A School Nurse's Nightmare

There are many, but one of them is a teacher walking into your office waving an Epipen that she found in the hands of her kindergarten student who told her to "just give him the shot in the leg if he eats peanuts."  
There are a few problems with this. One is that when I first saw "peanut allergy/epipen" on this student's emergency card, I called home to ask the parents to bring an Epipen to the school office. No response. I sent home an "allergy action plan" with Peanut Boy so that his parents would be reminded to fill out the medication form and bring in the medication. No response. I had the teacher talk to the parents when she saw them and remind them, which she did, twice. (And I just found out she's a former nurse - I trust her on this.) I mailed home another copy of the action plan along with more medication forms and a note asking them to please bring them in. No response. Finally they sent the Epipen with their five year old child to kindergarten class. No paperwork, and Peanut Boy is apparently running around in class telling the other kids to "just give a shot in the leg" if he has peanuts.
This brings me to the second problem. Clearly, the parents have done zero to make sure Peanut Boy understands the consequences of his allergy and his words practically suggest he can have peanuts as long as he has a dose of the Epipen (kind of like diabetics who think they can have as much sugar as they want and they'll just correct it with more insulin). It's enough to make the poor teacher and myself a little ill at the carelessness of this family.
I met Peanut Boy's dad outside when he picked his son up from school and returned the Epipen to him along with yet another pleading to please bring in the correct paperwork, as well as to do some educatin' to his child. We were speaking the same language, but I have a feeling he didn't hear a word I said.


  1. What is wrong with these people?
    And why did the teacher leave nursing?

  2. I work at a public library (while going to school for nursing) and part of my job is doing crafts with kids. I usually provide snacks for them, and last week I had an assortment of cookies.

    One kid who has come to my programs for over a year came in and devoured a cookie, and then held a granola bar asking if he could have it. I said of course he could and he said, 'Really?!' I asked why he thought he couldn't, and he said he's allergic to peanuts!

    I immediately started panicking inside and quickly looked at the ingredients to the sugar cooking, knowing very well it probably contained trace amounts of peanuts because it was made in a grocery store bakery. (I'm also gluten free so I religiously am reading labels and notice a LOT of things have peanuts...)

    I asked him if he had an epipen, and he asked what it was. WHAT?! So I asked if he can have a little bit of peanuts or if he gets really sick, and he said, 'Hmm. I don't know. I just really can't have peanuts, like that what my mom says,' as he's bouncing off the walls.

    I asked him to come with me to the front desk so we could call his mom and I could figure out the situation, and she didn't even know! I asked her if he might need an epipen, and how bad his allergy was and she said she wasn't sure and that she would need to ask his doctor. And then asked if I could keep an eye on him because she wouldn't be able to pick him up for a couple hours.

    I almost LOST it! How can she send her kid, who is EIGHT, out into the world without preparing him with the knowledge that might save his own life! So I hungout with him for a while to make sure he wasn't going to die on me, totally panicking inside the whole time.

    Whew. Well thanks for letting me vent. I tried talking to people at work about it and nobody understood where I was coming from or why I was so scared for the boy!

  3. It's these kinds of incidents that make me think licenses should be required for parenting.

  4. @ rnraquel: One, the lights are on but no one's home is a pretty accurate description of this family. Two, I'm not sure - if I can ever pin that teacher down for more than a couple minutes I will be asking what led her to go from pediatric nursing with the US Air Force to teaching kindergarten.