We don't have many cultural markers for significant events in our lives. We acquire and lose our fertility in secret, we lose family and friends without the outward markers Victorians had - the black armband served a real purpose. The only real way society recognises our passage through time is with the onslaughts of immunisation and screening programmes.
These musing were prompted by my first mammogram. I expected the process to remind me of the tropical inoculations I got three decades ago before a student trip to India. We lined up, buttocks exposed - jab, arms exposed - jab. The breast screening clinic is a portacabin in a car park. They are brisk and efficient but at least there are individual cubicles. Sight is restricted though not sound or smell, and the air soon grew pungent with the stench of the heavy smoker who followed me.
What is the place of this in a blog about gluten? Simply that they say it won't hurt much. It didn't, but there was no suggestion that you could chose a time slot that would fit in with your menstrual cycle Before I gave up gluten I have very painful breasts for about half of each month. Regular massage with fennel oil helped, but if I had been compressed to that level then it would have made me want to scream, never mind the lack of auditory seclusion. Now I would still try to chose to avoid the few days before each period.
Gluten destroyed my joints, gave me migraines, made me feel despairing. I was seriously thinking about how much worse I would have to get before I wouldn't be prepared to stay alive anymore. I closed down my business, became a recluse, lost all my hobbies. It's not just about painful guts, it's a painful life.
So, if you wonder why I do nothing but find ways of making great gluten free food and encouraging others to make visiting and joining in possible, remember, if I hadn't changed my diet I'd have been doing nothing at all. Helping a few people to avoid those tribulations, or making it easier to feel a normal part of society is a worthwhile use of my time.