Distasio Law Firm April 2019



APR 2019



(813) 259-0022 | www.distasiofirm.com

MY EXPERIENCE WITH CELIAC DISEASE Invisible Doesn’t Mean Imaginary

F or the first 40 or so years of my life, I prided myself on having a cast-iron stomach. I hardly worried about what I ate. Does that meat look a little undercooked? No problem; I’ll be fine. Are those ingredients that most people would squirm at? Heap ‘em on my plate. Honestly, and I’m a bit ashamed to admit this, I viewed people who were excessively picky eaters as high-maintenance and difficult. I had no idea that many people who are selective about what they eat have legitimate medical reasons. One day, I finally understood, because it happened to me. I started experiencing brutal gastrointestinal symptoms. I was in excruciating pain, my digestive system was a mess, and I didn’t know where to turn. I got a colonoscopy, did a battery of tests, and tried out what felt like a million different diets. Nothing under the sun seemed to identify a root cause. At that point, doctors chalked it up to IBS, told me it was all in my head, or raised their hands in resignation over the fact that there was seemingly nothing to be done to remedy my issue. Then, about eight years into my ordeal, a friend pointed me toward a potential source of my persistent symptoms. “Sounds like you have celiac disease,” they said. “Go to the doctor

and tell them that’s what you have and that you need to be tested for it.” At the time, knowledge about celiac disease and gluten sensitivity was far less commonplace than it is now. I had never heard of it, but my friend seemed convinced. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to find out.

The basic test for celiac disease is conducted on a 1 to 100 scale.

Anything above 5 is considered gluten intolerant. While the scale technically only goes to 100, it’s possible to score well above that figure. They just don’t have a metric for it. My score was literally off the charts. After an endoscopy, the only way to definitively confirm celiac, it was clear that I was going to need to forsake wheat, barley, and rye immediately and permanently. At first, that sounded like a herculean endeavor. Wheat, as I’m sure anybody else who can’t eat it will attest to, is in everything. Almost any processed food will contain some wheat derivative. Pasta sauce may be the furthest thing in the world from bread, but many jarred sauces contain wheat. Now, you can’t taste it, and you can’t always glean its purpose, but it’s there all the same. For me, that could result in 24 hours or so of relentless pain. As such, I have to be super mindful of everything I eat all the time.

I’ve learned a lot about myself as a result of my experience with celiac, and I’ve gained empathy for many of my clients. Doctors will often try to downplay the seriousness of injuries that don’t readily show up on their diagnostic tests. I know from experience that just because a doctor can’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there. In personal injury cases, however, you don’t have eight years for medicine to figure out what’s wrong with you. That’s why you need representation from people who believe in you and will present your case in the best possible light. Being sick, injured, or otherwise indisposed is scary stuff — even more so when you don’t know exactly what’s going on. There were times when I doubted the realness of my illness. I now know that was a foolish mistake. So the next time you are injured and don’t have anyone to turn to, give our office a call. We’re happy to sit down and hear you out, judgment free. Just don’t ask me to break bread with you unless you want to accompany me to the hospital.

“I started experiencing brutal gastrointestinal symptoms. I was in excruciating pain, my digestive system was a mess, and I didn’t know where to turn. I got a colonoscopy, did a battery of tests, and tried out what felt like a million different diets. Nothing under the sun seemed to identify a root cause.”



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Slip-and-fall injuries are the most common liability cases, so they are a good example when discussing some of the pitfalls of a claim. Most slips and falls happening inside a business are the result of spilled liquid. A spill in and of itself is not enough to warrant a claim. Instead, you have to prove that a business owner should’ve been aware of the spill and remedied it. Proving this requires you to be diligent in documenting the circumstances of your injury. Here are some steps to take in the event you’re injured at a store, restaurant, or other private business. ASSESS YOUR SURROUNDINGS When you’re disoriented and in pain, it may not seem like the best time to study what happened, but taking some mental notes is essential. Look for what caused you to fall and remember its size, shape, color, consistency, and condition. Try to remember the sequence of events leading up to the fall and the actual fall itself. Remember your shoes and clothing. If there is liquid on the 3 Hilarious Pranks Played by Businesses COMPANIES THAT PARTICIPATE IN APRIL FOOLS’ DAY April Fools’ Day might be the only appropriate time of year for you to prank your friends or coworkers with gags like dipping an onion in caramel and offering it as a candy apple or loosening the tops of the salt and pepper shakers. It’s also the one day of the year when big companies get to join in the mischief as well. Check out these company-wide April Fools’ jokes that left millions of people scratching their heads. NETFLIX’S PSA In 2015, everyone’s favorite online streaming company issued a PSA that warned binge-watchers all over the world of the social, physical, and psychological dangers of watching too much TV. In fact, if viewers watched more than two consecutive episodes of a show on April 1, they were greeted with a PSA from popular actors, like Michael Kelly from “House of Cards” or Taylor Schilling from “Orange Is the New Black.” Some

stars even told Netflix users to “Turn off the TV and take a shower. You stink!”

the masses was the launching of eHarmony’s FURever Love: Canine Compatibility Companion Service. The dating website claimed that based on the algorithms they use for creating compatible human relationships, they built this service to “create robust profiles for dogs based on key dimensions of their personality.” The biographies they created for the pups’ profiles included canine mate preferences, like “Looking for a tug-o-war partner,” “Must love squirrels,” and “It’s been ruff finding a quality stud to go on walks with.” While these April Fools’ Day jokes were all made in jest, the pranks certainly kept audiences guessing long after April 1 had passed, and it’s not hard to see why.

BURGER KING’S CHOCOLATE WHOPPER Just last year, Burger King fooled hungry customers by creating the Chocolate Whopper. The imaginary fast-food treat is made with chocolate cake buns, a chocolate “beef” patty, raspberry syrup as the ketchup, rings of white chocolate as the onions, milk chocolate as the lettuce, vanilla frosting as mayo, and candied blood oranges as the tomatoes. This prank was quite a creative feat by Burger King staff, and merely watching the advertisement spiked glucose levels everywhere. EHARMONY’S ‘FUREVER LOVE’ DATING SERVICE FOR DOGS Perhaps the most wholesome prank that’s ever been peddled to

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE INJURED AT A BUSINESS The Steps to Take After a Slip-and-Fall Injury

ground, remember if your clothing was wet after the fall. Write down everything you remember as soon as you can with as much detail as possible. TAKE PHOTOS OF EVERYTHING Memory is great, but it’s no substitute for documentation of where you fell and the injuries resulting from your fall. Be sure to take a photo of your shoes, surroundings, anything that contributed to the fall, and your injuries. IDENTIFY WITNESSES The contact information of anyone who saw your fall will prove useful in the event of a trial. Make sure to get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses. FILL OUT A STORE INCIDENT REPORT Many businesses will plead ignorance about an injury occurring on their premises. To avoid this fate, demand to speak with an owner or manager and file an incident report with the business. You should also ask for a copy of this report.

ASK THE STORE TO PRESERVE VIDEO Ideally, you should make this request in writing. Most stores have video running constantly, but they also regularly erase those videos. The only way they’ll maintain surveillance of your injury is if you ask them to. SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION Don’t let embarrassment or the fact that you “feel fine” prevent you from seeking medical attention. The earlier you document and seek care for your injuries, the stronger your claim will be.

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W hen Samir and Anissa Khalife they found a world of opportunity and a chance to provide a better life for their children. What they didn’t find, however, was much in the way of fresh, healthy food options. Given the state of American cuisine at the time, that’s not much of a surprise. Until recently, heavily processed foods packed with additives and preservatives constituted the cornerstone of the American diet. Luckily that’s changing, and the Khalifes are part of the reason why. In 2012, they opened Fresh Bites in Westchase to give locals a taste of authentic Lebanese cuisine made from scratch with only natural ingredients. The produce at Fresh Bites is always organic and non-GMO. Whenever possible, the restaurant sources from local farmers. They Fresh Bites of Westchase immigrated to the United States from Jbeil, Lebanon, in the 1980s,

also never use meat raised with antibiotics or hormones, and all their fish is caught wild.

While their commitment to health and sustainability is commendable, Fresh Bites wouldn’t have become such a beloved restaurant without delicious food. Their falafel is out of this world, as is their hummus, baba ganouj, kebabs, and so much more. Come to think of it, we don’t think we’ve ever had an item at Fresh Bites that hasn’t been absolutely delicious. As part of their focus on inclusivity and wellness, Fresh Bites is extremely accommodating to those with dietary restrictions. As this month’s cover attests, that’s a very good thing for a certain lawyer who happens to publish this newsletter.


11665 Countryway Blvd. Tampa, FL 33626

813-336-4936 FreshBites.org

manages to stand out. We’re lucky to have them in our area and hope more restaurants will follow in their footsteps. Now, who’s hungry?

Even as healthy, responsibly sourced food options grow more numerous, Fresh Bites

Pet of the Month C O N T E S T




1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

• •

3 slices bacon

Go to Facebook.com/DistasioFirm.

3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped 2 bunches spinach

Like our page.

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Post a picture of your pet to our feed (@DistastioFirm) by April 20, 2019.


Check back on our page on April 25 to see the pet of the month winner.

1. Heat a large skillet to medium. 2. While skillet is warming, cut bacon into squares. 3. Cook bacon until fat is rendered and bacon is almost to your desired doneness. If desired, you can remove bacon fat from skillet and replace with 1 tablespoon oil. However, keeping the fat is recommended for flavor. 4. Add garlic and cook for 1–2 minutes. 5. Add spinach and crushed red pepper and stir-fry for 10 minutes. 6. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

• If your pet is chosen as the pet of the month, please contact our office at 813-259-0022 to claim your gift card. The winning entry will receive a $25 gift card and get to see their pet in next month’s newsletter.

Kayden, owned by Arlene Bryson


(813) 259-0022

Inspired by OhSnapLetsEat.com

(813) 259-0022 | www.distasiofirm.com LIFE & THE LAW ISTASIO PERSONAL INJURY LAW D


1112 Channelside Dr. Ste. 5 Tampa, FL 33602

Auto/Truck/Motorcycle Accidents Personal Injury | Slip and Falls Pharmacy Medication Errors

ALF/Nursing Home Abuse | Medical Malpractice | Wrongful Death |

Inside This Issue


A Condition Hidden in Plain Sight


3 Hilarious April Fools’ Pranks Played by Businesses


A Primer on Slip-and-Fall Cases


Fabulous & Fresh Lebanese Food


Meet Our Pets of the Month


Easy Bacon and Spinach Stir-Fry


Books to Engage the Whole Family

Worlds Within Pages


Learning to read opens up a world of possibilities. When your child walks through the back of the wardrobe into Narnia with Lucy Pevensie or rides with Harry Potter on the train to Hogwarts, they connect to something beyond their own experiences.

In the U.S., April 23 is World Book Day, and the date commemorates the deaths of legendary authors Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Garcilaso de la Vega, as well as the birth of author Vladimir Nabokov. World Book Day is the perfect time to sit down with your family and let yourself be transported to new worlds. So, here are three great stories to help you take young readers on brand-new adventures.

savannahs, jungles, and oceans — and features the wildlife living there. It’s worth a read simply to appreciate the colorful depictions of each animal. This book was written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Petr Horácek.



12-year-old Nisha navigates her world after the partition of India creates the new country of Pakistan and her family is forced to leave their home. Her mother may be gone, but Nisha finds solace in writing nightly letters to her in her diary as she discovers what the future holds. Based on author Veera Hiranandani’s memories of her own family, this moving tale lets readers experience life through someone else’s eyes.

While some might not think of comics as proper reading, Penelope Bagieu’s graphic novel forces reconsideration. Her clever, colorful artwork and engaging narrative take the reader through the biographies of 30 women, from Bette Davis and Mae Jemison to lesser-known but equally intriguing ladies like Giorgina Reid. All in all, this book provides a great way to get kids excited about history in an entertaining form.


“Song of the Wild” makes a great read-aloud book for beginner readers because they can get lost in the beautiful artwork while you read the text. Written in prose and rhyming poems, this book showcases sprawling landscapes —

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