Thursday, August 23, 2007

A credo for my fellow allergy sufferers...

Well, allergic readers, there are all sorts of things to blog about today.
First a shout-out (my old students would be so proud of my terminology!) to Allergic Girl who is going on what will be a successful, allergy-free vacation.

Allergies are an interesting thing. People who don't have them feel badly for you, sometimes treat you differently (and at last check my allergies were NOT a personality problem), and even sometimes have the gall to act as if your allergies inconvenience THEM! I still hold that if I'm the one who's going to die from eating the tomato, YOU can easily not place one in my food. What people who don't suffer from severe allergies can't understand (unless you're the parent or spouse of someone with severe allergies) is the anxiety that comes EVERY DAY. My friends will often tease me, because non-allergic husband (NAH) and I don't eat out a whole lot. One of the big reasons is because if I can cook it, then I don't have to worry about eating it. And luck for NAH, I'm a damn good cook!

There is a near paralyzing fear with trying a new restaurant or travelling to a new place that can never go away, but can be worked on. The fear that an allergic person feels when describing an allergy to a waiter and having to TRUST that they will take it seriously (i often show my med-alert bracelet) is difficult to describe. Travelling is the hardest because every meal you eat will be in someone else's hands. You learn over time not to be consumed by fear 24/7, but every now and then you have a scare (a la the sushi posting of several weeks ago) that sets you back a little.

Thankfully, (or not thankfully, depending on how you look at it) people who suffer from severe allergies aren't a rarity anymore, and the Internet has become a godsend to those of us who are anaphalactically allergic to things and still would like a life. The NAH and I are taking a vacation this weekend to a place neither of us have ever been. Thanks to the Internet, I've been able to find out what kind of restaurants are in the area we're staying. I've even seen some of their menus. And on the off chance we want to eat a fancy meal, I called a local bistro or two to see if they're willing to substitute ingredients (most restaurants are more than willing if you say something ahead of time).

Allergy sufferers live on the edge in a way that is very different from extreme sports. We take risks that most people will never be aware of (think I'm being melodramatic? Possibly, but you try looking like a blowfish in front of your closest friends). But what we do, what we can do, and what we must do, is always push through. Don't let the fear of a tomato or a piece of celery run or even ruin your life. And be proud of yourself each and every time you step outside of your comfort zone.

All that being said, dear readers, tonight we head to the non-allergic in laws for a fantastic allergy-free birthday barbecue! What could be better than that?
As always, thanks for letting me rant,
Your Allergic Diner


Allergic Girl said...

what an excellent post, you really nailed the range of feelings we food allergic diners experience.

blogging/writing about it helps i find. however, i'm still managing a bit of anticipatory anxiety right now about getting in the car tomorrow and going away to parts less known.

have a great trip and i look forward to trading notes.

RighterLady said...

Thanks, you too!