Yesterday I was really pleased to hear that a couple of large chain restaurants have launched vegan menus. Not because I’m vegan but because vegan means no dairy, making it slighter easier to figure out if our toddler can eat something. I tweeted what turns out to be a spoof Wetherspoons account and was shocked to get a reply after saying my daughter had allergies, a recommendation for their creamy macaroni cheese topped with cheddar crust. Someone else then tweeted “I take it that’s finished with peanuts?” As this tweet followed on in a conversation where I clearly said my daughter has allergies it was obviously a joke aimed at people with allergies. To then add further insult, others have liked this tweet. I didn’t realise allergies were something to joke about? Specifically a nut allergy which can be fatal. When I called the person out they said it can be funny in a parody context and no offence meant. Well I’ve taken offence at you all laughing at my daughter, because when you laugh at allergies you are in effect laughing at her. Now I’ve tried to remove myself from the situation, to look at it as if we weren’t living with allergies everyday and I still don’t find it funny.
Let me tell you why allergies are not funny;
I don’t find it funny …. that you have to constantly plan and worry what they or you eat and even where you go.
I don’t find it funny ….that people live with a life long sometimes life threatening illness carrying around epi pens.
I don’t find it funny …. that my daughter may never be able to experience some foods, may not get invited to parties and be viewed as an inconvenience.
I don’t find it funny …. when she is awake screaming in pain all night with a sore tummy from something she has eaten, legs crunched up.
I don’t find it funny …..when her face gets covered in excema and cracks and bleeds.
I don’t find it funny …. when we have to take her for allergy tests and she cries with pain.
I didn’t find it funny …. when she would bleed internally reacting to something I had eaten.
I didn’t find it funny …. when she would projectile whole feeds and struggle to put on weight.
I didn’t find it funny …. when we didn’t and still don’t know what she can and cant eat.
I don’t find it funny …. when we go out for the day and we have to take all her food and drink with us as we can’t just go in to any shop and get her something.
I don’t find it funny …. when all she can eat off a menu is a bowl of chips.
I don’t find it funny …. that research shows she is likely to be bullied because of her allergies.
So it will come as no surprise that I definitely don’t find it funny that people laugh at her expense. My daughter and the millions of others affected by allergies didn’t ask for them, didn’t do something to cause them. They were born with them or developed them. Allergies are serious affecting your life every single day. I’ve spoken to parents who can’t leave the house for fear of a reaction, who worry everyday whether the next reaction will kill their child. I’ve lived with that fear, driving to the hospital watching my baby daughters lips and tongue swell after eating something containing egg, not knowing if it was going to start affecting her breathing, not knowing if she was going to be ok.
The people on twittter are hopefully just naive and uneducated on allergies, or maybe they know and just don’t care. So I’m putting this out there. Allergies are not something to be joked about, they are serious and can cause death. Next time you want to laugh at my daughter, because that’s what you were doing, please think twice.
Allergies are NOT funny!