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Old 16th January 2007, 06:07 AM   #1
LibraryLady
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Angry Why is my brother so stupid?

The rest of us are reasonably intelligent. In fact, my other brother, now deceased, was actually a genius.

My survivng brother is deathly allergic to nuts and seeds. When I say deathly, I am speaking quite literally. He goes into anaphylactic shock. You would think this would cause him to take basic precautions about it, wouldn't you?

About thirty years ago, he was having dinner with his wife and my smart brother in a restaurant. He ordered the salad with the house dressing, which turned out to have walnut oil in it. His esophagus swelled around a piece of meat and he nearly choked to death. Luckily they got to the hospital in time. You would think this would make him cautious about restaurant salad dressing, wouldn't you?

About ten years ago, my sister and I bullied him into getting an Epipen, so that he would have Epinephrine handy anytime something happened. You would think he would have it handy, wouldn't you?

Now we come to last Friday. He and his significant other were having dinner in a restaurant and, of course, he ordered the SALAD WITH THE HOUSE DRESSING. No inquiries about ingredients. His s.o. had never seen one of his reactions, so she didn't think to ask either. The dressing had POPPY SEED OIL in it. He went into anaphylaxis. He complained of not feeling well. His five years out of date Epipen was AT HOME. His s.o. started to drive him to the hospital. On the way he started having trouble breathing and his eyesight faded. She got stuck behind a bus. She called 911 to ask them to alert the hospital that they were coming and the operator announced they don't do that.*

Finally, they got to the hospital, got him into the emergency room, where staff surrounded him instantly and saved his life. He's fine now, aside from some muscular pain. I called him and yelled at him and my sister plans to do the same today. I didn't even know about this until yesterday, probably because his daughter had already yelled at him and he didn't want to deal with more angry relatives. They didn't even call his daughter until 8 hours later--her husband reports that she was throwing things, she was so angry.

WHAT IN THE NAME OF ED WAS HE THINKING????????


*The operator didn't offer to send out an ambulance, which strikes me awfully strange.
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Old 16th January 2007, 06:20 AM   #2
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Without even reading the OP the answer is obvious to me - you got all the brains!
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Old 16th January 2007, 06:31 AM   #3
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I mercilessly avoided hazelnut for about 10 years. Caused a sore itchy throat along with a "mucus attack" if you will. Lol.

Anyways, it wasn't a potentially fatal condition. Point is though, I always made sure that whatever I was eating didn't have Hazelnut in it. But I can understand how he could occasionally forget to check.

But seeing as the condition can be fatal I guess that changes things a bit.
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Old 16th January 2007, 06:41 AM   #4
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Brain damage as a side effect of his first encounter with anaphylactic shock.

(Hey! Don't hit me!

Ouch!

OW!

HEY!!

)
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Old 16th January 2007, 06:44 AM   #5
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Both my mother and mother-in-law have walked around on broken legs because they didn't want to bother anyone. Another time, my mother-in-law left her Life Alert (a pendant that can call an ambulance) in the house because she was just going out in the yard, and spent 24 hours on her back in the rain because she couldn't yell loud enough to alert the neighbors.

I could go on, but I can already feel my blood pressure rising.
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Old 16th January 2007, 07:27 AM   #6
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Your brother and my brother must be twins separated at birth! My brother is deathly allergic to bee stings - he almost died once from multiple stings but was just able to get to the phone and dial 911 before he blacked out. He refuses to carry an Epipen even when he's outside clearing brush or painting the house (situations which are almost guaranteed to expose you to bees/hornets/wasps). I don't think they even have Epipens in the house. His wife is just as stupid because she doesn't insist that he carry one.
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Old 16th January 2007, 07:33 AM   #7
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If there's one thing we can learn from this forum it's that people do stupid things. You'd think that someone conned by a psychic wouldn't go straight to another one to throw their money away. You'd think that someone allergic no nuts would try not to eat them. You'd think that someone who nearly dies throwing themsleves off a waterfall wouldn't keep doing it. Rumours of our intelligence have been greatly exaggerated.
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Old 16th January 2007, 08:11 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by LibraryLady View Post
The rest of us are reasonably intelligent. In fact, my other brother, now deceased, was actually a genius.

My survivng brother is deathly allergic to nuts and seeds. When I say deathly, I am speaking quite literally. He goes into anaphylactic shock. You would think this would cause him to take basic precautions about it, wouldn't you?

About thirty years ago, he was having dinner with his wife and my smart brother in a restaurant. He ordered the salad with the house dressing, which turned out to have walnut oil in it. His esophagus swelled around a piece of meat and he nearly choked to death. Luckily they got to the hospital in time. You would think this would make him cautious about restaurant salad dressing, wouldn't you?

About ten years ago, my sister and I bullied him into getting an Epipen, so that he would have Epinephrine handy anytime something happened. You would think he would have it handy, wouldn't you?

Now we come to last Friday. He and his significant other were having dinner in a restaurant and, of course, he ordered the SALAD WITH THE HOUSE DRESSING. No inquiries about ingredients. His s.o. had never seen one of his reactions, so she didn't think to ask either. The dressing had POPPY SEED OIL in it. He went into anaphylaxis. He complained of not feeling well. His five years out of date Epipen was AT HOME. His s.o. started to drive him to the hospital. On the way he started having trouble breathing and his eyesight faded. She got stuck behind a bus. She called 911 to ask them to alert the hospital that they were coming and the operator announced they don't do that.*

Finally, they got to the hospital, got him into the emergency room, where staff surrounded him instantly and saved his life. He's fine now, aside from some muscular pain. I called him and yelled at him and my sister plans to do the same today. I didn't even know about this until yesterday, probably because his daughter had already yelled at him and he didn't want to deal with more angry relatives. They didn't even call his daughter until 8 hours later--her husband reports that she was throwing things, she was so angry.


WHAT IN THE NAME OF ED WAS HE THINKING????????
*The operator didn't offer to send out an ambulance, which strikes me awfully strange.
If it was in Baltimore, I don't understand that call in or ambulance part. My wife used to work Red Cross, was in the first group of non-medical personnell to be trained in Heimlich, by Heimlich. All in the area. Does not make sense!!!
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Old 16th January 2007, 08:18 AM   #9
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LiberyLady, your brother is of a youthful spirit. He's got that childlike quality of blithe invulnerability, impervious to motality. He'll enjoy life right up to its sudden end. Be happy for him.

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Old 16th January 2007, 08:23 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by supercorgi View Post
Your brother and my brother must be twins separated at birth! My brother is deathly allergic to bee stings - he almost died once from multiple stings but was just able to get to the phone and dial 911 before he blacked out. He refuses to carry an Epipen even when he's outside clearing brush or painting the house (situations which are almost guaranteed to expose you to bees/hornets/wasps). I don't think they even have Epipens in the house. His wife is just as stupid because she doesn't insist that he carry one.
Mabey she just wants the life insurance.
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Old 16th January 2007, 08:25 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
If it was in Baltimore, I don't understand that call in or ambulance part. My wife used to work Red Cross, was in the first group of non-medical personnell to be trained in Heimlich, by Heimlich. All in the area. Does not make sense!!!
Um, this does not make much sense what is the Heimlich supposted to do for anaphaltic shock?

But the operator was clearly an idiot, and should be fired for gross incompetence.
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Old 16th January 2007, 08:30 AM   #12
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Frankly, he's lucky that, with his rather head-buried-in-the-sand approach, he made it this long without another exposure.

He needs a friggin' Epipen and a fat wake-up call (perhaps this was one?).
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Old 16th January 2007, 08:39 AM   #13
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I can sympathise with your brother LibraryLady. It seems like he and I are of the same breed - willful idiots.

For me stupid risks are one of the really great things about life, however. And yes, if you were a loved one you would be entirely justified to scream at me for some of them.

Edit: mind you, even I would carry an epipen in his situation!
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Old 16th January 2007, 08:40 AM   #14
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Honestly, I can't be suprised about your brother's behavior. I know it sounds cynical, but I've concluded that people are more often at least slightly stupid than not. If you are lucky enough to have just one stupid person in your family, I seriously envy you. I had to move clear across the country from my family before constant exposure caused me burst a vein in my head. I love them all, really I do, but small doses of them are all I can handle.

I have Celiac Sprue, which means I must avoid all wheat gluten. All. Even the teeniest bit. The effects of eating wheat are serious, painful, dangerous and long lasting for a Celiac. Even given that, I've encountered plenty of my fellow Celiacs that just aren't careful about ascertaining what is in food before they eat it. Hell, I've seen them deliberately eat stuff just because they want it, knowing they will be sick for days or weeks. Rank stupidity, just breathtakingly rank stupidity.

In speaking to others about Celiacs and how you must avoid all wheat gluten, their first comment is commonly "oh, I couldn't do that." Pointing out the serious consequences of gluten on Celiacs and how ill you are for how long after even a small accidental ingestion will usually elicit "yeah, but I still couldn't do that." Okay, at that point, I've got to wonder how they've avoided killing themselves by sticking their tongue in a light socket, but whatever turns them on.
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Old 16th January 2007, 08:53 AM   #15
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I hope your bro knows that pesto contains pine nuts... I learned that the hard way because I let my guard down once. It was not a pleasant experience but then, I'm not that allergic, though I always carry my Epipen. I have yet to use it after 18 years of carrying one (are they allowed on board planes?). And I tell everyone I've never had dinner with before about my allergies.
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Old 16th January 2007, 09:12 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
Um, this does not make much sense what is the Heimlich supposted to do for anaphaltic shock?

But the operator was clearly an idiot, and should be fired for gross incompetence.
A) both times
Heimlich might have popped the food his throat tightened around out - but it actually was mentioned toward the pont that in the Baltimore (and D.C.) areas, there is a high level (or used to be anyway) of medical response/preparation. So, if this happened ther, I would be very surprised at either the level response had dropped OR the incompetance of an individual operator!!
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Old 16th January 2007, 09:19 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
A) both times
Heimlich might have popped the food his throat tightened around out - but it actually was mentioned toward the pont that in the Baltimore (and D.C.) areas, there is a high level (or used to be anyway) of medical response/preparation. So, if this happened ther, I would be very surprised at either the level response had dropped OR the incompetance of an individual operator!!
What food? He was not choking, his throat was swelling shut, so unless you can use the heimlich maneuver to pop out someones throat, it wouldn't do much good.
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Old 16th January 2007, 12:25 PM   #18
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Time #1: had food. Time #2, no food. The basic point of medical awareness stands.
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Old 16th January 2007, 12:44 PM   #19
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And you've never done anything stupid, LibraryLady?
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Old 16th January 2007, 01:16 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Silly Green Monkey View Post
Time #1: had food. Time #2, no food. The basic point of medical awareness stands.
Yes, the Heimlich is for choking, not annaphalixis. It will not do any good and might well hurt them. And you are wasting time either way.
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Old 16th January 2007, 03:33 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Patsy View Post
Rank stupidity, just breathtakingly rank stupidity.
I prefer to think about it as nature's way of weeding out those with inadequate or faulty survival instincts. I feel less cynical that way.
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Old 16th January 2007, 03:34 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by TV's Frank View Post
And you've never done anything stupid, LibraryLady?
There's a demonstrably huge difference between "stupid" and "suicidally/fatally stupid".

There's also something called a "tu quoque" fallacy.
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Old 16th January 2007, 03:35 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Without even reading the OP the answer is obvious to me - you got all the brains!
Actually, that was the other brother, but thanks!

Originally Posted by hgc View Post
LiberyLady, your brother is of a youthful spirit. He's got that childlike quality of blithe invulnerability, impervious to motality. He'll enjoy life right up to its sudden end. Be happy for him.

It wears thin after the person passes 65 years old.

Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
Mabey she just wants the life insurance.
She's not that significant; they've only dated for a year.

Originally Posted by Patsy View Post

I have Celiac Sprue, which means I must avoid all wheat gluten. All. Even the teeniest bit. The effects of eating wheat are serious, painful, dangerous and long lasting for a Celiac. Even given that, I've encountered plenty of my fellow Celiacs that just aren't careful about ascertaining what is in food before they eat it. Hell, I've seen them deliberately eat stuff just because they want it, knowing they will be sick for days or weeks. Rank stupidity, just breathtakingly rank stupidity.

In speaking to others about Celiacs and how you must avoid all wheat gluten, their first comment is commonly "oh, I couldn't do that." Pointing out the serious consequences of gluten on Celiacs and how ill you are for how long after even a small accidental ingestion will usually elicit "yeah, but I still couldn't do that." Okay, at that point, I've got to wonder how they've avoided killing themselves by sticking their tongue in a light socket, but whatever turns them on.
My brother-in-law is Celiac, and it's a miserable condition. It was only diagnosed about 5 years ago; he's been sick all his life. After the diagnosis and change in diet, he looked like a completely different person! However, it left his heart damaged. I know it's rough, but at least you work on it.

Originally Posted by Jorghnassen View Post
I hope your bro knows that pesto contains pine nuts... I learned that the hard way because I let my guard down once. It was not a pleasant experience but then, I'm not that allergic, though I always carry my Epipen. I have yet to use it after 18 years of carrying one (are they allowed on board planes?). And I tell everyone I've never had dinner with before about my allergies.
He knows, thanks.

Originally Posted by TV's Frank View Post
And you've never done anything stupid, LibraryLady?
Not twice! And certainly not the same thing over and over!

The stupidest thing I've ever done was get into a car the driver of which was stoned. I only did that once. No accident, no one was hurt, but I still wake up at night wondering how I could do something that idiotic. But I only did it once.
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Old 16th January 2007, 04:19 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
I prefer to think about it as nature's way of weeding out those with inadequate or faulty survival instincts. I feel less cynical that way.
I've been having a cynical kind of day, as everyone at work was encountering problems they couldn't solve, and instead of trying to think them out, they ran around in circles going "oh noes" and wringing their hands. It is, unfortunately, my job to fix it when things go that far off the rails. You know, one of those days when you seem seriously outnumbered by the stupids.
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Old 16th January 2007, 04:24 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by LibraryLady View Post
My brother-in-law is Celiac, and it's a miserable condition. It was only diagnosed about 5 years ago; he's been sick all his life. After the diagnosis and change in diet, he looked like a completely different person! However, it left his heart damaged. I know it's rough, but at least you work on it.
I'm truly sorry to hear that it was not diagnosed until so much damage was done. I feel lucky to have been diagnosed before any serious, irreversable damage was done. I wish that people were regulary screened, or even educated about Celiac's to avoid stories like your BIL's.

It can be a terrible disease, but if you are fortunate enough to find out early on and take proper care of your diet, it doesn't have to be. The difference between prior to diagnoses and after eliminating gluten is so pronounced that it really is difficult for me to comprehend why some Celiac's don't take proper care.
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Old 16th January 2007, 05:06 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by LibraryLady View Post
Not twice! And certainly not the same thing over and over!
That is the point, isn't it? We can all do stupid things that have bad consequences. Doing them again is really stupid. Neglecting precautions because you neglected them yesterday without repurcussions is really stupid.
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Old 16th January 2007, 06:00 PM   #27
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Food has a strong effect on people causing them to do all sorts of things which are bad for their health. I mean it's sustenance and yet so much more for many people.
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Old 16th January 2007, 06:57 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Dogdoctor View Post
Food has a strong effect on people causing them to do all sorts of things which are bad for their health. I mean it's sustenance and yet so much more for many people.
You sound like someone who eats to live rather than lives to eat. Which is cool. I'm intermediate myself.

On the other hand, there's a difference between having a high cholesterol count (if you bother to find out) and having your throat close up when you need it to breath through. Both are health issues, but ...
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Old 16th January 2007, 08:02 PM   #29
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This brings up a more general question: why do people do irrational things? Most of us behave irrationally quite frequently, but most of the time the consequences are minor or trivial.

Irrational behavior when the consequenses are severe, as in your brother's case, are much less frequent, but all too common. Your brother is no doubt aware that he is vulnerable to house salad dressings, but is in denial about the likelihood of having a problem with it. As you describe it, he has had a problem only a few times in his life, and so far he has not suffered any permanent damage. He would rather take a chance than have to constantly check on the ingredients of the food that he eats in restaurants. And he can't be bothered to carry an up-to-date epipen, it's probably more trouble than it's worth, in his opinion. Some people won't wear seatbelts when they drive, no matter what the statistics show about how seatbelts lessen injury in an accident.

Risk is usually defined as the probability of something happening times the consequences if it does happen. Many people routinely take risks where the likelihood of damage is very low, even if the consequences are very high. It seems that frequently, people don't evaluate risk rationally. If an event is sufficiently unlikely, many people ignore it even when the consequences are extreme (like sudden death, for example). Many of us aren't able to properly evaluate risk, it seems. Probability is a foreign concept to many.
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Old 16th January 2007, 08:16 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Patsy View Post
..... The difference between prior to diagnoses and after eliminating gluten is so pronounced that it really is difficult for me to comprehend why some Celiac's don't take proper care.

I made significant brownie points with someone who has Celiac's by finding some recipes in the 1975 Joy of Cooking that were gluten free. One particular favorite that I made from that was the gingerbread that used a combination of rice flour and cornstarch.

By the way, from the very few Celiac's that I know... they were often affected differently. But my knowledge is severely limited...

But one thing I have learned: Rice flour makes excellent lump free gravy.
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Old 17th January 2007, 03:31 AM   #31
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I am going to go full bore and defend the stupid brother. He does have a sister that does not know how stupid she is.
4. It would be very rare for him to have to worry about nuts. He has gone many decades and it has not killed him yet so what is the problem?

3. If he is killed by eating nuts that will not be hit problem so why should he take precautions?

2. Yelling at him only damages the relationship with your brother.

1. I am overdue for bed.

Hope you had a good laugh at my expense.
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Old 17th January 2007, 04:10 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by LibraryLady View Post
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Without even reading the OP the answer is obvious to me - you got all the brains!
Actually, that was the other brother, but thanks!
You got the looks, then?
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Old 17th January 2007, 05:02 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
You got the looks, then?
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Old 17th January 2007, 07:20 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Hydrogen Cyanide View Post
I made significant brownie points with someone who has Celiac's by finding some recipes in the 1975 Joy of Cooking that were gluten free. One particular favorite that I made from that was the gingerbread that used a combination of rice flour and cornstarch.

By the way, from the very few Celiac's that I know... they were often affected differently. But my knowledge is severely limited...

But one thing I have learned: Rice flour makes excellent lump free gravy.
I have several gluten free cook books, and subscribe to a couple gluten free magazines that publish recipes. I'd be happy to share any recipes I have with anyone who wants them. I'm also lucky enough to be quite near a Wild Oats store; they carry lots of gluten free bread, cake, pizza dough, and cookie mixes as well as gluten free pastas. It makes it a lot easier to cook.

Celiacs disease is an auto-immune disorder. While the more minor symptoms may very from person to person, the effect on the lower intestines it the same. Celiacs damages the lining of the intestine. You haven't lived until you are constantly sloughing and excreting the lining of your own intestines . If untreated you are constantly suffering from malnutrition due to maladsorbtion of the nutrients in your food. I personally suffer severe headaches, fatique and depression, and joint pain as well as all the classic symptoms listed below from any accidental ingestion of gluten.

Here is a snippet from Celiac.org regarding the symptoms of Celiacs disease.

Classic symptoms may include:
  • abdominal cramping, intestinal gas, distention and bloating
  • chronic diarrhea or constipation (or both)
  • steatorrhea -- fatty stools
  • anemia - unexplained, due to folic acid, B12, or iron deficiency (or all)
  • weight loss with large appetite, or weight gain
Other symptoms:
  • dental enamel defects
  • osteopenia, osteoporosis
  • bone or joint pain
  • fatigue, weakness and lack of energy
  • infertility - male/female
  • depression
  • Aphthous ulcers
Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) is skin manifestation of celiac disease characterized by blistering, intensely itchy skin. The rash has a symmetrical distribution and is most frequently found on the face, elbows, knees and buttocks. DH patients can have gastrointestinal damage without perceptible symptoms.
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Old 17th January 2007, 08:26 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Patsy View Post
I...Celiacs disease is an auto-immune disorder. While the more minor symptoms may very from person to person, the effect on the lower intestines it the same. ....
One person I knew may have also had an allergy, because when he encountered gluten he also broke out in a rash.

His desk was near mine at work over 20 years ago. He got a celiac newsletter by snail mail... so he shared lots of information. I also know he did not have a problem with chocolates, because he manage to consume most of the box I brought back from the Netherlands!

It used to be only the health food stores had the gluten-free bread, but I noticed some at the higher end grocery stores (Whole Foods). Also there seem to be restaurants that claim to be gluten and casein free... but they seem to be full of nuts (the tree kind, because they are also vegetarian).
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Old 17th January 2007, 08:34 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Hydrogen Cyanide View Post
One person I knew may have also had an allergy, because when he encountered gluten he also broke out in a rash.
Could be a milder manifestion of dermatitis herpetiformis. Or an allergy, as you say. How unlucky would you have to be to have Celiacs AND a gluten allergy? At least I don't have any of the skin manifestations, oh, how that would hurt my vanity .
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