Have You Ever Experienced Food Poisoning?

Does This Look Like The Face Of Food Poisoning?
A selfie of Poo and I in the car sporting big smiles.
Our first day, of 9, on the road for our long-awaited vacation. I escaped the food borne illness until day #5.


Dear Lindsey, (The contact for AJ’s Restaurants)

 I am writing to you about my visit to AJ’s Oyster Shanty, on Santa Rosa Blvd.,  Okaloosa Island, Monday, June 18, 2018.
My husband and I arrived somewhere around 6:30pm and asked to be seated outdoors.  The entertainment provided by the solo singer was fantastic.  I believe the waitress, who said she had only been with your establishment for 2 weeks, thought his name was Justin.  I’ve never been more impressed with a restaurant entertainer, he was quite good!


The artist on a small stage playing guitar and singing.
The solo artist singing at AJ’s Shanty Oyster Bar on Okaloosa Island.
Compliments aside, I am not contacting you about a positive experience.
We started with drinks and splurged on an appetizer of steamed oysters.  My husband ordered the deep-fried shrimp, for dinner, which came with fries and a very small side of coleslaw.  I ordered the $7 salad and added the blackened fish for $9 and, no salad dressing.
Our food arrived, all appeared well, and tasted fine.  My husband does not like coleslaw and always offers his to me and, while I decline most of the time because of the added calories, this time I accepted.  I expected the salad to have more tomatoes and “extras,”  but because it did not and was quite dry, I added the coleslaw to my salad and mixed it in.  It was very good this way and added some moisture.
A blue and white kite with airplanes on it, high in the sky.
Just one of the big kites we saw outside our condo rental.
Sometimes my husband and I share our food, or try each others choices, however, on this particular night he did not try any of my meal.  He did not get sick, which makes me think it was confined to the salad, fish or coleslaw.
I have experienced mild food poisoning before, (and you know when you’ve been exposed to it because the symptoms come on very quickly, within a few hours after consumption), but nothing like this before!
By midnight, that night, I was awakened to severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, sweating, chills, fever, headache, along with a few additional tokens.  Although I did combat nausea, luckily I did not endure any vomiting.
The curtains of the bedroom depict monkeys dressed up in clothes, climbing coconut trees.
Every sleepless night I spent, because of the food poisoning, I would wake up to these creepy little monkeys staring me in the face.
I knew what had happened, however I was prepared to “let it go,”  even realizing that these symptoms were more severe than I have ever encountered with a bad meal.  Ignorantly I still believed, most likely, I would feel better within a day. 
Not so………
Poo and I with our feet propped up on the balcony, looking at the beach.
Trying to relax on the balcony.
It is now Saturday the 23rd, and we have not even been back home in Indiana for 24 hours, yet I am still suffering the consequences of someone’s extremely irresponsible food care practices.  Someone, or several that your company employ.
I can’t tell you how disappointed I was with the rest of my vacation week.  Because I am a small business owner, me being the sole owner and operator with limited vacation time, I not only look forward to my time off but fully embrace the juncture.   
The view from our balcony, starting with the dunes, followed by white sand, clear blue water with cresting waves and a baby blue sky speckled with patches of white clouds.
The view from our balcony.
Each subsequent day, I thought about calling or stopping by to inform you of the negligence that took place at your establishment at my expense and each day, I thought to myself, “I’ll give it one more day and I know I’ll feel better.”
After being subjected to such prolonged agony I felt it necessary to, not only, make you aware of AJ’s involvement, I also feel it only fair to inform you that I am contacting the Okaloosa County Health Department, as well as filing a complaint with the Florida Department of Health.
If I am still experiencing the food poisoning symptoms by Monday, the 25th of June, I will be contacting my personal physician for advice on how to proceed.
A sunset walk on the beach.
A sunset walk on the beach.
I sincerely hope that you will investigate this incident and I have attached a copy of my receipt, which documents the time and date of our service, in hopes that it will aid you in your research.
Our receipt from the restaurant.
Our bill from the restaurant.
Thank you for your time,
Hmmmmm?   I wonder if I will receive a reply?
Poo said my email was too nice.
Maybe …….
It did kind of ruin our vacation.   But we made the best of it, I mean really, what else can you do?
Picture of the book I've been reeding. "The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen. 83 1/2 Years Old"
Because I wasn’t feeling too energetic, I did get a little extra reading done on the beach.
So, when you walk into a restaurant, make your choices wisely.  Also be sure to carefully wash your produce and store all perishable items properly.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 6 Americans contract a food-borne illness each year.  128,000 people end up in the hospital and 3,000 die as a result.
Even tainted water can cause this illness.
List of foods most likely to cause a food borne illness:

  1. Leafy Greens – nearly 1/2 stem from produce, mainly greens
  2. Dairy
  3. Contaminated Poultry
  4. Undercooked Eggs
  5. Fish & Shellfish
  6. Raw Oysters
  7. Baked Potatoes
  8. Home Canned Goods
  9. Beef
  10. Pork
  11. Baby Formula
  12. Berries with crevices

♦If you do find yourself suffering from this horrible illness, it is suggested that you follow the BRAT DIET (bananas, rice, applesauce & toast) until feeling better.  Drink plenty of fluids, avoid alcohol and caffeine.

Mashed banana with ground flax on top of GF toast and water.
It’s what I had for breakfast & lunch ……. Mashed banana with ground flax on top of GF toast.

After doing some research on this issue, it seems as if just about anything has the potential to make us sick.  In my opinion, it comes down to proper cleaning, cooking and storage.

I know, after this episode of food poisoning, I will be paying closer attention to what I order when eating out.

Or maybe, I’ll just stay home and only eat what comes out of my garden.

A large pile of jalapenos from my garden.
These babies were waiting for us when we returned from vacation.

Because I have a sensitivity to gluten, many times my food choices are limited when eating out, and salad (minus the croutons) is the most common item I order.  It is, not only the safest and easiest choice but, the item I can order without playing “20 questions” with the waitress, which bends towards annoyance.

It is now Monday, 8 days after my encounter with “something evil”  and I am still experiencing symptoms.

Calling my Doctor ……………….

“I got food poisoning today.  I don’t know when I’ll use it.”                  –  Steven Wright

xoxo, Katy

*Authors Note:  I am 99.9% sure where and when I got this food poisoning and I narrowed it down to what foods.