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johnm

Jury Duty...

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So a year or two years ago life was miserable and had been getting worse, I didn't know what was wrong with me. One day I read about celiac disease and decided to stop eating gluten on a whim and boom, instantly 85% better. The terrible cramps and sitting on the toilet wondering if the hospital could do anything to help days were over. I never bothered to go in for an official diagnosis of it because it seemed so obvious that it would be a waste. I still have a few episodes now and then but am over all pretty good. Sometimes I still get a little bit of acting up but its managable. I still don't like go out much or be too social. I think I was conditioned from the years of it being undiagnosed so that now I have some anxiety issues.

Anyway the long of it is, some days I just need a lot of time in the bathroom. Its unpredictable and one day I might need to take a BM lets say 6 times. Now I've been called for jury duty and have no official diagnosis. Any suggestions on what I can do? I guess I can write a letter about me and pooping to go with my questionaire but that seems odd and unlikely to work without a doctors note. I'm thinking I'll just have to eat immodium like candy and hope for the best.

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Perhaps you can include in your questionnaire that you suspect Celiac (describe) and currently in the process of pursuing medical treatment/testing.

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I was called for jury duty during the first year after I self-diagnosed celiac disease and then got Enterolab tests which confirmed gluten intolerance and the celiac gene. However I did not consider my local doc, because she misdiagnosed my symptoms as 'IBS' for 10 years. So I just talked to the jury duty personnel about my problems (frequent bathroom trips which may last awhile). They just told me there was a bathroom in the jury room, which I could use, but they wouldn't excuse me. They would not dismiss me w/o a doc's note. So I did 3 days of jury duty that year. They did NOT tell me that was the only bathroom for about 75 prospective jurors sharing that room. I felt really embarassed everytime I walked back to the bathroom in front of the same people or came out and saw a line of people waiting for me to vacate the bathroom.

The following year I received ANOTHER jury duty notice. (YUP, 2 years in a row.) Fortunately by that time I was seeing a naturopath who diagnosed my additional food allergies and bacterial infection. I was still getting treatment to kill off the bacterial infection when I received the jury duty notice. That notice stated that I could attach to my juror duty response a doctor's letter to excuse me from duty. I asked my doc to email me a letter which I attached and emailed back to the jury duty department. That got me out of jury duty that year. I plan to do the same for any future jury duty notices. I already served 2x in the past 8 years (once before and once after celiac disease diagnosis).

BURDEE

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I hate to sound like a lawyer, but it is none of the government's business what your health issues are, and celiac is not a reason to get out of jury duty. People that have celiac disease, gluten intolerance, and the like are physically able to serve (once they have healed). That doesn't mean that they want to, but they can. If you say that you can't serve because of gluten issues, it will not only make other healed celiacs look bad, but it could also come back to get you when either the prosecutor, judge, or defense knows someone with healed celiac. Again, I am not saying that this is right or fair, just the way the world works. Many people don't get the whole healing process thing. However, because you are still symptomatic, it sounds like you are still getting some cross contamination. Try to find out what is causing it so you will feel better.

All I would mention as far as reasons why you are no qualified is that due to a chronic medical problem you may need to have frequent access to the bathroom during all hearings and trials and have excessive flatulence (which is the reason why they may let you out). If they question you further, be honest (or at least as honest as a lawyer ;) ), say that you and your physicians are in the process of figuring out what is and is not making you sick. You have not been diagnosed with any condition and due to the lapses in modern medicine you are unable to confirm the probable diagnosis. If they press further, then you can mention that it is something tied to the protein gluten. Just don't say "celiac" because then it appears on an official record of you having it, that your insurance could potentially look at down the road, and cancel your policy for not disclosing a chronic, auto-immune disease. The last thing you need when you have cancer/heart attacks/other scary illness is for the insurance jerks to cancel your policy. Again, I am not saying that this is right or fair, it is just the facts of life in the US.

As far as food goes(some jurisdictions order in lunch), say that you have to have a 100% gluten free diet.

If you really think that your symptoms will be a problem if you try to serve, enlist your doctor to write a note saying that you have a chronic condition that causes you to have frequent bowel movements and in order to effectively serve you need to be excused whenever the urge strikes. For effect, make sure you go at least twice while you are in the jury room.

Good luck!

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I hate to sound like a lawyer, but it is none of the government's business what your health issues are, and celiac is not a reason to get out of jury duty. People that have celiac disease, gluten intolerance, and the like are physically able to serve (once they have healed). That doesn't mean that they want to, but they can. If you say that you can't serve because of gluten issues, it will not only make other healed celiacs look bad, but it could also come back to get you when either the prosecutor, judge, or defense knows someone with healed celiac. Again, I am not saying that this is right or fair, just the way the world works. Many people don't get the whole healing process thing. However, because you are still symptomatic, it sounds like you are still getting some cross contamination. Try to find out what is causing it so you will feel better.

All I would mention as far as reasons why you are no qualified is that due to a chronic medical problem you may need to have frequent access to the bathroom during all hearings and trials and have excessive flatulence (which is the reason why they may let you out). If they question you further, be honest (or at least as honest as a lawyer ;) ), say that you and your physicians are in the process of figuring out what is and is not making you sick. You have not been diagnosed with any condition and due to the lapses in modern medicine you are unable to confirm the probable diagnosis. If they press further, then you can mention that it is something tied to the protein gluten. Just don't say "celiac" because then it appears on an official record of you having it, that your insurance could potentially look at down the road, and cancel your policy for not disclosing a chronic, auto-immune disease. The last thing you need when you have cancer/heart attacks/other scary illness is for the insurance jerks to cancel your policy. Again, I am not saying that this is right or fair, it is just the facts of life in the US.

As far as food goes(some jurisdictions order in lunch), say that you have to have a 100% gluten free diet.

If you really think that your symptoms will be a problem if you try to serve, enlist your doctor to write a note saying that you have a chronic condition that causes you to have frequent bowel movements and in order to effectively serve you need to be excused whenever the urge strikes. For effect, make sure you go at least twice while you are in the jury room.

Good luck!

I don't think that someone who says they are having celiac problems and feel they cannot serve jury duty will make me and other celiacs look bad. Everyone has different symptoms and I can completely understand the anxious feelings about frequent bathroom trips. You cannot just assume that everyone has healed the same way as you. Besides, some people still face the fear of spending too much time in the bathroom or having to interrupt something to go. I still face that fear and I am healed and do well.

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Maybe I should clarify my symptoms during bacterial infection treatment for which my doc got me excused from jury duty last year. I had a Klebsiella (bacterial) infection and was taking caprylic acid and high dose probiotics. Both caused extreme bloating (which caused cramping pain) and gas. I couldn't sit comfortably for very long. I preferred to just sit on the toilet to ease discomfort. I had previously served jury duty 2x in 8 years. I served my most recent jury duty after my gluten, dairy and soy allergy diagnoses. At that time I was still suffering gas, bloating and cramping pain, but not as severe as I suffered during treatment for Klebsiella. So I didn't think getting excused during that treatment was shrugging my patriotic (or whatever) duty. Many people receive jury notices and don't bother to respond.

BURDEE

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I think that there has been some misinterpretation of what I said/wrote and what I meant.

If you are too sick to serve, by all means, get a doctor to get you out of it. It isn't fair for you to be in pain, nor is it fair to everyone else in the trial to have to deal with it. I also believe that you should be honest about your symptoms (to your doctor and/or the court) and if you are still experiencing them frequently you should mention them as a reason why you are not fit to serve or why you are willing to serve but need accommodations.

However, from what I read in the post is that you are normally fine and has some bad days. I may have been mistaken, and if that is so, I am sorry. My advice was meant to read that if you are physically able to serve, then you should serve or find another way out (there are lots of valid reason). If it is just that you have to go to the bathroom a lot, which a lot of people who both have gluten issues and don't have gluten issues do, it is still possible to serve.

My post was meant to read as a warning of using gluten as an excuse, which it most definitely can be a legitimate one. There are lots of people with gluten issues and the lawyers and judge are likely to know at least one. If those people are healthy and living with no symptoms, which is not to mean that you are living with no symptoms, or do not talk about their symptoms, they may not consider it a valid reason without a doctor's note.

If you think you are to sick to serve, by all means, get a doctor's note saying your are symptomatic and write a letter. They can diagnose gluten intolerance with a positive dietary change alone and that should be more than enough to get out. I mean, who really wants someone with brain fog sitting on a jury?

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I think that there has been some misinterpretation of what I said/wrote and what I meant.

If you are too sick to serve, by all means, get a doctor to get you out of it. It isn't fair for you to be in pain, nor is it fair to everyone else in the trial to have to deal with it. I also believe that you should be honest about your symptoms (to your doctor and/or the court) and if you are still experiencing them frequently you should mention them as a reason why you are not fit to serve or why you are willing to serve but need accommodations.

However, from what I read in the post is that you are normally fine and has some bad days. I may have been mistaken, and if that is so, I am sorry. My advice was meant to read that if you are physically able to serve, then you should serve or find another way out (there are lots of valid reason). If it is just that you have to go to the bathroom a lot, which a lot of people who both have gluten issues and don't have gluten issues do, it is still possible to serve.

My post was meant to read as a warning of using gluten as an excuse, which it most definitely can be a legitimate one. There are lots of people with gluten issues and the lawyers and judge are likely to know at least one. If those people are healthy and living with no symptoms, which is not to mean that you are living with no symptoms, or do not talk about their symptoms, they may not consider it a valid reason without a doctor's note.

If you think you are to sick to serve, by all means, get a doctor's note saying your are symptomatic and write a letter. They can diagnose gluten intolerance with a positive dietary change alone and that should be more than enough to get out. I mean, who really wants someone with brain fog sitting on a jury?

Can you imagine brain fog and then the wrong verdict is given. How awful. I think I misread your post, I apologize. Your last post was so much more clear. Thanks :)

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The doctors note is certainly what I would like but I don't have a doctor at this time, no insurance, and no past history of working with a doctor on this. Thats kind of why I feel like I'm in a pickle.

I genuinely wouldn't mind serving, I'm quite politically active and a rather civic fellow. I don't take trips or vacations or anything like that at the moment though and just don't see how this would fit in. If I just wanted to get out of jury duty I think I could come up with a way better than writing a letter telling people about my pooping habits.

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Well... they way I always get out of serving is by telling the DA that I actively campaign against him and everyone his political party. That normally works ;-).

If you don't have that reason, write a letter saying that you are currently suffering from an undiagnosed medical condition that you can't get treated for because you don't have insurance. Be very opinionated and political, especially if you are in a republican area. They don't like people that think about politics on a jury. If you are in a moderate or liberal area, just explain that you have to frequent the bathroom at least every hour, sometimes without notice, and that exposure to other people's food could make you violently ill. It really should work, and you don't have to use lots of details to explain.

But seriously, having a political opinion is the best way to get dismissed from serving.

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I went to a new, local gastroenterologist for the first time today, and asked him if he would be willing to write a medical excuse to get me out of jury duty the next time I'm called. He agreed. This is a great relief for me. :D

The last time I served, a few years ago, it was on a New York State grand jury. Although I was very sick, I was not yet aware of celiac, or that I had it. Fortunately, there were bathroom facilities in the court and time to use them. At that point, I was taking a lot of immodium and pepto bismol. In years past, prior to the grand jury service, I served on several criminal trials - but the digestive symptoms were not yet severe enough to incapacitate me. I would not want to sit on a jury today since I'm not fully recovered, the problem of eating, bathroom flare-ups, etc. Sitting on a trail would have been an extreme hardship during my worst period of Celiac, three years ago, before my diagnosis and dietary changes. I was lucky that I didn't have to serve on a case with regular jury duty during those times. Grand jury was bad enough.

My advice is to do as I did and discuss this with your doctor BEFORE you receive a notice. If he or she agrees that jury duty is not for you, and will support this in writing, then you're safe. If not, then seek another opinion.

As far as I'm concerned, I've done my part enough times and, celiac or not, I should be left alone. They can go pick on someone else for a change, because I'm through with it for good.

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I was called for jury duty this last spring and I fretted about what I would do too. I have panic attacks, along with anticipatory anxiety. I wasn't as worried about my celiac disease as I was about panicking, yet my number was high enough, I decided to just let it ride. I too am from NY and by Thursday evening, my number was 1000 away from being picked and I knew I wasn't going to be called, so I breathed a sigh of relief. Now, I will not be called again for 6 years.

It's not that I didn't want to serve, it's all about the fact that I am worried I will lose control of my body. It's always about losing control and the more I worry about it, the quicker it will happen and I can't seem to not worry about it happening--a vicious cycle.

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Say you were healed and were selected. You "wanted" to serve. Do you think arrangements could be made to provide something for you to eat in the event you and other jurors were possibly "sequestered"?

Tom

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Well you could just show up the day it starts and tell them you have really bad D, and you cant sit for the jury, people do that here all the time. Or you can just pray that it gets cancelled. that is what I do lol. I got called last year and i fought with the lady about how i could not do it cause i had kids at home and hubby worked and she didnt care. So i was so stressed about it, then she emailed me like 3 days prior and said it got cancelled dont worry lol.

paula

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I was called for jury duty this last spring and I fretted about what I would do too. I have panic attacks, along with anticipatory anxiety. I wasn't as worried about my celiac disease as I was about panicking, yet my number was high enough, I decided to just let it ride. I too am from NY and by Thursday evening, my number was 1000 away from being picked and I knew I wasn't going to be called, so I breathed a sigh of relief. Now, I will not be called again for 6 years.

It's not that I didn't want to serve, it's all about the fact that I am worried I will lose control of my body. It's always about losing control and the more I worry about it, the quicker it will happen and I can't seem to not worry about it happening--a vicious cycle.

you only get called every 6 yrs up there, I am so jealous, here it is every yr, or at least i get called every yr since i was 18 lol

But only had to show up once and then we were being picked and in the middle of that they found new evidence so after being there 5 hours we were all excused i was so mad, this is when i wanted to be an lawyer, so i wanted to serve, now i dont want to serve lol

paula

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The jury lounge is no big deal, but you cannot get up and leave the court room in the middle of witness testimony! Any court official should be able to see that.

I wouldn't worry about it, though. Attorneys from both sides grill each prospective juror before making their selections. Each attorney can excuse a certain number of prospects without stating any reason whatsoever. They often excuse people because of their gender, race, age, or occupation and don't have to justify that. All you have to do is state your health condition during the interrogation. No attorney wants to deal with a "high maintenance" juror. One side or the other will no doubt excuse you and you can go home! B)

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I live on Long Island--Suffolk County and there are so many people concentrated in this area that it takes that long to get through the alphbet. When I finished out my call in week, I received a paper that states I will not be called again for 6 years, I have it filed away.

When I lived in Michigan, I was called for jury duty in my county 3 times in maybe 10 yrs time, I really do not recall the time frame.

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I know jury duty is a pain and all...but, I don't really see why unless you're really sick that you would want to "get out of it"...personally, if I can control my disease and am healed...some times if you call in advice they'll allow you to bring food in, a doctor's note might be good for this...but to have a doctor's note to get out of jury duty just because you're afraid you might have a D outburst and be embarassed...I don't really feel is right...we all complain that the justice system is failing and guilty people are walking the streets with us and our families...if we could do our part and help this change, I don't see why anyone would want to get out of that...maybe the justice system isn't the only one at fault here..

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Years ago, before I had Celiac, I was called for Jury Duty.

It lasted just over a week AND we were sequestered. We stayed in a hotel next door to the court house.

About the second day in, I got a UTI. I to had to call my doctor, while a police officer listened in, have antibiotics called into a pharmacy near the court house and have a police officer go and pick them up.

All of this had to be approved by the judge and both lawyers.

At first I felt terrible. All of this trouble for a UTI. It would have been easier to just send me home. The Tipstaff told me that it wasn't a big deal. That if they can accommodate someone they will. By the way, I also had to run to the bathroom a number of times. It is the nature of the infection. Once the court knew, it wasn't a big deal.

I would be more worried about food and what I could bring in rather than assuming I will be in the bathroom too much.

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I know jury duty is a pain and all...but, I don't really see why unless you're really sick that you would want to "get out of it"...personally, if I can control my disease and am healed...some times if you call in advice they'll allow you to bring food in, a doctor's note might be good for this...but to have a doctor's note to get out of jury duty just because you're afraid you might have a D outburst and be embarassed...I don't really feel is right...we all complain that the justice system is failing and guilty people are walking the streets with us and our families...if we could do our part and help this change, I don't see why anyone would want to get out of that...maybe the justice system isn't the only one at fault here..

Sounds like you've been there and done that. How many times have you done jury duty? Were you completely healed when you served?

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I've served jury duty 6 times in 2 different states (mind you I'm only 27) and yes I was as healed as I can be...it's just like a day at work, you can take your lunch and the majority of the people are understanding if you explain early on...a doctor's note is a good validation of what you're saying....the one time we were there for 4 days and they even brought me a salad from Chick-fil-a when they brought in lunch....it's all about how you go about it...If you're pushy and rude, they're not going to be as willing to work with you or to understand your situation...

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