I wanted to write a post about all the fun the I had this weekend, but instead I need to write about something much more serious.

I got poisoned this weekend.  I’m sure it wasn’t intentional on the part of the poisoner, nor was it intentional on my part, but it happened all the same.  The poison in my case: WHEAT.

Let’s follow the progression that occurs after I ingest wheat:

The first thing that happens is NOTHING.  That’s right.  For the first 12 hours, I blithely live my life without the slightest suspicion that I’ve been poisoned.  

The following morning, I will wake up feeling groggy and hung over.  I’ll assume, incorrectly, that I didn’t get enough sleep and maybe I need a little more caffiene than usual to get my day started.  But instead of getting better throughout the day, I’ll get worse.  My joints will begin to ache.

The joint aches start slowly.  The bigger the joint, the more pain.  So that means hips: Sacro-iliac joints as well as the big ball and socket joint.  Over the course of the next 12 hours the pain in my pelvis will increase until I feel like every place a bone comes in contact with another bone is on fire.  Usually the pain in my hips will distract me from the pain in all my other joints: wrists, finger, elbows, knees and even the places where my ribs attach to my spine and breastbone.  And let’s not forget all those joints in the spinal column.

Most people have experienced this type of pain when then have the flu.  Then it’s a dull acheyness that is very uncomfortable, but since it’s accompanied by fever, etc., and you know that you’re ill, and that there’s an end to makes it bearable.  This is worse.  It is more intense, more “on fire” and it will get much worse before it gets better.  It will take around 72 hours – that’s 3 days – from the point of ingestion to the peak of the pain.

Some few hours after that starts the muscle pain begins.  That follow the same pattern as the joint pain.  Starting in my hips and legs.  To relate what this pain is like, let’s just say that I woke up from a dream in which someone was inserting live electrical rods into my hips to see how much pain they could cause me.  I woke up from the dream, but unfortunately didn’t wake up from the pain.  The pain was real.  This also builds until it reaches it’s peak after 3 days.

Imagine now that the only way you can be somewhat comfortable is lying flat on your back.  Sitting is unbearable because of the pressure on your pelvic and hip joints.  Standing is unbearable because of the pressure on your spinal joints.  You can’t do anything with your hands because of the pain in your wrists, fingers and shoulders…and the only pain reliever that gives you any kind of relief is narcotic, which means you can’t think, read or have a conversation.  Or you suffer with the pain, so at least you make some sense.

Did I mention the fatigue?  The bone-weary feeling that you can.  Not.  Take.  One.  More.  Step.  Or keep your eyes open….One….More….Minute.  That in order to function at all you must get between 9 and 12 hours of sleep.

And then there are the cognitive issues.  Fuzzy-headedness, inability to retain information, general malaise, depression.  None of these symptoms are manufactured.  All of them have been documented in thousands of people with gluten or wheat intolerances.

Now, for the worst part.  Although it takes 3 days for these symptoms to reach their full intensity, it takes THREE WEEK for them to disappear.

Where did this poisoning occur?  I don’t know.  I tried really hard to keep my food clean. I made sure the hot dog (no bun) was Hebrew National (gluten free).  I read the label on the salad dressing (no wheat).  I ignored the pasta salad.  I ate grapes and ignored the 3 delicious looking pies that were the table.  But I didn’t check was the potato salad (commercial) or the baked beans, and I have to think that there was a stabilizer or a food starch that was wheat based  – and I’m paying a terrible price for it.

Lesson learned.  Read every label, every single time.  If it’s been commercially prepared, don’t eat it if you can’t read the label.

See you all after Labor Day.

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1 comment to Poisoned

  • Tim

    Oy, Can’t have KC Masterpiece… BBQ sauce.. Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Molasses, Vinegar, less than 2% of: Spices, Natural Hickory Smoke Flavor, Natural Flavors, Modified Food Starch, Salt, Xanthan Gum, Dried Onion, Dried Garlic, Caramel Color, Turmeric, Paprika Extracts.

    “Modified Food Starch=Wheat Gluten”