8. "I once heard, when you go out of the country your food allergies will go away, have you tried that?
If only, then I would have an excuse to vacation in the islands all year
7. "Does your whole family have food allergies like you? Read: Is your whole family freaks like you are?"
You know what they say, the peanut doesn't fall far from the tree--oh wait I think it might be an apple
6. "Wait so you are just lactose intolerant?"
Don't even get me started on how lactose intolerance and dairy allergies are not the same thing
5. "How come you have to carry around an EpiPen? As long as you don't eat your allergen, won't you be ok?"
How come you have an alarm system if you don't plan on having your house broken into?
4. "If you touch or smell what you are allergic to will you die?"
Are you plotting my death or something?
3. "How many times have you almost died?"
There you go again with the whole death thing.
2. "I am so lucky I'm not you, I would die if I couldn't eat what you are allergic to."
I guess I'm lucky I'm not you then...
1. "Wait...so what do you eat?"
Anything I'm not allergic to!
As I write this, I am officially a second semester freshman. I have finished my first semester at the University of Pittsburgh, I am still alive--and I couldn't happier.
This semester has been filled with many memories. I got my first kiss, I went to my first college party, I learned how not to overflow a dishwasher, I traveled to D.C. to speak at the FARE Teen Summit, I learned so about wilderness rescue, I helped with a MCI drill at the ER down the street, I took a course on leadership, I did lots of community service, I learned how football works, and I proved to myself that I can be independent...oh yah, and I learned a lot academically!
Obviously though, there is no way I could have made it though these first 4 months alone without the help of a lot of people. I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for making my first semester at college possible. I am going to try and mention everyone (apologies in advanced incase I forgot to mention you--I am very thankful for you too!).
Thank you to my parents for never giving up hope that I could follow my dreams. Thank you for supporting me physically, emotionally and financially because you believed in me. Also, thank you for fighting to get me a safe place at Pitt! Thank you to my sister for always being there to text and to facetime. Thank you to my grandparents for believing in me, supporting my dreams, and calling me all the time to say hi and that you love me. Thank you to my aunts and uncles and cousins who call to check in on me (and sometimes even visit me). Thank you to everyone who helped make my 18th birthday one to remember (even though I was away from home). Thank you to my Abington Friends School teachers for preparing me academically for college (believe me, a lot of kids weren't prepared). Thank you to my college guidance consular who talked my mom out of making me commute to Temple out of fear of my allergies. Thank you to my past teachers, school nurse, and my parents for caring for me when I was sick and for teaching me how to care for myself so I could do so when I got to Pitt. Thank you to my AFS friends who have always been there no matter what and for being people I can look up to. Thank you to Maria for being the one constant between AFS and Pitt; I'm so glad we were in the same bio class (again). Thank you for my new friends at Pitt who have accepted me and love me for who I am and are lots of fun to be around! Thank you to Alyssa, the Tower B, Floor 11 RA who has made me feel like a normal freshman by making me an honorary member of her floor (since where I live does't have a floor community or an RA). Thank you to Sarah and the other first year mentors for helping make my college transition really smooth. Thank you to my new doctors who may one day "fix" me. Thank you to Sodexo for letting me come into the dining hall even though I don't have a meal plan but just so I can sit with my friends. Thank you to Lenny, the facilities management guy who always greets me with a smile and makes me feel at home whenever I walk into my building. Thank you to the nurse at Abington Hospital who told my mom she was crazy for sending me to college--you gave me more reason to succeed and prove you wrong. Thank you to FARE for inviting me to speak at the FARE teen summit in DC, I loved sharing my story and helping others. Thank you to the insurance company for being a pain in the butt 99.9% of the time--you have taught me how to advocate and solve problems by myself (and also the lovely system I have to look forward to when I am a doctor). Thank you to google maps for helping me navigate the bus systems. Thank you to my food allergies that make it too hard to drink and my asthma that makes it too hard to smoke--you have kept me on the straight and narrow! Thank you to Pitt for being the best university ever and for giving me the most amazing first semester any college kid could have! I'm looking forward to the next 7 semesters!
As a college student, I often feel pretty vulnerable when I go to the doctors. Here in Pittsburgh, this is the first time when I am at an "adult" doctor and not a doctor at a Children's Hospital. Instead of sitting in the waiting room feeling much more distinguished than the 5-year-olds running around everywhere, am usually the youngest person in the waiting room by at least 30 years. Last week I had an allergist appointment, and it was the first doctors appointment (other than the pediatrician) that I have ever gone to by myself without a parent or a friend. My allergist is fantastic, and super nice and he always has made me feel very comfortable, but one of the residents did not.
Basically I went into the office for an allergy appointment. It was an 8:30 doctors appointment so needless to say, I was kind of tired and not in the mood to walk in the freezing cold across campus to the clinic which is connected to the hospital. I also had mistakenly told my doctor buddy (my friend who always comes to the doctor with me as an extra set of ears) that the appointment was an hour later so I was all by myself. After my breathing test, the respiratory therapist took me to my exam room where I was expecting for my doctor to come in, but instead I was greeted by a very obnoxious resident. I am not going to bore you with the details because you can read it in the screen shot of my complaint below, but I did want to say, no matter what your age, you have the right to be respected and taken care of in a way that you feel meets your standards. If you don't feel a doctor or resident or nurse has taken the best possible care of you, don't be afraid to complain. You have the right to be heard and hopefully you will make the doctor or resident a better doctor or make the nurse a better nurse!
Lily Roth Is a college student with food allergies and Nancy Popkin is her mother.