A few weeks ago Middle Man's 6th grade class went to camp.
Yes, in January. In Ohio. They had a wonderful time (at least according to him).
When I first learned that they would be going to camp, I was less than thrilled. And I certainly wasn't sure I was going to let him go.
At that time his asthma was not under control (but it seems to be now) and I just didn't want to deal with the food. They went from Monday to Thursday and there was no way that I could go. What would I do with the other two children? And because we have boys, I could be with him during the day, but at night I would have to sleep in the girls dorm which was in a different section of the camp. That was less than ideal.
A spokesperson from the camp came to school to speak to us and she assured me that they were very food allergy aware and that the chef could cook safely for him. Well, we've heard that before and it did not work out so well. One good thing about the camp was that they don't use nuts or anything with nuts in the dining hall. But Middle Man has so many other food allergies that no nuts is only a partial bonus. The woman from the camp gave me the number of the chef and told me to call and speak with him and he would put my mind at ease.
I did call. But I wasn't exactly put at ease. I have no doubt that if Middle Man had celiac disease, they could have cooked for him. But he doesn't. He's allergic to wheat, rye, barley, oat, egg, peanut and tree nut. The chef was very kind but kept saying gluten free isn't a problem. But when I asked if what they purchased was also egg free, oat free (thanks gluten free oats), tree nut tree (almond flour is used a lot in gluten free products), he just kept telling me that he hasn't had anyone have a reaction. He gave me the name of the pasta he uses and it's made by a local company. I Googled it and not only did I not see a gluten free one, but all of them has egg. Middle Man eating there safely was just not going to happen.
So I offered to cook all the food and send it so it could be heated up in the microwave. But the chef said they don't have a microwave.
So my next option was to feed him breakfast at home, pack lunch and dinner and drive him there every morning and pick him up every evening. Less than ideal but Hubs works 1-2 miles from the camp so it would have been doable. I just didn't want to make him sit out camp.
Right before Christmas, Middle Man's teacher called me with another option. Both she and the school nurse have a small microwave that they weren't using and they offered to bring the microwave to camp so that I could send all his safe food and he would be able to stay.
So that's what we did. I cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner and sent a safe snack box for the teacher to keep in her room and Middle Man was able to go and to eat safely.
Because Hubs works so closely. we also decided that he would work during the day but spend the night at camp so that he could monitor things and make sure that all was going well and Middle Man was safe.
So we sent 10 meals (9 plus an extra one to be on the safe side), a box of snacks, all his meds and I sent his nebulizer just in case his asthma was triggered.
All was well and he had a great time. I'm so glad that he got to go. This year is the first year for this camp and I had no idea what to expect. This is also the first year that the 7th grade took a trip. I told him that we will reevaluate that trip next year when it comes up. I'm not sure I could send food for this trip plus Hubs would have to take vacation time off of work. He already takes a weeks vacation for scout camp. He doesn't get that much vacation time.
I'm glad he was able to go to this camp. I hate to see him left out. But unless we could make it as safe was we possibly can, he may not be able to do things. It's just how life with food allergies has to be.