Ever since my celiac diagnosis I have these nightmares – gluten-filled nightmares. I found it pretty funny, and somewhat comforting, when Gluten Dude posted on his Facebook page that he also has these gluten-mares. He dreamed about enjoying a pizza then feeling the dread and fear when realizing it was the real-deal gluten kind.
I have these nightmares too. I’ve dreamed about pizza. I’ve dreamed about bread. I’ve dreamed about getting sick. And last night, I dreamed about the real-life celiac fear – the potluck/buffet. I’m not sure what was going on in this dream but I think I was at a wedding (perhaps this is because we received a wedding invite in the mail yesterday and I’m terrified to bother the bride by asking, “What will we be eating? Will it be safe for me? Is it ok if I bring my own food?”) and the wedding was a buffet… and the weirdest buffet I’ve ever dreamed up. There was a fruit salad, covered in croutons. A bread basket with real and gluten-free breads mixed together. There were unknown, foreign foods. And even scarier – no food labels! Nothing to say what the foreign food products were or what they contained.
Perhaps this nightmare is also triggered by the fact that I will be going on vacation starting this weekend – 2 whole weeks away from my nice, safe, gluten-free kitchen. Two weeks of trusting other people, and other people’s kitchen’s with my health – and this is making me nervous. I’ve been planning and preparing. Doing research on safe restaurants in the area, buying food to take with me on the flight and for while we’re there, and looking into grocery store options to stock up once I’m there. The planning is making me feel more comfortable, but my recently developed OCD is still afraid of whether or not the airplane tray will be clean enough, whether my friends that we’ll be staying with have new-enough/clean-enough/unscratched cookware to cook on. Whether the young kids that will be in each house we’re staying at will throw crumbs, smear food, and overall spread contamination. What if I get sick and ruin the whole trip – mostly for myself, but also for my husband….
I also don’t want to ruin the trip with my obsession on making sure there is enough food with me, near me, accessible to me. I kind of have to, but some people still don’t understand… don’t get me wrong, my friends have been amazing at asking questions in preparation for my arrival and I know they are doing everything they can to keep me safe. But I also hear them and my husband talk about the pizza place we HAVE to go to, and the fish and chips that MUST be tasted… I understand that I can’t control everyone else and their food choices but when it becomes a tourist attraction that I can’t take part in, I get a bit frustrated, sad and left-out. Not that I want everyone to go gluten-free with me, but I wish there was less focus on gluten-specific destinations and more focus on the fresh seafood we can all enjoy, or a trip to a farmer’s market where there are gluten and non-gluten options alike.
But, I need to stop focusing on my fears, stop letting my nightmares invade my waking hours, and focus on the fact that I’m going on vacation, to visit some of my dearest friends on the other side of the country, and it’s going to be great!