Monday, April 26, 2010

Fine Arts Week

While the topic of food allergies has become a major area interest for me in recent years, so has the fine art of writing - children’s literature and otherwise. This is why I am so thankful to Ms. Finnegan for recently inviting me to participate in a writer’s panel discussion during Fine Arts Week at Middleton High School.

Joined by three other newspaper columnists and sports writers, it was really kinda cool to see that whatever the genre, our advice to the students was essentially the same: write what you love, work hard, and revise, revise, revise!

Many thanks to the teachers, students and panelists for their interest and enthusiasm!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Emergency Action Plans

It’s that time of year again when my 1st grader starts coming home and telling us about the fire drills (and sometimes tornado drills) they often conduct at her elementary school. Many businesses also take time out to do crisis management drills and run mock emergency action plans every now and then. Which is why a few years ago, I came up with idea for our family to start doing our own surprise Epi-Pen drills, just to help keep us on our toes.

My daughter Mollie gets to be in charge of deciding when she tests us by acting out the symptom(s) of her choice and seeing how we respond. This typically involves her shouting, "uh oh, I think I ate a peanut!" which is enough to send us into action. We check on her and ask a series of questions, such as "Do you have hives? Are you breathing ok? Are you throwing up? Are you experiencing swelling or shortness of breath?" etc. She gets to decide the answers and we respond accordingly. It's a great way to ensure our Epi Pens and phones (for calling 911) are always charged and where they should be. It's also a great way to run through the procedure for giving her a shot if needed, which we always use our Epi-Pen trainer for.

If you haven't done this before, I highly recommend giving it a try, and extending it beyond family to other caregivers, babysitter, parents, etc. I guarantee, someone will walk away learning something new. Most recently, my friend (who often hosts Mollie on play dates in her home) was surprised to find you can administer the shot directly through clothing. These little details, along with developing a physical memory of what to do in a crisis situation, help empower and prepare everyone involved!