These pictures are from Christmas, but I can’t let go of the yuletide tradition of cookies and hot cocoa. The hot cocoa is a version of the “trashy peppermint hot cocoa” – this time with a scoop of peppermint ice cream instead of the starlight mint. The cookies are an assortment made by Mommy and Mrs. B (Ruthie’s Mom), and enjoyed by all of us – mostly me.
During one of the family conferences at RIO (the 3rd Hospital), the subject turned to food. It was probably a meeting that occurred early in my stay since I was still struggling to reach my eating minimums so I could get my PEG (feeding tube) removed. Do snacks count towards my daily intake requirement?, I wanted to know. Yes, they did. So I tried to eat more overall by inserting some snacks into my day.
My strategy failed – I still could not eat my way to the acceptable range without extreme discomfort. One night my nurse came in to collect my dinner tray. “How much did you eat?” was the conversational inquiry. “Enough,” I answered evasively, giving my nurse what was intended to be a sweet smile but probably ended up being a funny half-grin because of my facial weakness (that I was yet unaware of.)
At the next meeting I informed my team that I couldn’t eat like this anymore. It was painful to admit I couldn’t do something, but the relief was wonderful – I explained how I hadn’t eaten this volume of food in my “normal life,” and they immediately took the burden of consumption off of my shoulders.
Soon after this meeting one of my nurses was setting up my lunch tray and she told me that a few of the nurses had been shaking their heads/clucking over my reduced food requirements. My rehab doctor happened to be there and told them, She knows what she needs. And that was the end of that – I no longer had to eat all of those nutritional supplement shakes/puddings and I think the nurses only had to tell my doctor if I ate less than half of what was on my plate. When I left the hospital I was still heavier than when I had gotten sick.
Nowadays I still try to be careful of what I’m eating, but instead of being stressful, snacktime is a relaxant for me. I’m not the only one. Here is my favorite Calvin & Hobbes strip:
Calvin & Hobbes is by Bill Watterson