Crap. It happened again. In contrast to the ‘fake news’ I published earlier on Facebook showing photos of delicious food depicting a fab night out – the truth is quite a different story.

I booked a surprise birthday dinner for my boyfriend at Vanilla Black restaurant. Something a little bit fancier than our local (but equally fabulous) Turkish restaurant. I firstly sent that all important WhatsApp pic to my girlfriends verifying that I did not have camel toe in my beige trousers. It was confirmed that I did not, so myself and my boyfriend headed off. It was all going well. I rarely have a drink but last night I toasted over a delicious apple and gin cocktail. Then the gorgeous food came, it was exciting and so different to go to a veggie restaurant for a change.

I firstly sent that all important WhatsApp pic to my girlfriends verifying that I did not have camel toe in my beige trousers. It was confirmed that I did not, so myself and my boyfriend headed off.

We amused our bouches with something tiny and scrumptious then were served homemade soughdough with some incredible non dairy dried yeast butter. Boyfriend was now on the wine and I continued on water, my favourite tipple. Next came the starters; Smokey Aubergine, Flatbread and Green Harissa Labneh, Aged Garlic and Spiced Pistachio for me and then the pretty mind blowing Cucumber, Sticky Rice, Ginger Purée with Pickled Cucumber Ketchup and Seaweed for my boyfriend.

I felt a bit dizzy but hoped it would disappear as dinner arrived. For him; Fried Shiitake, Pine Nut Purée and Crispy Cous Cous and for me; Cauliflower Dumplings, Parsley, Walnut Crumbs, Pickled Raisins and Roasted Cauliflower. As I lifted my cutlery, it felt heavy and my dizziness had increased. But I love food so I endeavoured and partly thought I just needed to eat. And also it was ridiculously tasty of course!

I knew something was wrong as I struggled to finish half a dumpling. Then the familiar symptoms occurred. The room was spinning and I couldn’t breathe but I knew it was too late to go outside or even attempt stand. Each time I blinked it was difficult to open my eyes until I couldn’t open them anymore. I felt so nauseous I was sure I would throw up but luckily didn’t. My head was in my hands but I couldn’t hold it up any longer and so it ended up on the table. I could hear my boyfriend speaking to me and felt him holding my hand but couldn’t respond. Bless the waiting staff who sensitively tried to help without making a scene for the rest of the customers.

I eventually came round enough to stand and my boyfriend took me to the toilet. He kept popping in like a dodgy botherer (to check I was still conscious). I have always described previous episodes as mostly semi conscious but I discovered last night I am falling fully unconscious more than I realise, as I learnt that my boyfriend had taken my pulse which I have no recollection of.

We eventually got a cab home as neither of us wanted to go to A&E again after last time, even though that is what I have been instructed to do by my neurologist and every doctor I have seen. This may seem irresponsible but A&E waiting times are far too long and cold for someone with chronic autoimmune illness and I always end up in a lot more pain. Furthermore, the longer we wait, the longer I am exposed to the germs and bacteria of other A&E patients which is very dangerous for someone with Rheumatoid Arthritis. But in truth we never really know what the outcome is going to be, we assume I will regain consciousness again, but each time my boyfriend is left dreading the worse and left alone to make the decision of calling an ambulance or not. Making me endure A&E or not.

A&E waiting times are far too long and cold for someone with chronic autoimmune illness and I always end up in a lot more pain. Furthermore, the longer we wait, the longer I am exposed to the germs and bacteria of other A&E patients which is very dangerous for someone with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

I felt I knew the outcome anyway from last time, my heart rate and blood pressure was still below satisfactory levels after hours of being monitored. But overall I would still be none the wiser as to why this happens or if it’s even worth asking why. In the New Year I underwent some pretty traumatic autonomic neurological tests to look into this and am seeing the neurologist next month but I’m so highly autoimmune maybe the result is just *because*.

Today I am extremely drained, my head is on fire and I have little appetite (some might say the latter being enough for me to go to A&E). But I just feel bad that my boyfriend didn’t get the full experience of the special birthday dinner I had planned for him since November or the special dessert the restaurant had prepared for him. Not that he cared, he was just worried about me. Its pretty awesome I am with someone so understanding. But then quite frankly if he wasn’t I wouldn’t be with him! I know from online autoimmune communities that not everyone has such an empathetic partner. In fact disabled women are more than twice as likely to have abusive partners than the rest of the population.

..not everyone has such an empathetic partner. In fact disabled women are more than twice as likely to have abusive partners than the rest of the population.

Domestic violence perpetrated against disabled people: Women’s Aid 

But I guess at the very basic level, it’s just so frustrating that I cannot just enjoy a ‘normal’ night out without being hounded by my own body. It was also a shame as I was ready hours in advance for once.

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