When I was kid, my father was fond of telling me that failing to eat every one of the vegetables my mom put in front of me at dinner would result in scurvy. It didn’t take long for me to learn that scurvy is, in fact, a vitamin C deficiency that was pretty tough to get in my home in the 1990s, a place where oranges basically fell into your mouth if you left it hanging open long enough. If he really wanted to scare me, he should have told me this story of a kid who went blind and deaf after eating nothing but sausages, chips and french fries for basically his entire life!
The Independent reports that a 19-year-old English teen suffers from a severely damaged optic nerve, among other problems, after apparently abandoning every even remotely healthy food around the age of 7. His mother, who was not identified, said she started suspecting problems when he’d come home from school with the lunch she packed him untouched.
“I would make him nice sandwiches and put an apple or other fruit in and he wouldn’t eat any of it. His teachers became concerned too,” she said. Instead, her son relied on a diet of eat fries, Pringles, sausages, processed ham and white bread. (Did I just let a tater tot fall from my mouth, rise to my feet and put a pile of Brussels sprouts in the oven? Maybe.)
One might think that someone relying strictly on fried foods and ham slabs would exhibit some outward warning signs, like weight gain. Not so, said his mother.
“He has always been skinny so we had no weight concerns. You hear about junk food and obesity all the time—but he was as thin as a rake.”
The teen, who was diagnosed with a condition called “avoidant-restrictive food intake disorder,” in which sufferers only tolerate certain foods, is now irreversibly blind and deaf.
“He has no social life to speak of now. After leaving school he got into college to do a course in IT but he had to give it up because he could not see or hear anything,” his mother said.
While the Brussels sprouts are cooking, I am going to mainline an entire bunch of spinach. Goodbye.