Southern Nights

This past March break we went on our first family holiday outside of Canada since 2012.  We stayed in a condo with a kitchen on the island of Key Biscayne, a 20 minute drive from Miami.  I wrote part of this while we were away…

Southern nights
Have you ever felt a southern night?
Free as a breeze
Not to mention the trees
Whistling tunes that you know and love so

Sitting on the balcony watching the sunset I hear Jaya’s carefree voice singing “Southern Nights” and I can almost forget all the preparation it took to get us here.

Managing Jaya’s food allergies to milk, egg, peanuts & tree nuts requires constant vigilance and careful planning ahead of every single event. Travelling out of country requires even more preparation.  We must have safe foods for the flight, pre-board to wipe down the seats and tray tables, cover her seat with a seat cover, all the while praying she doesn’t have a reaction, and hoping the crew will be kind and helpful in case of one.

An uneventful flight is the best kind of flight but the flight is just one of the many things we must consider.  In order to lower the risk of reaction at our destination we have to ensure each meal is safe. We must stay in a place not far from the hospital, with a kitchen, near grocery stores for fresh foods & still pack safe dry goods which may not be available at our destination & we also take our own cooking utensils, pots etc..

Because of the mammoth amount of preparation required & a previous bad experience I’ve avoided air travel with my kids for many years.  The last time we traveled via air was in 2012 to Bahamas & on the flight home Jaya had a reaction (hives & wheezing) when hot pizzas were served to the row behind us. Thankfully the reaction subsided after giving her an antihistamine & taking her to the front of the plane.  We returned to our seats once the pizza was consumed. 

But that intense fear I felt – not knowing if the reaction would progress, if I’d have to administer the epi-pen and need access to medical care in the skies – still lingers.  

Thankfully the flight to get us to Miami was mostly uneventful.  About 5 minutes after we were settled in our seats I noticed Jaya had two hives on her right cheek and she sounded congested.  She had eaten a snack we brought from home at the gate so I didn’t think she ingested an allergen.  We wiped down the seat she sat on at the gate but could she have come in to contact with an allergen? I didn’t know.  I gave her a dose of antihistamine and monitored her.  After about 20 minutes the congestion subsided and about 10 minutes after that the hives faded. She slept for the remainder of the flight.

We went grocery shopping on the day we arrived and cooked all our meals in the condo kitchen. We shopped at Winn-Dixie and on the second day drove to Miami to visit Whole Foods.  The fruit tasted juicier and fresher than we’d ever had so it was easy to get Jaya to eat fruit she normally wouldn’t – like plums.

Thankfully Jaya was reaction free during our trip and on the flight home.  We hope to travel out of country again some time soon.




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