Marsha Delaney: Posted on Saturday, September 22, 2012 1:30 PM
|We got lost, we got delayed and we couldn’t find parking, but we eventually made it to the restaurant we were in search of. We were the first ones there. It was a dimly-lit place, so it was difficult for me to read the menu until my eyes got adjusted. Truth be told, it was difficult for me to read the menu anyway because I hadn’t yet resigned myself to the fact that I must now bring reading glasses with me if I want to read anything written down in anything but block-sized letters. For the moment, everyone was behaving themselves, so my hopes were high for a rare evening of good food and even better memories.
We all ate our hearts out, eager to try almost any and everything gluten-free listed on the menu. We ordered so much food…and demolished every scrap of it. I didn’t know my kids could eat like that. The food was spectacular. We ate until we couldn’t eat anymore. By the time we were done, the restaurant was filled with patrons, also obviously enjoying their meals.
As we sat back, taking in everything we’d just consumed, our oldest daughter said, “My tummy doesn’t feel very well.” I internally cringed. Oh, God, I thought. I knew what would happen next, but trying to keep both of our spirits up, I said, “Oh, I’m sure it’s just that you ate too much, that’s all. I’m sure you’ll be fine.” I was wrong.
The kids all fell asleep on the car ride home. The next morning our daughter was sick. Her arms had great big blotches of eczema all over them. They were on her legs and on her torso. Some of them even looked like bruises, they were so bad. She begged for headache medicine. She scooted around the floor in a ball with her comforter over her (as she always does when she’s been exposed to gluten). She spent hours alternating between the bath and shower, trying to rid herself of the agony. After a forty-five minute shower, I went in to check on her. She was face down on the floor of the shower, trying to alleviate her agony (it’s not a tub-shower; it’s a stand-up shower). My poor child. How could this be? I’d asked the waiter about cross-contamination. I’d asked the waiter about the oil they use for frying. He told me they use separate oil. I don’t know how it happened, but my daughter had been exposed. Greatly.
As per her schedule, on the fourth day after exposure, my daughter turned psychotic. Really psychotic. She flipped out for no reason. She threatened to kill, particularly me. She said she wanted to buy a gun to kill me with. I feared for my little one’s safety. She was hostile, violent and mean. She had a razor-sharp tongue that was too cutting to believe. There was no peace. There was no let-up. When I tucked her in and said, “Sweet dreams,” she looked up at me and said, “Go to Hell.” She’s nine.
There was no normal life anymore. My daughter was horrible and my son was hyperactive and didn’t listen. Every single day was torture. It was my own personal Hell that lasted nearly a month. I even began to wonder if I needed to take my daughter to a psychiatrist to be evaluated. I knew it was the gluten, but the length of time this went on for really made me wonder if there wasn’t something else going on. I began to think that this was far more than a gluten issue and that this was our new reality. It was depressing and down-right awful.
Then a beautiful thing happened. Her horrible behavior began to taper off. Each day and week got a little better. She began to play with her brother instead of telling him that she wanted him to die. She began to be happy and normal again. Every day she improved. She finally returned back to my normal little girl.
I just have to resign myself to the fact that we can NEVER eat out. EVER.