Fun with Allergies

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Mar 152010

A number of years ago, I started getting sick after we had pizza.

No one else in the family got sick. Just me. Several hours after eating I would experience horrible gut cramps. Generally I would spend the rest of the evening on the toilet, praying for death.

Needless to say, for a while I stopped eating pizza.

One night I made myself some garlic-butter shrimp. Several hours later, I had the same reaction I had from the pizza.

Putting two and two together, I deduced I was having a reaction to the garlic.

That sucked. I love garlic.

I went to a doctor and had them do a blood test. They tested me for allergies to garlic, dairy, and wheat.


Must have been a coincidence. I celebrated by having some garlic bread.

My digestive tract attempted to turn itself inside out. I resumed my self-imposed garlic boycott.

One afternoon Alpha Geek suggested lunch at Firehouse Subs.

“We can go get you something, but I can’t eat there any more,” I replied. “The last few times I’ve eaten their subs I’ve gotten really sick afterwards. I guess it’s too much meat, or something.”

Later, after he’d started on his sub, Alpha Geek remarked, “No wonder you got sick. This meat is drenched in garlic.”

Dammit. I love Firehouse Subs.

A year or so ago, I was having lunch with my friend Romilly, and mentioned my blood test.

“I don’t care what that blood test said,” I concluded, “I’m allergic to garlic.”

“You might have a food sensitivity, rather than a food allergy,” mused Romilly, who has food allergies and is painfully familiar with the topic. “That’s an entirely different test.”

Well, shit. The damn doctor never mentioned that.

Romilly offered the name of her own doctor, who had done a more comprehensive workup and found all her allergies. Unfortunately the tests involved are prohibitively expensive, and the doctor in question does not take insurance—she doesn’t want her treatment to be restricted by what an insurance company decides she should be allowed to do. Our insurance would probably reimburse us, but first there was the matter of having the money to start with.

So (nearing the end of my rambling little tale), we agreed to use our tax refund to cover the cost of this expensive testing and find out once and for all what my gut is reacting to. Is it just the garlic? Is it actually something else, and the garlic is just making it worse?

I’ve already been in for a preliminary walkaround and tire-kicking, but I had to put off the followup while I was working all day at the post office in another city. But tomorrow I’ll be going in for the full monty. They’re doing something called an ALCAT blood test. I sincerely hope within a week to know for sure what I can and cannot eat.