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An Open Letter to the Big Guys

Earlier this week, our son had an allergic reaction. To what, you ask? We have no idea. We have picked our brains, interrogated family, and gone to the ends of the earth to find an answer. Yet, we still have no idea what caused it. I’ve come to realize that allergies are confusing and a bit of a black art. Many times, there are no straight answers and a lot of grey areas, which my analytical brain has a hard time grasping. But that’s not the point of this letter.

What I have learned this week (other than driving the point home that there are some things I’m just never going to understand) is how kind and caring people can be. Not just doctors and family, but big companies with much more to worry about than little ol’ us.

(Photo, below: Our big guy on a happier day.)

Our son’s lead allergist is calling what started on Monday an “extremely severe” allergic reaction to a mystery allergen. We were fortunate that he didn’t fully ingest it (just put his mouth on a contaminated piece of furniture) and his adrenaline kicked in so he didn’t progress to full-blown anaphylaxis. However, it was bad enough that he experienced his first biphasic reaction (terrifying), is now on a week of steroids and our next round of testing at Dallas Children’s has been postponed. Since Monday, I’ve spent no less than six hours on the phone (as well as in the Dr’s office) consulting with allergists in two states, two nurses, and a nutritionist. More surprising, though, is the rapid response from the companies that manufactured/sold the suspected food; all of the companies involved sent me directly up the chain, really cared about little man and sought to understand what happened. In less than 10 minutes, I had a call from the President of Barry’s Bakery, who took all the time in the world, explained their manufacturing process, wracked his brain over any other potential allergens and left me his personal cell phone number. I felt reassured with our conversation and now believe in him so much that I would feed my child food from their 100% dairy and nut free facility comfortably in the future. In researching the other suspect food, a can of breath mints from Dillard’s, it took less than 3 minutes to be moved up the chain from customer service to one of the head buyers in their corporate office. The kind soul not only sounded as sweet as pie, she dropped everything to find the name of the manufacturer and then reached out to the COO on my behalf and put me through to his direct line. Yet another enlightening conversation took place with the COO of AmuseMints , who shared with me his own infant twins’ struggles with a dairy allergy. (Can you imagine how hard it’d be to manage food allergies in twins???)

We still have no idea what caused his reaction this week, but I’m confident it was neither of the items we initially suspected. I also have a lot more faith in humanity and have become a raving fan of Barry’s Bakery French Twists, Dillard’s and Amusemints and will give them my business any chance I get.

THANK YOU to those companies and all the others that care about the littlest of little people. Your rapid response to a frantic mommy has made a world of difference not only for my son, but in my heart. 🙂

– Holly Gardner

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