It was a busy day, so we decided to take it easy and order fast food a few weeks before Christmas. There are not many vegetarian options, but we have a few places that that we enjoy from time to time. The last time we ordered food from this restaurant we all fell ill. That was a while ago and I assumed the illness and the food were not related, simply a coincidence. This time, we all ate the same things and in the hours, days and weeks that followed, we all had intestinal problems which, this time, I suspected were related to the food. I wrestled with whether or not to report the restaurant. What if I was wrong? What if it was a coincidence? I thought about all the people I know with compromised immune systems. Multiples are especially vulnerable. So are pregnant woman and elderly people among others. I wondered what would happen if one of them ate the food and became critically ill, or worse. I pushed my guilty narc feelings aside, and reported it to the Department of Health.
They took the report and sent an inspector out. I had the least problematic case and my symptoms cleared in a couple of days. Greg had symptoms for weeks and so did the Sugar Snaps. You can imagine that weeks of multiples with intestinal issues is challenging. I felt empathic for their suffering and the symptoms were also pretty gross. We opted to wave goodbye to the impacted underwear. We were supposed to go to my parents’ house for Christmas and had to postpone our trip until after Christmas due to fears of getting them sick (though we don’t really know if it was contagious).
I was persistent about getting a copy of the report and a wonderful supervisor got it to me via email even though the inspector was on vacation until the second week of January. There were a slew of violations including mold on food and beverage surfaces and serving utensils encrusted with “debris.” The report which included “critical violations” of a disturbing nature made me feel like I made the right decision in filing the report. They will be required to fix all the violations and be re-inspected to ensure compliance. Needless to say, we will not be returning there. I called the pediatrician who was on call for the holidays who recommended probiotics. They worked while the BRAT diet did not! The first day the Sugar Snaps felt really healthy was Christmas Day. We were able to make our trip out to see my parents a couple of days later. Have you or anyone you know experienced food borne illness? Please feel free to share your stories in the comments.