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Those dreaded words!

My office is nice in the sense that we get a cake everytime someone has a birthday. This week was one of the Editor's birthdays and we knew to avoid getting her anything with nuts or strawberries. Two of my coworkers went out and bought an apple pie and whipped cream, only to learn that the birthday girl is not just allergic to strawberries and nuts, but to almost all fruits. She took it all in stride, but I was fuming on the inside when her boss came over, helped himself to a heaping slice of pie and said "Well, I'm not allergic to apples."

This is an incredibly sensitive issue to me, as I was always made to feel like a burden when I was first diagnosed with Crohn's and had to stick to a very restricted diet. It resonated with me when another of our bosses snarked "Is there anything you can eat??" I HATE THAT PHRASE! I would get it all the time as a kid and my attitude was, if I'm such a burden on you stop hanging out with me. Other gems were "Boy, it sucks to be you," "Your life sucks," and "You were so much more fun before you were sick." Uh, have you been diagnosed with Terret's Syndrome, because that's the only acceptable excuse for saying such insensitive things. It never ceases to amaze me how stupid people can be when it comes to the feelings of the chronically ill. The thing that upsets me the most, however, is that my boss is a scientist working for a journal based out of a medical school. Just more proof that those working in the medical field and it's offshoots should be properly trained in interpersonal skills as a pre-requisite.

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