Food Poisoned?

March 24, 2008 at 1:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Missus woke up Saturday morning feeling pretty crummy. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s say she spent the entirety of Saturday in a state of extreme abdominal distress. (And I do mean extreme. At one point Saturday evening she nearly called me to have me take her to the emergency room.) Fortunately, Robbie and I appeared to have escaped the illness’s wrath.

Then came Saturday evening. I took Robbie over to my parents’ house for Easter dinner. Even though I was hungry—I had reffed two soccer games earlier in the day, and I had hardly eaten anything all day—I only ate about five bites. Not long after, I was praying at the porcelain throne. I quickly made arrangements for Robbie to spend the night with grandma and grandpa and scooted home. My fun wasn’t over.

The Missus and I were mostly better on Sunday, though both of us were still a little weak and pretty tired. It seemed we had been hit by some sort of 24-hour demon. We were ready to shake it off.

Then this morning there was a short note in my inbox: “Did you guys get sick this weekend?” It was from a friend we had eaten with late last week. Could we have been poisoned by the local eatery we had visited? I’m still waiting to hear back from my friend, but considering our only recent contact was at that restaurant, it looks likely. Damn.

Here’s my question: If my friend confirms similar symptoms, what is our next step? Should we call the Health Department, and if so, which office should we call? Should we call the restaurant?

And another question that’s eating me up (so to speak) ... Should I tell you where we ate? On the one hand, I don’t want to harm a local business if this was a fluke (e.g. a sick person had sat at our table just before we did, having nothing to do with the restaurant or the food) or even a complete coincidence. On the other hand, I don’t want people getting sick, and if this wasn’t a fluke, such an outcome is certainly possible.

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The Comments

foxspit March 24, 2008 at 2:04pm

I would err on the side of caution, myself, and at least ask about the possibility of it being food poisoning. And yes, do tell us.

Gene March 24, 2008 at 2:17pm

Personally, if folks were getting sick after eating at my restaurant I’d want to know in a hurry so I could correct the problem and let people know that I had corrected the problem. I’d think that would be the ultimate in bad publicity.

foxspit March 24, 2008 at 2:25pm

Liz Stinson in Ground Zero may be <u>alluding to</u> a similar experience, although I don’t know where you ate or what you ate.

Mr. T March 24, 2008 at 2:44pm

I ate at the same place Mr. Wilson and co ate at on Saturday and I am totally fine.

jonboy March 24, 2008 at 2:56pm

It’s best to contact the place you ate at and let them know what you ate. Maybe it was a bad batch of something that they should throw out. Heck, if you like the place you ate at, they’d be more inclined to say “we’re sorry” and offer a free meal or something of that nature

There’s really no need to get the health department involved (unless you know that the chef’s put poop in your meal by not washing their hands after using the toilet…or something else that you know the restaurant could have done to prevent such episode).

I would not put the restaurant’s name on a website like this. First, they don’t know anything about it yet. Secondly, I think they should have a chance to respond.

beerorkid March 24, 2008 at 3:36pm

I worked some managerial positions at food places and got a few food poisoning calls.  Deny, deny, deny is the name of the game.  Do not accept any fault at all.  You can offer a discount on further purchases as long as you do not claim responsibility.  It would be really hard to prove food poisoning as well.

Sorry to hear you had a weekend of being sick.

Neal March 24, 2008 at 4:04pm

There is an intense stomach bug going around right now, and your symptoms are just like those experienced by my wife and me last weekend. I haven’t gotten sick in more than 10 years, but it hit me really hard. It’s extremely contagious and it’s moving rapidly, and your situation sounds much more like that busy bug than food poisoning.

Food poisoning tends to take effect like clockwork based on the rate at which the body breaks down the different components. It doesn’t have to hit immediately based on what type of food poisoning, but it always hits people who ate at the same time within a very short window—unlike bugs, which affect people at different intervals based on things like exposure and immunity.

Unless you and your wife ate your meals from that restaurant about 12 hours apart, there’s very little to indicate that it’s food poisoning.

CP March 24, 2008 at 4:32pm

I agree w/Neal. My experience is that food poisoning hit everyone at the same time. Had a family experience 15 years ago where 4 of 5 people who ate together got sick at the same time about 4 hours after the meal. The shared “experience” lasted about 12 hours and everyone said it was way worse than any stomach bug they had ever gotten. The one who didn’t had skipped the salad bar that night.

Had a coworker whose entire family (5 of them) had a weekend in January that sounds similar to yours. One person got sick Friday night, by Monday morning everyone had their number come up in the porcelain draft. 

Personally, I do not want to know the name of the restaurant unless you have a strong belief that they are being unsafe. otherwise I would likely skip the place from now on, and that’s not fair to them.

Sorry to hear about your weekend!

Mr. T March 24, 2008 at 4:50pm

BTW I’ve been reviewing your praise of Zhang’s and am thinking about hitting it up sometime soon. Let us know if they have a menu online.

That Russ’s out there is really nice too. Shopped there for the first time on Sunday.

CP March 24, 2008 at 5:05pm

We love Zhangs in the CP household! We have it about once a month. In fact, we had family over Saturday night and just ordered up an assortment to share.

I’ll miss it way more than I miss Lee’s when I move from the West side to the East side in the near future.

Mrs CU March 24, 2008 at 5:45pm

Food poisoning affects people differently; they will not all develop symptons at the same time, but ususally within a general time frame.  From what I know symptoms can develop within an hour up to 48 hours later because each person has a different system that processes differently with different severity.
Contact the health department give them your information.  Do not contact the restaurant because if you do they will probably discard foods that may reveal what caused the problem and if it was not at the restaurant, they need to be able to trace the food source backward.
I would not reveal the restaurant in your column at this point.
I’m sorry you and the Missus had a problem; consider yourself lucky it was only onesided-it could have been both.

foxspit March 24, 2008 at 6:16pm

Zhang’s is great! I don’t think their menu is online anywhere. I don’t have a favorite dish there, but I’ve ordered the vegetable medley a few times. (We don’t live over there anymore, so I haven’t been there in awhile). That Russ’s is still my favorite grocery store in Lincoln.

Moses March 24, 2008 at 6:36pm

I don’t know the exact Zhang’s relationship but they are related to China Wall at 84th and Hwy 2 and Golden Wall at 70th and Vine.  Food is very similar as well as the decor.

Fletch March 24, 2008 at 9:00pm

We can all just start guessing Lincoln restaurants, and the first one with a correct guess can win lunch there, if they dare. What fun! Mr. T. knows, so he’s excluded, as is anyone from your party.

Or, you could give a bunch of obscure clues like on that marathon route post (not easy like “rhymes with palentino’s” or anything).

I always love a good Lincolnite puzzle.

Kendra March 28, 2008 at 12:00am

I’ll second whoever said a nasty stomach bug was going around. This was confirmed by a doctor friend, too.

My boyfriend and I thought we had food -poisoning, but we’d only eaten frozen dinners for few days (busy schedules)

This bug acts just like food poisoning, but it lasts for two whole days. And it causes a much sharper pain in the stomach or solar plexis area.

If this is any indication of its contagiousness, we Lysol-ed and bleached his whole house, vacuumed, and washed or threw away absolutely every item after we felt better. And everyone who stopped by the day afterward also became sick.

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