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Gluten Free and Me: Coeliac Disease and how it affects my life – One day after a fall
My Mother in Law is 87, although if you met her you wouldn’t believe it. Still very much independent. Last February (2018) she had a stroke and was very seriously ill. However after a year she is back to her normal self.
Yesterday (Friday 16 March 2019) was a case in point about why my condition (Coeliac Disease) is a complete pain in the proverbial butt.
I had breakfast as usual at 7:30am, and proceeded with my normal day consisting of a shift in Oxfam to cover for holiday from 09:30 until 1pm.
I left the shop and was in the process of making my way home and deciding what I should have for lunch, when my mobile phone rang. My daughter instructs me to stop walking (not knowing at this point that I hadn’t actually left town.) and then says ‘Grandma is in Tesco, She’s had a nasty fall’
Arriving at Tesco, Customer Services informed me that my Mother-in-Law had fallen over backwards and hit her head on a solid concrete floor. When I arrived, I was informed that the team at Tesco had called an ambulance. For those that don’t know, this is standard procedure for a head injury, regardless of if there is any problem or not.
Obviously then we had to wait for the ambulance (I’d arrived at around 1:15pm, they, duly arrived at 2:15).
Due to her stroke last year Mother in Law is now on blood thinners, which put a different slant on things as far as the paramedics were concerned. Their protocol is, that if blood thinners are being used, even though there maybe no visible injury on the outside, there is potential and a higher risk of internal bleeding, which equalled a trip to A&E for a thorough check up and a CT scan.
At this point the only thing I had had to eat was breakfast at 07:30 that morning. Whilst waiting for the ambulance I nipped into the store to see if I could find something to eat. The logical place to go would be ‘Food To Go’ although due to previous experience I didn’t hold out much hope. Yep you guessed it, nothing suitable for me. Tried on the ordinary shelves for the prepackaged salads, none came with utensils and only one was suitable anyway. So I wandered into the Free From section to see if I could find something sensible there, all I could find was a packet of Nairns GF chocolate chip oatcakes, which I knew were quite filling. I ate one packet whilst we were waiting for the ambulance.
Mother in Law was carted off to A&E in the ambulance, leaving us to play ‘musical’ cars and make sure that her shopping didn’t defrost and go off, and then to catch up with her at the hospital with extra bits just in case she ended up being admitted.
About 3:45 we left Mother in Laws house having made sure everything was in the appropriate place to stay fresh and collected some personal bits ‘just in case.’ I got in the car and my husband said to me did I want anything else to eat and I said yes, but not biscuits. It turned out that he had an Apple in the car which I duly demolished.
At around 4:30pm in the hospital (A&E department) Mother in Law was asked what she would like for dinner! and at 6pm was duly served with Shepherds Pie and Green Beans. I on the other hand had had the grand total of 4 biscuits and an Apple.
We were still at the hospital at 7;30pm and with no idea how long we were likely to be there. DH went out to see if he could find us something to drink as both of us were really thirsty. Obviously at this point most of the cafeteria’s had closed (not that we had had time to go and investigate), so finding things to eat was going to be quite tricky. The other thing that was available was vending machines, now unfortunately for me most of our vending machines here are filled with Mars products, due to our proximity to the factory in Slough!
Now I know most of you will be saying ‘but chocolate is Gluten Free’ …..errr ….no it isn’t. Apart from Twix and KitKat that contain biscuit and wafer. All Mars products contain wheat starch, which is not safe for me, and due to some manufacturing processes not all chocolate is safe. Mars have made me ill on more than one occassion so I just avoid them now.
We were discharged at 8:30pm, with the all clear (which was the desired outcome). My other half said that before taking his Mum home he would drop me off first, as he knew I needed something to eat, and of course I have everything I need here. Although my dinner consisted of chopped up leftover sausage and brown sauce on toast, but did the job and filled a hole.
This is where Coeliac Disease is a right pain, because I can’t just grab a sandwich in an emergency, and as I proved there wasn’t much else at all to eat within a supermarket that was easy to eat on the go that would be safe.
Lets just say my choices were extremely limited given the circumstances, but it does show how much we rely on ready made easy to grab food when emergencies occur. I had an interesting diet on Friday, Porridge with Raspberries, 4 chocolate biscuits, an Apple and eventually cold sausage on toast! (at around 9:30pm)
So next time you grab yourself a sandwich or a pasta salad for a quick lunch, spare a thought for those of us that can’t do that normally, never mind in an emergency. Believe me it is a right pain, and even if the cafeteria’s had been open there would not have been any guarantee they could provide me with anything anyway even in a hospital setting.
Don’t get me wrong, my main concern was my Mother in Law not my stomach. However, this does highlight, that sometimes I have to make sure I can function. So not to become a liability in these situations, which I was very close to becoming, as just before we were discharged I had started to come over light headed. The difference was, I knew that that was just through lack of food.
Footnote: Mother in Law was discharged with a clean bill of health and a clear CT scan, and sent home. We saw her yesterday as we dropped off some shopping for her. She is very bright and just sore, but none the worse for wear for Friday’s adventure!
We, on the other hand decided on Saturday, to go out for Dinner and this
was much needed! I also ate really well on Saturday!