I just read a story about a man who suffered chronic illness, primarily trouble with his digestion, intestinal issues and so forth. I don’t need to go on with the gory details (and they were seriously gory, yikes). In a nut shell, he wound up at the hospital with a major blockage, which tore through his intestinal wall. Infection and sepsis invaded his body within an inch of his life. He was rushed to surgery, but only limited care could be administered because of his instability.
The surgeons did what they could and he remained in ICU for several weeks. The doctors required his stomach and intestines take a ‘vacation’ in order to heal and become strong enough to endure a more invasive surgery, so a feeding tube was inserted into his chest. Through an IV, he received liquids and a nutritional pack several times a day, completely bypassing his stomach and digestive tract.
After he was stable and strong enough, he was released from the hospital and able to return home, but his strict dietary restrictions and feedings continued.
For six months.
This poor man was not able to eat a thing, not a morsel of food or liquid passed his lips. No flavors, textures or culinary joys to be savored. Adding insult to injury, when he was finally able to start on small quantities of liquid and bits of food, he found his taste buds had atrophied from non-use. Result? He couldn’t taste a damn thing.
This gave me great concern and sadness. I mean, can you imagine never sitting down to enjoy a lovely meal with friends or family? A fantastic bottle of wine? Hell, even a handful of peanuts at a baseball game, or some lousy popcorn during a movie? A chunk of cheese or a handful of grapes? Never more. And the worst thing for this poor man was his olfactory system still worked like a charm, so he was privy to all the delectable aromas of fresh baked bread, a steak searing on the grill, while his family sat down to enjoy a meal together at the end of the day.
At first he joined his family for dinner, but that proved too taxing for everyone. The kids and wife felt guilty for enjoying such simple pleasures as raising a fork to their mouth, and he began to resent them all for being able to do it. Soon, he was banished to another room during dinner hour. Now he not only lost out on a meal, but the pleasure of enjoying the company and conversation that go with it.
Just shoot me. In. The. Head.
How blessed we are to have food and drink!
Can you imagine living day to day without it? Even those of you out there who may not be so crazy about cooking. Trying to find the time in our busy days to get to a grocery store can be a total pain in the ass. We are all so busy these days. Food? Often, it takes a second seat; or third, or fourth behind everything else going on in our lives.
I knew someone once who was so irritated with having to ‘break for food’ on a regular basis, he told me (and I quote):
“If I could just take a pill every day to nourish me so I could be done with it, I would.”
I was already having issues with this person, so this sealed the deal. Someone who views food and drink as a chore? An inconvenience? Well, I just don’t trust them.
Let’s raise our glass in honor of food and drink! And the tradition of both that bring us all together at the end of day, in the middle, or the onset.
Whenever food and loved ones collide as part of my day I cherish it dearly. Whatever we share, be it a hunk of bread, a bowl of cereal or a lovely glass of wine, I am aware that our time is fleeting. And I can’t stomach the thought of life without either.