behind all I do, even if it only makes sense to me.

True, I dressed up Buster the Pug long ago, but the new desire to dress up epi pens as super heros is a new phenomena for me.  I think it really started when Conor recently discovered that the epi pen is actually a shot he would have to receive if he got sick from eating a peanut, or getting too close to a cat.  His new modus operendi is to run screaming in the other direction if anyone even mentions a shot.  (this was loads of fun when he was getting his flu shot).  He did not want to see the epi pen, was upset if he saw me take the epi pen out with us, and said he would never, ever, ever let it be used on him.

To try and explain why the epi pen was really a good thing, I started trying to describe it to him in terms he would understand.  Conor loves Superman and super heros in general (the fruit does not fall far from the tree).  I explained to him that the epi pen was kind of like a Superman, who would fly in to save him in an emergency.  It was not a bad guy who was there to hurt him, but a good guy who was there to save the day.  Conor really liked this idea, and asked what Super Epi Pen would look like.........

Taking inspiration from one of the greatest artists of the 21st Century, Terry over at Bent Objects, and helping Natalie pry those annoying Barbie clothes on and off of dolls countless times, it occurred to me that I could make a Super Epi Pen that Conor could actually see in person.  Then when the computer died, I got a new version of Photoshop Elements on the new computer that I have been trying to figure out, and lo and behold Super Epi Pen was created.

I made an initial prototype with a trainer epi pen, and everyone (children that is - the adults still think I have lost it) in the house thought it was just the best thing ever.  They liked to try and make it fly, and practice how to use it to save the day if someone was suffering from anaphylaxis.  I played with photoshop for a bit, and everyone loved watching Super Epi Pen pose for the camera and fly through the air.  Everyone started making up stories of what Super Epi Pen could do, and all the different ways he would save the day.  He would fight dangerous allergies, he could fly anywhere all over the world to help anyone in need, and he could save lives.  Our new super hero was born.

The best part of it all though was that when Conor saw Super Epi Pen he said he would be OK getting the shot from the epi pen if the shot came from Super Epi Pen.  He said he wanted Super Epi Pen to come with us everywhere we went, and felt safer knowing our super hero was with us.  To me the epi pen is my super hero, because it can help to save Conor if he suffers from anaphalyxis.  Super Epi Pen is also a hero to not only Conor, but to me, because it helps a little boy who has been stuck with too many needles, and lives with too many restrictions to understand things he should never have to understand.  

Sunday, November 9, 2008

More Great School Resources

So School is going in full session, and I hope everyone is doing well with their school environments.  I had previously posted about resources for 504 plans here.  In that post I told everyone about the truly awesome Food Allergy Support Message boards, and their amazing resources for dealing with schools and 504  plans.

Since writing my previous post, it appears that these totally awesome people over at the Food Allergy Support Message boards have added even more great information to their School resources section.  The main page for resources is here.

Here are some of my recommendations to check out.

Dept. of Education, Office Civil Rights: State-by-state contact info
This is an absolutely wonderful resource.  As the school year goes on, and you discover that your lovely school is not doing quite what they promised, here is how to go about contacting your local Office of Civil Rights to get their input on the situation.

Recent 504 impartial hearing ruling
This is the results of an impartial 504 hearing as to whether a Student  was entitled to protection of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in a Connecticut School District.  In the end it was decided that a student who had a know allergy to tree nuts, peanuts, enviormental allergies and asthma was sufficiently impaired that this impairment did rise to the level that substantially impacts his major life abilities.
The above link has the entire decision, and it really is a must read for anyone embarking on a 504. 

USDA FNS Civil Rights Organization (CRO): state by state contact information
The USDA Food and Nutrition Services administers the National School Lunch Program--a federally funded program. The have their own civil rights offices as well and those cool people over at the Food Allergy Support Message Boards have put it all out on the link above. 

Links to School Districts' Food Allergy Policies
This link contains food allergy guidelines and policies already set up in schools throughout the country.  It is a great resource, but made me very mad to discover how few policies (none) our school district has.  This is a great resource to show your own school district though.

2008 ADA Amendment Now Law
This link has the 2008 ADA Amendment act and the changes that have been put in place that are beneficial for those with life threatening food allergies.  The primary changes have to do with the definition of disability, under the ADA, and the entire changes are printed at the link above.

Thanks again to all you really great people over at the Food Allergy Support Boards.  In addition to having a great section on Schools, they have tons of other really useful message boards covering almost everything you can think of related to food allergies.