Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Celiac Is Not a Four-Letter Word

Those with Celiac disease along with those who are gluten intolerant (or anyone with a food allergy for that matter) know the looks and the sometimes not so kind comments those who are gluten free often get. For me, that behavior is totally unacceptable! 

There is a difference between making an off-handed comment that does not sit well with the intended receivers and someone simply opening their mouth and revealing a mountain of stupidity. When folks charged with the responsibility of knowing about dietary issues and the dangers—some life threatening—of food allergies make flagrantly ignorant comments, my bristles stand on end.
Those the ignorant refer are not faceless! We have names and value
Two of the dumbest comments made to date concerning Rick’s gluten intolerance came our way. Until a couple of weeks ago, I had been confident nothing could top the reply of a minimum wage hostess at a local diner last spring. When we inquired about the possibility of a gluten free menu, her response was—and I quote—“All of our menus are in English.”
The comforting news about that comment was at least that gal was at the bottom of the food chain. The two most recent declarations of monumental ignorance came from folks making the big bucks to know better.
Rick was really glad when I was out of ear shot when a local physician espoused that “Folks are just making too much of this gluten thing.” No, I’m not kidding. I would feel much better if I were.
Yes, we have real, live, honest to goodness practicing physicians who make life-and-death decisions on a daily basis, but are obviously clueless about the connection between many health issues and diet. Graduating med school should be the beginning of the journey, not the end. This guy appears to have never picked up a medical book or looked at a professional magazine since putting the initials for medical doctor after his name.
Later, while in another social setting, a woman who just happened to be in the upper echelon of the food industry says casually after learning that Rick is gluten intolerant, “Well, that seems to be a very popular thing to have.” Livid, outraged and the list of my emotions go on from there. 
Okay, let’s review. Discounting the ignorance of the greasy spoon hostess who thought gluten free was a language, first we have a practicing physician as opposed to one that is retired and a food retail person that are absolutely clueless to the seriousness of Celiac disease and gluten intolerance and sensitivity. I can’t help but wonder just how many people have suffered at their hands because of what they do not know. That is way too scary for me.

Let’s look at the doctor first. Rick was very sick for years and years and years, even being hospitalized a couple of times, before accidentally being diagnosed as wheat and gluten intolerant. Within 72 hours after going gluten free, aka, nothing that went down the hatch including beer that contained wheat, oats, barley or rye, Rick was completely symptom free.
Seems to me there are a lot of ignorant physicians in this world. Understanding and recognizing the classic symptoms of Celiac disease is not JUST the responsibility of Celiac specialist; it is the responsibility of the entire medical community. 

Today, my good friend and colleague, Gigi Stewart at http://www.glutenfreegigi.com/ made a fool out of some idiot who, under the auspice of science showed his ignorance, I was remind there is still much work to be done where gluten intolerance and Celiac disease are concerned.

I thought about sharing this link, but that would mean giving this guy way too much attention. He needs to crawl back under his rock.

Bottom line: If you are Celiac, diabetic, or whatever, stand up proudly and announce to all around you about your special dietary needs. You will not be alone; I promise. Make your comrades a part of your care, especially when eating out or in any place where exposure is highly possible. 

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