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This is Diane. She's 14, and she wants to tell you what life is like for a person who is allergic to peanuts. What's the problem, you might ask - if you're allergic, don’t eat them! Ah, it would be nice if life were THAT simple. Thanks to this, Diane has difficulties trusting people, and this is the reason why.
She can still remember the taste of peanuts. Just imagine - she actually liked them a lot when she was still very little. But she noticed that every time she ate them, she had these unpleasant symptoms – a rash, itching and stomach pain. She didn't know what an allergy was, and didn’t connect up eating peanuts with the symptoms. She also didn’t want to tell her mom, because otherwise she would take Diane to the doctors, which she hated, so she just suffered stoically. One day after a nice peanut butter sandwich, her face started swelling up until at one point she looked like an obese hamster. That was when she couldn’t avoid a visit to a doctor anymore. The doc explained to her frightened mother that she was allergic to peanuts.
This meant that from that moment on, Diane had to avoid peanuts in any form, by all means, otherwise apart from the unpleasant but bearable symptoms she could end up with some life-threatening illnesses. For example, a throat edema. Allergic shock. Or she could even die as a consequence. Neither an edema, shock or any other abstract word scared her, but death was convincing. So her mom explained that from that moment on, she had to check very carefully what was in the food she was eating and make sure that there were not even traces of peanuts in what she ate. And she was supposed to do this for the rest of her life, so it was better to get into the habit immediately.
This is how Diane found out that the world we live in is practically made of peanuts. They are EVERYWHERE! But okay, just read the labels and everything will be fine. Easy, you would say. Well, yes, reading food labels is easy, even if it's time consuming, but she found out that the most difficult part was dealing with people, who can sometimes be really stupid.
The biggest problem was eating out. If Diane cooks for herself, at least she knows what’s in her food. When she goes to a restaurant she can literally ask 10 times whether a dish contains peanuts, and 10 times she'll get a negative response. But when her face starts swelling, a scared waitress will say something like, “But this dish doesn’t have peanuts! The cook took them out before serving!” or even better, “But it doesn’t have any peanuts, only peanut butter, which isn’t PEANUTS!” After a couple of incidents like that, she decided not to press her luck anymore and gave up eating out completely. However, this was the result of simple human stupidity. But one time, she nearly died because she believed people, and that's how she got her trust issues.
She was 12 at the time, and her first crush had invited her to his birthday party. It was so thrilling! Remembering she had issues, she went to see him and asked if he could warn her beforehand if there would be something with peanuts. He was very intrigued and asked why she didn’t eat them. Diane explained her condition and he said, “Oh poor you! Peanuts are so tasty! Can’t you eat even one?” Not even one, she told him, and he assured her that everything would be fine. When she went to the party, all his friends were there, and she soon found out that he had already told everyone that she had a peanut allergy. She didn’t think that it was really anyone else's business, but it wasn’t really that big a secret.
It all went fine and Diane felt relaxed. Her crush seemed to like her a lot as well. Feeling delighted, she forgot to check every single thing she ate, as she normally did. And when the birthday cake came, she took a good bite out of her slice. After that, she remembers seeing the frightened faces of everyone in the room, and feeling that she was swelling up and choking. She couldn't breathe and felt like she was already dying. She later woke up in the hospital - thankfully the ambulance had come quickly. She'd been hit by that allergic shock, in all its splendor. Some time later her crush visited her, pale and scared. She thought he had just forgotten her request, and blamed herself. But the genius told her that it had actually been his friends' idea. They just wanted to see what would happen to her if she atet peanuts, and they didn’t tell her that there were peanuts in the cake on purpose. Can you imagine? Putting a person’s life at risk out of pure curiosity! That’s how, thanks to her allergy, Diane really has difficulties with trusting people today.
So, if you know people like her who insist that they have to avoid something, don’t be curious about finding out what would happen to them if they do the opposite.
Music by Epidemic Sound: https://www.epidemicsound.com