Category: Scout Camp

Letting Go

I never knew how hard it would be to let go and trust that everything will be all right. Last night I wept as I made the final preparations for my son to go to scout camp for 6 days. I prepared all his food and helped him pack all his gear. He’s such a small 11-yr old compared to the other boys his age, and I felt my heart pound with worry not knowing if he would hold up to the rigorous activities or have an anaphylactic reaction while there. Only another mother who has a child with a life threatening food allergy, who has seen an anaphylactic reaction, can fully understand how hard this is. I even called his scout leader at 9 pm just to reiterate the care needed with his milk allergy. I asked if he was familiar with an epi-pen. To my heart’s joy and delight, he said he was and has used it before. He said that he is a trained EMT and knows all the ins and outs of first aid and safety. He’ll also be camping right next to the boys and since he lives on the mountain, he’s used to wild animals roaming around. What a relief it was for me to know that my son is in good hands, and yet somehow I need to let go and trust that my son will gain the skills necessary to live on his own one day. So for now, I weep, but tomorrow I will rejoice as I watch him come of age and become a man.

As a side note, here are the menu items that I packed for the food at scout camp:

DAIRY-FREE MENU FOR USE DURING SCOUT CAMP

Breakfasts:

  • Pancakes w/syrup (2 mornings; Add eggs, soymilk, and oil to homemade pancake mix; Cook on a clean griddle; serve with orange juice, Earth Balance Margarine, and syrup; save extra batter/pancakes for future breakfast)
  • Hashbrowns and Eggs (Cook hashbrowns with oil and eggs with dairy-free margarine; salt and pepper to taste; you can serve this on multiple days if necessary)
  • Cereal and soymilk (2 mornings or as needed)

Lunches:

  • Snacks — chips, granola bars for use any time he’s still hungry or going on a hike, applesauce
  • Tuna Sandwich (2 days) with chips, applesauce, and veggie sticks
  • Hot Dog with chips, applesauce, and veggie sticks (There are extra hot dogs for dinner, if he’s still hungry, or for when his dad comes up Thursday night through Saturday morning.)
  • Chicken Nuggets with french fries and cooked peas and carrots (There are plenty of Chicken nuggets and fries. These can be served on multiple days or used when his dad comes on Thursday night through Saturday morning)
  • Hamburger with french fries, applesauce and veggie sticks or cooked peas and carrots

Dinners:

  • Chicken ‘n Broccoli (pre-made; just heat and serve)
  • Chili (from can; just heat and serve with two slices of toast buttered with Earth Balance Margarine)
  • Macaroni dinner (using red sauce; pre-made; just heat and serve) with cooked peas and carrots (season with dairy-free margarine, salt, pepper)
  • Hot Dogs w/ketchup, cooked peas and carrots (season with dairy-free margarine, salt and pepper)
  • Pizza Night (Papa John’s ordered with no cheese on top (pepperoni okay:) FRIDAY NIGHT)

Desserts (any time):

  • S’mores supplies (graham crackers, chocolate chips, marshmellows)
  • Oreos & Nutter Butters
www.milkallergycompanion.com

Scout Camp with a Milk Allergy

Sending my son off for scout camp is a pretty big step for me in terms of his allergy. To make sure that what he eats is completely dairy-free, we will be sending up his food separately. I plan on getting a copy of the scout menu and then supplying meals that are as close as possible to the real thing so that he won’t feel like he stands out too much (though sometimes he likes it:)). I have also contacted the scout master and asked him to personally oversee his food to make sure that he gets the right items as I won’t be able to be there. I know that I’ll be on pins and needles the entire week that he’s gone.

It’s amazing to me how much harder it is to do ordinary, everyday things with an allergy. Every time we are out and want to go to a restaurant, we have to stop and ask ourselves if it is worth the unknown of a milk allergy and if we can trust the chef to really be able to accomodate us. (We’ve had many instances when we’ve special ordered something dairy-free and twenty minutes later it is brought out with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top or the like.) Often, we order a burger with no bun and only ketchup on the side, just to be on the safe side. Some french fries even contain dairy, so they’re not always safe either (almost ALL of A&W’s menu has dairy in it, including the buns).

On a positive note, I am so grateful for my son’s milk allergy as it has encouraged me to eat healthier and make things from scratch a lot more often. I am less tempted to eat junk food when four out of five children can’t have it.

I hope to educate my son so that by the time he leaves home, he will have the skills necessary to survive in the world with a milk allergy.

www.milkallergycompanion.com