Although we at Foodsmatter are neither doctors nor a support group, we do, inevitably get asked for help, especially by those who are battling with newly diagnosed allergies. While we would never give any medical advice we do usually try to make a few useful suggestions in terms of food strategies etc.
About ten days ago one of these ‘please help I am thoroughly confused’ emails came through and I must admit that my heart sank as it included a quite long list of queries. Anyhow, I buckled down and, in fact, it did not take me long to answer most of the lady’s questions and copy/paste in a list of products containing corn (one of the foods to which she had found she is now allergic) – and thought no more about it beyond wishing her well.
I was therefore somewhat surprised to receive the following email from her about two days later:
Thank you ever so much for all of your help. Did you know that out of everyone whom I have approached for help and guidance, you are the only one who has actually taken the time and trouble to read my comments and respond pertinently instead of just fobbing me off with a pre-composed reply and attaching generic factsheets which are only vaguely relevant and don’t answer my specific questions. Consider me very impressed!
She then asked another few questions about funghi and moulds and ended by saying:
Thank you again for all of your very much appreciated help and support. As I say above, out of everyone – including specialist allergy organisations and even my own hospital, you are the only one who has actually provided tangible guidance – bless you.
Well, obviously, I was delighted that my efforts had been so appreciated (and answered her further questions!) – but I was shocked that she had got so little help elsewhere. Yes, it can be hard work answering individual queries, especially if they are complicated – but I thought that was what support groups and specialists were all about! Anyone can send out a leaflet but even the most detailed leaflet rarely addresses complex allergy problems which are nearly always very specific to the person concerned.
I am sure that she had just been unlucky as I know that there are genuinely helpful resources out there staffed by people who will take endless time and trouble with individual queries – but it is disappointing that they are apparently so hard to find…