Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Girls' Night Out That Went Wrong

I was hoping for a night out with a friend. I had arranged for the kids to have a night with their friends at school. I dashed off to meet my friend for dinner and a few kids’ free hours to discuss costumes and other fun things. We each told the waiter I was allergic to wheat. I sent back my crouton encrusted salad to receive and extra bowl of croutons. The next try got me a wheat-free salad. I ordered shrimp scampi with rice instead of pasta and asked if it was plain rice or with pasta. I was ensuring there was no wheat after the waiter checked with the manager. I happily enjoyed my dinner until... Something isn't right... Oh no what is that in with the rice? It had little rice shaped wheat pasta mixed in. I quickly dove into my purse to get my Benadryl pills. They weren't there. I called my husband to bring me some. I felt my cheeks flush. A wave of ick radiated through me. My red splotchy face reminded me of the Gluten-Free Girls blog about being able to diagnose people with Celiac as she drove by them on the street. I looked and felt terrible. We sat there and talked until the Benadryl worked its magic and it was safe for me to drive my car home.

I spent the past two days taking Benadryl, Tylenol, Bufferin and Zantac pills to control the reaction and all of the symptoms. A day at home with the kids turned into a day of me sleeping alternated with me slumped on the couch drinking fluids to flush the wheat out. A day of work making presentations also turned into a day of rest and fluids. After 48 hours of feeling foggy headed, sore muscles, achy joints, flushed skin, and very unhappy insides I think it may finally be over. Life can return to normal.

Recently the Gluten-free Club offered advice to carry a card to present to waiters and managers when you go to a restaurant along with a sample. I had forwarded the information to my sister and two friends. One responded with a copy of her card and a very positive experience when she used it while traveling. I was trying to decide if I really needed one. The cards are designed for those who cannot have any gluten. My allergy is not that broad nor as sever as some. How would I word it? How would it be received? Well after this past experience I'm making up a card for myself and will test it out. Anything is worth trying to avoid missing out on two days of my life because a waiter doesn’t know the difference between wheat and seeds.

I think this is what I’ll put on my card for eating out…

I am allergic to Wheat

I CANNOT eat anything made of wheat including:

  • Breads
  • Beer
  • Pastas
  • Malt or malt flavoring
  • Croutons
  • Sauces or soups thickened with wheat flour
  • HVP from Wheat
  • Soy sauce (if it contains wheat)
  • Teriyaki sauce (if it contains wheat)

I CANNOT eat foods deep fried in oil used for other food that is breaded or floured. Please check the ingredients in seasoning mixes, marinades, and salad dressings.

I CAN eat:

  • Rice
  • Oats
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Potatoes
  • Fruit
  • Seafood
  • Meat
  • Vegetables
  • Butter
  • Corn starch
  • Poultry
  • Eggs

Please be sure that anything made for me is cooked in a separate clean pot or pan, or an area of the grill that has been cleaned, using clean gloves and separate utensils.

I am happy to accept your suggestions for a delicious mean that I can eat safely. Please feel free to ask me any questions. Thank you for your attention to my needs.