PracMedic Bag – Sammie Medicine Case

Food Allergies, Our Latest Adventures

When Olivia was first diagnosed with food allergies, I didn’t even know where to start. First thing we did – get our Epi pen! I put the Epi pens in a small zip pouch and moved on with my day. Unfortunately, I would soon find out that this zip pouch was not a great place to store Olivia’s life saving medication. Our first trip to the beach with her Epi pens, the pouch got wet, hot and squished all in one day. Not good!

Little did I know, Epi pens need to stay cool and dry in order to stay viable. This became our #1 priority. So I started to do some research on the best Epi pen holder! I looked into several different brands but landed on the one that checked all my boxes and more.

PracMedic bags.

We ordered the Sammie Medicine Case in pink. Not only did this case have the best reviews but it was by far the cutest of them all! The entire case was pink with a little girl and outside, sunny day scene on the front. The first day we got the case in the mail, Olivia opened the box and ran! She wore the bag as a purse all night and kept saying she looked so “fashion”.

When I opened the bag up, I was even more impressed. Not only are there two pockets that fit two Auvi-Q perfectly, but there are more pockets to fit other medications you might need. In our case, we filled that side with Benadryl, a contact cup and contact solution. This allowed us to have all of Olivia’s medications in one spot, at all times! The bag zipped with ease and just like that, my anxiety went from 60 to 0 in a matter of minutes. All of Olivia’s supplies in one place – I couldn’t have asked for more.

We spent the summer going to sunny beaches and sweaty play gym classes and I never worried about her Epi pens. The case is insulated and padded to help keep the medicine inside at the right temperature. It’s even water resistant with an optional ice pack pocket for those days you know the temperatures are going to be really off the charts. When we would go to the beach for the entire day, I would throw the case in with an ice pack near by. Since the bag is water resistant, the medicine stayed dry and the ice pack helped it stay even cooler when the temperatures were over 90 outside! (I only use the ice pack on days of extreme heat. Most days we throw the case in my diaper bag and forget about it!)

My husband’s favorite feature to this bag? He can take it out of the diaper bag and attach it to his belt! He HATES carrying my giant diaper bag. As a food allergy mom, I am no stranger to a big bag! Of course I need a bag full of snacks and treats, extra clothes in case of emergency, hand wipes and seat covers! Rather than Dan having to take my giant bag when he has Olivia, he can just take the Sammie case out of the diaper bag and go on his way. This way he has her medications no matter where they go, without having to take the giant bag.

I have to mention the quality of these cases as well! Olivia has run around, thrown it everywhere, brought it out fishing, on hikes and even to Disney World. No matter the adventure, the case has stayed clean, in tacked and looking like new. The material is so durable that no matter what she’s thrown at it, it’s held up. We could not be more impressed.

Dealing with medications that could save your child’s life in an emergency require a lot of responsibility and sometimes it can feel very over whelming. Making sure you have all the medications, making sure they stay safe and temperature controlled – can be so stressful!The PracMedic cases and brand know how hard this can be and this is why they created this amazing product – to set our minds at ease. I have felt my anxiety melt away as I’ve watched Olivia carry this case with confidence. She’s proud to have her medication on her and feels so cute with the bag on her arm.

We cannot wait to try even more of PracMedic products – especially as Olivia is growing and getting older! Next we will be trying out the COMPACT Epi pen case! Stayed tuned to hear how we like the new bag!

Eye Update!

Our Latest Adventures, Our Patching Stories, Patching

Hi friends! It’s been a while since we talked about Olivia’s eye. It’s crazy to think that she was diagnosed almost 2 years ago (what!?) with Persistent Fetal Vasculature! When we received that diagnosis, here is what we were told:

  • Olivia is blind in her right eye
  • She can only see some light in her right eye – if anything
  • Because of her diagnosis, this is unlikely to change
  • BUT in an effort to gain some vision, she needs to patch daily for at least 4 hours a day

I remember feeling so defeated thinking she was unable to use her Nemo eye! But we came to terms with our new normal and continued on. Olivia is a rock star but I will be honest, we have NEVER hit 4 hours of patching in one day. I really don’t know how some parents do it. I have tried everything to get her to stay focused and tolerate the patch but so far, our best patch time is 3 hours a day – and I’ll take that! (and so much respect to those parents that can get their child to patch for half their waking hours – that’s the goal!) With the patch on, Olivia has always been able to maneuver her way around so we had some suspicions that maybe blind in her Nemo might have been a stretch…

Oh man, I’ve lost my point here! Back to our eye update 🙂 So after that catch up, you know we went into this appointment with these 4 ‘facts’ in our minds. Our expectations are always pretty low but we hope for the best. My husband had to work so my wonderful sister – otherwise known as YaYa – stepped in to come along for this appointment.

We headed to Olivia’s eye doctor/lens specialist early in the morning. One silver lining to Olivia growing up in these offices is that everyone knows and adores her. We walk in and their first response is “oh my goodness, you’ve gotten so big”. They knew her when she was just born and they’ve watched her grow into this independent little girl. Crazy to think how far she has come.

At previous appointments – being that Olivia was so young – the only way they would measure how much vision she has is with some special instruments. But this time, we were surprised with pictures! Dr. Mcleary handed Olivia a piece of paper with black and white pictures on them. Olivia was then told to point to the picture she could see on the screen. She practiced with both eyes and then the doctor covered her dominant eye, forcing her to use her Nemo to see. To the doctors’ surprise, she could do it. Mind you, the images were big but that doesn’t really matter! The fact is, she could see that piece of cake enough to identify it on the page in front of her! Even with my suspicions, I never dreamed she would be able to see an image that far away and be able to identify it. She was able to do a few rounds on the eye test before become completely agitated and ready to go play with the stickers she earned.

The doctor recored the data and spun her chair around. The air around us got so still. Then she said,

Your daughter is not blind.

Yup, you heard that right. She is not blind. She has terrible vision. Her prescription is so high in the double digits I didn’t even know they could go that high – but she is NOT blind. I cried right then and there. I couldn’t contain my excitement.

This means, the patching worked. It means the surgery was the right choice. It means, so far, in a field filled with so many unknowns, we are doing okay.

The doctor was sure to remind me that due to her condition, there is a limit to how much vision she is likely to gain. Since her retina was detached and was never able to completely finish developing her eye, she will always have a lot of trouble. But she’s getting better. She’s a fighter (usually fighting me to take the patch off but who’s counting) and we are going to keep fighting to get as much vision back in her Nemo eye as possible!

When Olivia received this diagnosis 2 years ago, we began going into these appointment with the idea to expect the worst but hope for the best. Even though I could see her getting around a little better with the patch on, and watching the iPad – no matter how close – I wouldn’t allow myself to believe she was truly gaining vision in her eye. So beyond ecstatic to have been wrong this time.

So, in this new year, we are going to just keep patching – hoping to increase our time per day! The doctor is having us wait on her next surgery since her eye is looking good and the ultimate goal is to get her a little bit older and bigger before they go back in. We left the appointment over the moon and headed over to Dee’s One Smart Cookie to get our brave girl an allergen-free cake pop.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more fun ways to get this girl to keep her patch on!!

Be Better, Netflix

Food Allergies, Our Latest Adventures

Alexa and Katie is about two best friends are how they navigate high-school, grades, boys, but most of all, how they deal when one of them is diagnosed with Cancer. It is one of my favorite shows to throw on. When I see the red ‘new episodes’ sign in the corner or the picture – I immediately curl in to binge watch them all – I mean they are only 20 minutes long! The show hits on some really sensitive subject matter. In between the light girl talk of boys and basketball are the issues of chemo, hair loss and all of the feelings that go along with that. This is a show I would be proud to show my daughter. It teaches kids and teens to be brave, inclusive and kind. It treats disabilities and challenges with respect. At least it did…

My husband and I were sitting down, relaxing after a long day, watching the Christmas episode of the latest season – Episode 5 – All I Want for Christmas is You – when all of a sudden we both froze. This show, about medical needs and acceptance, made an EPI pen joke. 

One of the customers in the coffee shop asks Katie (who works as a barista) for more foam on her latte. Katie being frazzled and frustrated grabs some nutmeg and sprinkles it all over her coffee. The customer then says “Nutmeg, eh I have my EPI Pen” – cue laugh track. And the show moves on. 

This is not funny. Laughing about an allergy or an EPI Pen is not a cool way to get laughs. You know what the show did do? It made light of something very serious. It let kids and teenagers and adults know “hey you can give me what could KILL me as long as I have my EPI pen.”

I wonder if Netflix or the show Alexa & Katie had any clue that every 3 minutes, a reaction due to food allergies sends someone to the Emergency Room. Did they know that if someone consumes their allergen, use of an EPI pen needs to be done within minutes and may need to be done with more than one EPI Pen. Finally, did they know that EPI pens do not work every time – or maybe I should send them over the list of children that have died because they didn’t have their EPI pen present or they didn’t get to it in time.

Did they know that 1 in 3 children – yes 1 in 3 kids – are bullied because of their food allergy and if the child has more than one food allergy, over half reported being bullied because of it. Take those facts and factor in that a widely watched television show finds that food allergies are okay to joke about and what do we have? More media making my daughter feel silly for her medical condition. More outlets making parents feel like they cant trust others because they may be looked down upon for protecting their child.

As a food allergy mom, I struggle with a lot of anxiety. And as I read through these food allergy facts, I learned that I am not alone. Parents of children under the age of 5 have significantly higher blood pressure and report high levels of psychosocial stress then moms of kids without food allergies. Most parents avoid restaurants all together. More than 1/4 of food allergy parents surveyed said that their kids don’t participate in sleep overs or camps, don’t go to restaurants and 10% avoid play dates with friends. This is all because of food allergies. These statistics should be enough to make the world stop joking about a world wide epidemic and start taking notice about how many families deal with this on a daily basis. 

This joke took up exactly 12 seconds of the show but is forever burned into my mind. To everyone who doesn’t deal with food allergies on a daily basis, this joke let their sub-conscience minds know that food allergies are curable and can be handled with the simple use of an EPI pen. And to all of us that deal with food allergies every single day, the joke increases that anxiety just that much more.

We can make the difference that the media is not having the courage to make. Take this opportunity to talk with your kids. Let them know how serious food allergies are. 

**Food Allergy Research and Education, Facts and Statistics**