I think something that is really difficult for David and I to remember is that for the general population food allergies are something of an abstract idea - never mind moving into the idea that corn isn't JUST a "food" allergy. The rude deli worker, the less than helpful waitress, the lack of response from a company when inquired.... It's not personal - for THEM. For the allergy afflicted, however, it's VERY personal.
Thankfully with both the peanut and soy allergy the problem shoots through David - literally. Uncomfortable for him, miserable if out in public and nothing he can do/take to slow it down (because again, corn isn't just a food allergy - it's in every OTC medication we have ever tried).
Corn however sits in his system and wrecks havoc for WEEKS.
Unless a person has a food allergy themselves or has PREPARED food for someone with a food allergy on a regular basis, they just won't get it. Period. Yes, eating gluten free is all the rage - but many people do it by choice so if they stumble into something contaminated they are fine. Again, it's not personal - for THEM.
We do run into the occasional really friendly, helpful waitress or manager. The occasional extra sweet deli worker that is willing to let me read the labels on the packages. And sometimes we are lucky enough to contact someone at a company that is sensitive to our situation. But again, it's the exception not the rule.
When I start getting defensive -
(Hey this is MY husband we are talking about here - I work REALLY, REALLY, REALLY hard to make sure that our home, our "stuff", our food, our cleaning products and on and on are safe. So when someone else screws it up because of carelessness it's aggravating beyond words.)
- I remind myself that it's not a personal attack. Sometimes it "feels" that way but it's not. And my getting irate with a restaurant worker or store manager isn't going to help anything. Thankfully, I have never lost my cool but I have watched other people. (Let's just say that NO one looks attractive having a melt down in public - even if for a good reason.) Rather, I attempt to educate as best I can. Some are very receptive while others, have no interest. Again, it's not personal for THEM.
We are blessed to have family and friends that try really hard - and we are thankful. When people want to have us over for dinner I often bring the food and cook myself. Occasionally I will recommend a simple meat and veggie meal with no breads and no spices please. If fat is needed, please use olive oil. (This is David's food allergy but because I do the bulk of the shopping and cooking/baking I am the most familiar with ingredients. He is learning out of necessity and can even make a mean brownie.)
We have to be our own advocates. No one else will. No one else understands. Even with family and close friends. And hey while it is personal for the allergic person, it's not personal against the well intended.
*Sadly the most recent picture I could find of this "corn free" family is nearly 3 years old.*