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The Gluten Incident

Hi again. It’s Alexis. I wanted to give you all more insight about what really happened to me during my gluten incident back in August.  The reason why is because no matter how careful you are, it can still happen to you.

For 8 years, I have been gluten-free. My parents are so cautious about the brands they buy, calling companies, pre-planning vacations and restaurants, etc. We always knew that all its takes is one mistake to trigger other autoimmune diseases or cause complications. While preparing for this vacation, we called the hotel and asked them about cooking gluten-free.  We emailed the chefs about cooking gluten-free and we even had a letter written in Spanish telling them about gluten-free, the risks, cross-contamination and how to safely prepare my food. They said it was no problem because they do it all the time.  

The first day we arrived at this hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico, the concierge was waiting for us and knew all about me. He said the chefs were aware we had arrived and were ready to cook for me gluten-free with no problem.  The first night at the Italian restaurant, the chef greeted me and offered to make me gluten-free pasta. It was delicious! He told me that tomorrow morning another chef could make me gluten-free pancakes. I was so excited. 

Alexis and family

That next morning I was so excited to enjoy my first full day in Mexico.  I planned on joining all the activities at the Kids Club after breakfast.  At breakfast, the chef greeted me at the door and said “Would you like gluten-free pancakes?” My mom handed him the note in Spanish giving specific instructions on gluten-free cooking. The pancakes were good and I ate the whole entire plate.

After breakfast, I went to the Kids Club with my brother. We did some puzzles and then we went on a Scavenger Hunt looking for animals all over the hotel. I started throwing up during the Scavenger Hunt.  At this point, we were far from where my parents were sitting. I got so embarrassed, but I couldn’t stop throwing up. They walked me along with the rest of the kids all the way back to find my parents.  When my mom saw me, she knew right away what was going on. Those pancakes were not gluten-free!  I had already thrown up 10 times. My parents rushed me to the room. 

I couldn’t stop vomiting once I was in the room and I started feeling faint. My father called down and asked for a doctor to come right away. The hotel we were at had their own medical clinic on the grounds.  A doctor came to see me and said I was extremely dehydrated.  At this point, I was laying in the bed in and out of consciousness and just waking up to vomit. We lost track after my 30th time of vomiting.

  Alexis in the hospital  

The hotel called an ambulance for me. We had to wait 45 minutes for the ambulance to come because it was coming from Cancun.  By the time the ambulance came, I was barely conscious. They carried me down a flight of stairs and put me in the ambulance. My mom and little brother got in the back with me, and my dad sat up front.  We drove for 45 minutes to the Cancun Hospital. In the midst of this nightmare, the paramedic started screaming to the other one and they pulled over. My vital signs had dropped. They hooked me up to oxygen and then started an emergency IV on me. It was so scary. 

Being in a Mexican hospital was scary. Although it was clean and the doctors were nice, we weren’t in our own country. I was in the hospital for 8 hours, where they pumped me up with IV fluid and nausea medication. They wanted to admit me, but my parents weren’t comfortable with me being in a hospital there.  My mom knew that she had to fast me for the next 24 hours and slowly give me bland foods. Luckily, she had brought gluten-free foods with her. This whole experience was such a nightmare. 

To summarize, it takes only a little bit of gluten - or in my case, a whole plate of gluten - to change your life in a flash.   

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