I feel much more comfortable in my philosophy than I do in stripping bare and talking about my son and the dietary obstacle course we seem to always be running. It’s safer. More distant. And no matter how one might disagree with my philosophy it doesn’t hurt like what could be said when talking about my parenting. Still, there’s been one thing weighing heavily on my heart if not my mind lately – and it is this: My child got gluten and I have no idea how. None.
I had no idea it had happened until there was a violent intestinal episode (really two) in one day merely an hour or so apart. His gut remained bloated for a few days, his pallor came back, circles under his eyes, behavior got worse, and his pickiness about food came back. Honestly, we weren’t even sure he HAD gluten, but everything about the past week indicates that’s exactly what it was. AND THERE IS NO GUARANTEE WE’RE RIGHT.
My job is to take care of my kids – day in and day out – make sure they’re healthy, eating properly, getting the time and attention they need, educating them… And my four year old somehow got gluten.
Without even getting into the long term risks of a celiac ingesting gluten I’m stuck in that one place of fear and horror of not knowing how or when he got any. Could it have been that time I sneaked a doughnut on the way back from a solo grocery store run? Could it have been that he didn’t wash his hands after feeding the kitties? Maybe it was when he, in all his petulant “I’m going to mimic my baby sister” glory, decided to put his mouth over the cap of a freshly bought bottle of gluten free smoothie (a treat)… Perhaps he hugged his homebrew store owning father after he came home from work covered in glutens before dada could get changed. In the end it matters little.
My husband and I have spent several days revisiting the episode in our heads (mine with the graphic and gory pictures of the results) and have still not come to any answer.
I do not say the following lightly, nor caustically, but it’s floated around my mind too much to ignore: There is no epi-pen I can give my son a shot with to stop his body from destroying its self over the run in with gluten. A safety net does not exist; the ramifications are not a one shot horror show, but a long drawn out game of Risk. One which carries increased risks of many cancers as well as the immediate malnutritive facet. Slow death.
There is no balm to assauge my guilt and certainly not a glass of wine big enough to have me forgetting that somewhere along the way I failed my job. I don’t have rage for the disease, nor for the people who simply don’t get the seriousness of it and want to promote things like nut bans (okay, maybe a little for them; lack of empathy does that to me), but I have a plethora of it for myself.
And so back to the grain free (dairy free/soy free/gluten free) life we go.