Just a quick post as a reminder to fight your own fights. No one will fight for your causes more than you. Here's a story for a bit of perspective:
Husband and I booked a trip to Mexico months before my Celiac diagnosis. We randomly purchased trip insurance, just because you never know! Well fast forward to March/April - I received a Celiac diagnosis. I remembered we had planned a May trip to Mexico and I was starting to get nervous about what foods would be available on our trip. It was an all-inclusive resort with no kitchen facility in our room.
I contacted the hotel ahead of time who assured me there was food available for me to eat. I relunctantly, and nervously, decided to go, in the hopes that this hotel would get it right for me. Plus, what could I do? Stop living my life? I packed my suitcase with nuts and protein bars as a back-up, and off we went.
The first night there I cried at the dinner table because I didn't know what to eat. The hotel staff prepared me a special plate of food however, and I relaxed a little. This would be easy. I can do this. I was to hand them special meal cards at every meal and they would accommodate me. I explained about cross contamination to the best of my abilities, and the card highlighted information about safe prep in the Spanish language.
However, we arrived back in our hotel that evening and I already had a rumbling tummy and a few hours later, an upset stomach to boot. I played with the possibility that maybe it was from an earlier meal, not at the resort, and I shrugged it off.
However, the upset stomach persisted every day on the trip, despite the resorts claims that they were safely preparing the meals. I never ate from the buffets; every meal was specially prepared for me that the hotel said was gluten-free. Short of only eating the nuts and bars that I brought, I didn't know what else to do. So I bedgrudingly left the room every day, nervous of another upset stomach, attack of diarrhea, or whatever else was going to come my way. I ate the food that they prepared. And every day, I didn't feel well.
On the 3rd day there, my husband urged us to buy return tickets home, and we flew home. I didn't want to leave. I felt bad that my husband had to cut his trip short because of my disease. But my body couldn't handle the food anymore and who knew what kind of internal damage it was doing.
We submitted a claim using our trip insurance upon our arrival home. I'm not a huge believer in buyng these policies, but we got lucky this time, especially because we bought it before I even had a diagnosis. We carefully filled out all the forms and submitted the claim.
It was rejected. They said I needed to be seen by a doctor while on the trip to validate my illness OR it had to be so disabling an illness that I had no choice to return home. Apparently they didn't think it was disabling, and I didn't see a physician on vacation because I didn't want to pay for him to tell me what I already knew: I was getting poisoned by food my body couldn't handle.
I was mad. My husband was mad. We spent extra money on the flight to return home. Who would do that without a valid reason? This rejection was another reminder that Celiac isn't taken seriously.
We submitted an appeal on the claim via the insurance board in our state, as instructed in the rejection letter.
Today was got a response. We were getting a refund. A big one, even covering the cost of our extra return flight home. I almost cried when my husband called to tell me the news.
It was a reminder to me to keep fighting the fight. No one will stand up for you, but you. And the refund was validation. Validation that I have a disease that needs to be taken seriously. And hopefully a wake up call to hotels and other food providers that if you promise, and you don't deliver, there should and will be consequences.
Today, I won a battle. A tiny battle. But it was a huge reminder to never stop fighting.
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