Monday, May 07, 2007

What Taste Loves and the Body Refuses

Crab cakes, homemade and simmering under the lid of the pan; Vietnamese coffee, served up as you find it in Houston and Saigon (Ho-Chi-Minh City to you little ones), sweet chilled condensed milk in a glass(in Houston, with ice), thick brewed hot coffee poured on top; almond torte for dessert; salad in between: spring greens, herbs, beautiful little tomatoes. I can't eat any of these things. I love them all. My only real allergy is to crab, an allergy now full blown to the point of meriting an Epipen, which I carry everywhere, in case of accidental ingestion. I grew up eating crab, fresh from the ocean, Mrs. Paul's, didn't matter, crab is good, delicious, sweet. Other foods are stuffed with it; can't touch those then either. The severity of the reaction apparently inched up as I aged, until one year in my thirities, I found myself driving myself to an ER around midnight, scratching fierely itching swelling palms and on my steering wheel, slipping off my sandals at a light to rub the soles of my feet on the clutch. I was taken in immediately, even ahead of a guy with his arm dangling at an inhuman angle who said "You go 'head, honey," as I pointed him out to a triage nurse, who, I was sure, had made a mistake. My whole body was red and swollen by that point. No more crab, ever. This allergy may migrate, expand, to other shellfish and maybe to salmon, I'm told (iodine is the common factor), and thus the secondary reason for the Epipen. With the coffee, it seems to be the condensed milk, or maybe the contrast of hot and cold. Cappucinos, as you'll see from several posts, do not bother me. The almond thing is fairly new, not as severe as the crab, though maybe related to it, but a flag of caution all the same. As if anaphylactic shock weren't bad enough, the severe intestinal distress brought on by the lot of these, and anything else my body's weak point can't handle, is, uh, gut wrenching (sorry, sorry, I know. Have blogs no boundaries ?). I've a long standing diagnosis and some remedies for the effects of my fickle system, though nothing to make it less fickle.

At the moment, I absolutely have to go to bed, so let me get to the first point, and return to others later in the week: due mainly to the first and severe condition, though somewhat due to the nature of the beast in its entirety, I have become one of those people, who query the hosts of parties, pass up what is termed "oh probably tuna salad" at potlucks, prods suspisciously at fillings, and after praising someone's garden to the skies, says no thank you to the salad, please. One of those. The rub of it all: I love food, I love to try new food, and except for the crab, which is so clear cut, other foods sometimes get a pass, so I sometimes forget and eat merrily away. If I am lucky, the awful spasms come later, when I am at home and have time, but I have sometimes been fantastically unlucky and nowhere near home. Sorry to break at such a cliffhanger, but I really do have to go to bed. Comments welcome, special diets and amateur diagnoses should know better.


John B. said...

To live one's dietary life in a fashion akin to that of an observant Jew isn't so bad--or wouldn't be if you had a choice in the matter. To be compelled not by obedience to God's law but by your body's dictates doth sucketh.

I'm looking forward, if that's the right word, to your next installment.

James Phillips said...

You brought all the memories back of my reaction to Aspirin.
Well, silicic acid in anything, actually.
I wonder if EFT would help you. emofree dot com.