27 December 2011

eating doughnuts in the service of science

As both of you know, I've been off the wheat for a while. It's an experiment spurned by the fact that half my family can't eat wheat. Nothing doing. My mother, my aunt Helen, & Helen's daughter Fiona developed celiac disease as adults; Helen's son Steeve has been allergic since birth; & then there's Kevin.

Kevin stopped eating wheat when he noticed it was dragging him down. He just didn't feel good when he ate it. And his symptoms lined up more or less with his celiac-disease-having relatives, so he just stopped. Now, he feels better. This is more or less where I'm at, too. The next step is to go to the doctor to get tested for it.

The thing is, the test for celiac disease is, in fact, a test for the presence of antibodies against an aberrant converted wheat protein. If I have been excellent about not eating wheat, there won't be any antibodies, & I'll get a negative (whether my mutant genes are modifying the antibody-triggering proteins not). In order for the test to be meaningful, I have to eat wheat again to trigger the protein conversion. 

The other thing is, the body is a very adaptable thing. When it notes that you, the User, aren't regularly introducing what it views as a disease to the system, it heaves a huge sigh of relief & happily goes about focusing its attention to other things. Biking, drawing, writing, doing crossword puzzles, thinking about prime numbers, having benevolence toward humanity. It's not girding itself for a great battle every single day. So then let's say your doc tells you to eat wheat in order to intentionally trigger the mutant protein-conversion process, to get the antibodies to show up, for the sake of the test. But while I, the User, know that a great battle is coming, my internal organs & wheat-protein-converting mutant genes ... don't. They are blindsided, having been long out of battle. And the battle is worse than when the antibodies fought for the User back in her doughnut days. Kevin opts out. It was bad enough before, he doesn't need a battle today, thanks. I, myself, went into battle recently when I fucked up one night & drank a beer. I felt sick for two days.

It was a Maredsous 8 Brune. And it was worth it.

Kevin's solution is to not eat that doughnut, to not get tested. I like Kevin's solution. It's not that I don't trust or need medical confirmation, it's that it would be merely that — confirmation of something that I viscerally know to be true. I'm still in the midst of the experiment. I said I'd give it a couple months, & it's only been a few weeks. However, I'm not certain I want to intentionally make myself sick when the couple months are up. You can call it willful ignorance, if you like. I call it refusing to curse the darkness & instead just lighting a candle. We'll see.

Speaking of lighting candles, here's a thing Errol Morris wrote about the benefits of cursing the darkness. He is a funny doughnut-eater.

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