First of all, a belated Happy Celiac Awareness month. I do believe we’ve made progress in the past years of 1) getting our disease out in the open more; and 2) reducing the number of idiotic gluten-free jokes. I had a friend come visit me a few weeks ago and he said he recently saw a New Yorker cartoon of two women eating. One woman says “I’ve only been gluten-free for two weeks and I’m already annoying.”
My immediate thought was not anger but surprise, as I really thought we were past this kind of “humor”, especially from major publications. I looked it up and yep…the cartoon was 6 years old. It was still lame but everybody was on the “let’s make fun of gluten-free people” bandwagon and they just jumped on. That ship has (mostly) sailed.
Anyway…I had my worst celiac stretch in a very, very long time last week. It started Monday and did not begin to subside until Friday. My symptoms? Anxiety, the shakes, and literally crawling out of my skin. I know this feeling and it is only caused by one thing: the Covid vaccination.
Yes I’m kidding. I got glutened somewhere along the line the previous weekend. For me, it’s usually a 2-day delay so it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what is was. But it was a brutal week. God bless Mrs. Dude for her patience when I’m like this. It is not fun to be around.
This past weekend, I had some family come into town to hang with us. Friday night, usually my sushi take out night, I instead ate a delicious dish that Mrs. Dude put together. Saturday night, we had reservations at a restaurant just up the block from us. I have been to this joint before and they always seemed to “get it”. Because of my long week, I was going to make it a game time decision if I was going to eat or not. If so, I was simply going to order a plain piece of grilled fish. That’s it.
Everyone put their order in and then it was my turn. I called our server Gabby down so I didn’t have to shout my condition for the restaurant to hear. Now…Gabby was an awesome waitress so this is not a complaint. But when I said I have celiac disease and I need to be ultra careful, she had that “what the ever living hell are you talking about” look on her face.
She basically made the decision for me. I said “nothing for me”. Then I grabbed my jacket, ran out of the restaurant and collapsed on the street in tears of anguish.
Oh wait a minute…no I didn’t. I enjoyed my hibiscus margarita (ok fine…I enjoyed my two hibiscus margaritas), the conversation and the comfort of being with family. I didn’t feel awkward, I didn’t starve, and I woke up Sunday
hungover happy with my decision of the previous night. Now it’s Monday morning and I feel like a human being again.
I remember early in my diagnosis, I was out to eat with a few (ex) friends. For whatever reason, something just didn’t feel right so I did not order anything. One of the people I was with was incredulous and said “so you’re just going to sit there and NOT EAT?” Ummm…yep.
The lesson here? Listen to your gut and don’t worry about what other people think about you not eating. Believe it or not…you’ll survive.