Thursday, July 23, 2009

All's well that ends well, right?

I'd like to start this post by saying, "Yippee!"

I heard from Dr. Rutledge of Wellsphere, and he kindly agreed to remove both my content and feed, and to discontinue my association with Wellsphere. According to the comment he left on my last post, I'm to infer that I (and a whole lot of other bloggers) just have it all completely wrong (HAH). Perhaps the agreement was changed? Ah, well. This concerns me no longer.
I appreciate that this was handled swiftly and professionally, and that there was no need to resort to any of the horrible tactics of which I had read.

Moving on with life.....
Your Allergic Diner

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


So I'm a little disheartened. For quite awhile now, I've been a patient expert and a health maven over at Wellsphere. I allowed them to use my content, as I got a fabulously flattering letter from Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge promising me a bump in readership and yet another vehicle through which to disseminate my information.
I tried answering questions on the site, I really did, but when I received questions daily such as, "Do peanut M&Ms still count as junk food if peanuts are good for you?" (OH MY GOODNESS, PLEASE, I JUST NEED A GUN) or better yet, "My infant has a rash in his mouth that looks like an allergic reaction, what should I do" (TURN OFF THE F*#^ING COMPUTER AND TAKE HIM TO A DOCTOR??!!), I got a little unhappy. I stopped signing into the site, I certainly stopped posting to the site, and I just sort of left well enough alone, content to advertise their site on my blog while they used my RSS feed on theirs.
Then the layoff happened, and with a little more time on my hands, I decided I should give the site another try. I googled "wellsphere," (because that was the original name of the site, though I received notification several months back it had been sold to Health Central). You know how google gives you a list of things you might be looking for as you type? Well, up pops "Wellsphere Scam."
Apparently I was one of thousands of health bloggers fooled by that so-called flattering letter. Dr. Rutledge had several versions that were sent out to us blog folk, all with the hopes of signing us on to his network. That's fine. Not even a problem, really. As far as a form letter goes, it was a damn good one.
The problem? Apparently there was something in the fine print that most of us missed. I have yet to clear up whether this was original to the agreement with Wellsphere, or if this is under the new Health Central rules, but they are claiming intellectual property rights to our content! They can use our material any which way they want, and there ain't a darn thing we can do about it (!). This does not sit well with me. Nor would I ever have agreed to it if I had seen it in the beginning.
I read webpage after webpage of health bloggers, some of whom were doctors and nurses, as to how these writers dissolved their partnership with Wellsphere. Scare tactics, lawsuits, vulgar postings, etc. I couldn't believe my eyes. I wrote to Dr. Rutledge yesterday, asking that he discontinue the RSS feed and remove my content from his site, and sent the same email to their general support. And so it begins....if it is necessary, I will remove this site and start anew. It's just so darn irritating. Here's hoping for an amicable solution.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Capital Grille

Monday was allergic mom's birthday. Yesterday was the allergic brother's birthday. We decided to all meet in Cherry Hill on Monday for the birthday celebrations, and allergic mom was dying to try the Capital Grille.
The experience was equal parts fascinating and allergic-diner friendly. Dinner isn't so much dinner at the Capital Grille as it is an experience. My allergies had been inquired about with the manager prior to my arrival, and Sharyn had assured my mother they would be able to take care of me.
Boy, did they ever!
After a lengthy recitation of the specialties of the house (all from memory), our server, Jason, had a chat with me about my allergies (apparently his wife is another of our kind, dear readers - she's allergic to the planet, too!). He even offered me a look at the ingredients of each dish, if I wanted. I declined, and simply asked for salmon, broiled plain (you know the drill, no seasoning, no oil, no dairy, and certainly nothing under the salmon to keep it from sticking to the skillet). I was even told I could have a baked potato (also plain - and they went so far as to leave it uncut to show me it was safe!), and that's not offered on their menu! Jason returned to the table, and asked if they could steam the fish for me, to guarantee no cross-contamination whatsoever. His words, not mine. I readily agreed.
The table had a calamari appetizer so spicy it cleared my sinuses, and I didn't have any! After allergic mom and NAH had their favorite lobster bisque, at which point both declared they couldn't eat another bite (I can report that it smelled phenomenal), dinner was served.
A kona-rubbed steak for allergic dad, halibut for NAH, a porterhouse for allergic brother, filet for allergic mom, and some light-pink, perfectly steamed salmon for yours truly. They served the baked potato uncut, still in the tinfoil to show me that it had touched nothing else.
At one point, the manager, Sharyn, even stopped by our table to check and make sure everything was perfect. When I was identified as the "allergied one," she spent some time talking to me about her son's allergies. It's amazing what a quick bond people can form over something like this.
Knowing that both our waiter, Jason, and the Capital Grille's manager, Sharyn, perfectly understood both the severity and complexity of my situation put me at ease. I had a fantastic meal, and could not have been any happier with the service.
Capital Grille, thank you for putting this allergic diner at ease. I never once felt out of place.

Your allergic diner
PS -- It is important to note that I did ask our waiter if I could include his name in this review, as I was that happy with his attention and service throughout the evening. He informed Sharyn, who returned with the business card of another manager (corporate), and asked me to clear my review with her. I did no such thing. In my view, having a corporation clear my review would taint it. Luckily, this review is so glowing, they have nothing to worry about!