I Couldn’t Let My Son’s Allergy Stand within the Means of Journey
At some level, I think Lucian and I both longed for an epic quest, a bold affirmation that the world was a place not barely surviving but voraciously exploring. And so we found ourselves on the summit of Mount Katahdin and crossed the knife edge.
It was late August, but the air was fresh. A weather system was moving to the south and we could see the clouds below. In the north the sky was clear. It was like the knife cutting the clouds in half.
We walked along the ridge, sometimes climbing hand over foot. Lucian moved with such agility and poise that it was clear to me that this is what this child was born for. Then suddenly, just as if dead, in the middle of the knife edge, we came across a thicket of dry grass. And then the bee stung Lucian.
My wife, who is a doctor, tried to prepare me for this moment. She had repeatedly told me that if Lucian was ever stung, we both had to stay calm because panic would only accelerate the anaphylaxis. Lucian had a pale face and said to me very calmly: “Dad, this is serious, I could die.” If this were a novel, my son’s perfectly timed calamity and serious but grim remark would all be cut by a shrewd editor. Also on the nose. But that wasn’t a novel. It was real life. We both looked around. We were in one of the most precarious places in North America. There could be no rescue here – no helicopter to save us. We were alone.
“What’s your favorite video game?” I asked my son. He looked at me in disbelief. Clouds swirled around us. I urged him and asked him again. Reluctantly, he began to answer my question – or more precisely, he began to explain to me why it was completely inappropriate to talk about video games at a moment like this. A minute had passed by the time he finished. He showed no signs of an allergic reaction. I pointed this out to him. Another minute passed. And then we miraculously found that he was perfectly fine. We didn’t even need the EpiPen.